History Major, 2000
Freelance Writer and Photographer
I was never a career-driven person. In high school, I didn’t apply to colleges knowing what my major would be or what I wanted to be when I grew up. I chose history as my major as a sophomore at Franklin and Marshall because it was interesting and didn’t come naturally (physics would have been a more logical choice according to my high school transcript), so the work I had to put into it was rewarding in and of itself. I never had a swanky summer internship that would get me a foot in the door down the road. Back at graduation in 2000, I found myself with a history degree, management experience at my local pool and about to embark on a move to Washington, D.C., from suburban Philly. Friends were heading off to law school and med school, but I didn’t see the point since I didn’t know where I’d go after that. I was on top of the world and ready for adventure like any good 22-year-old should be.
Fast forward 15 years and life is completely different. I have a mortgage, a husband, and two darling girls who also drive me crazy with their limit-testing and creativity. I still don’t feel like I have a “career.” No fancy title, no long list of professional accomplishments like some of my peers that I read about in the back of the alumni magazine. But what do I have? Skills. My history degree taught me how to read, research, analyze, question, and write. Combine that with the work ethic I refined during my time at F&M and I was able to take my first “real” job as an administrative analyst at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and work my way onto a team overseeing national-level publications and marketing for our department at the FAA. A few years and one kid later, I was running the team solo from my home office while juggling parenting duties and freelance writing work.
Now my days are filled with nursery school co-op responsibilities (I’m president of the board) and Muay Thai. Swim team and sleepovers and Common Core math homework. I’ve even followed my love of photography and turned it into a little side business. But if it weren’t for my history degree, I wouldn’t have found this niche that I work in now. Fifteen years ago I never would have guessed that I’d be working as a writer, but here I am. Most of my writing is in the world of business finance and corporate credit simply because that’s where my network has led me. Have I ever taken a business class in my life? No. But it’s because of F&M’s History Department that I can read, research and write about a topic I’m not wholly familiar with. I’d love to write about something someday I find more interesting, but for now, I enjoy the ability to provide additional income for my family. Maybe in 15 more years I’ll be in a career path that’s completely different. My mom got her master’s after she turned 50, which is a great reminder to me that there’s no limit to when you can stop learning. Maybe a master’s in library science is in my future. Or maybe I’ll become a post-partum doula. Or maybe I’ll take my little photography business and go pro full time. I don’t feel trapped or tied down to any one thing, and to me, that’s incredibly liberating. If my career path continues to twist and turn, I can guarantee I will still make good use of those skills I learned at F&M.
"If it weren’t for my history degree, I wouldn’t have found this niche that I work in now."
Articles by Katie McMurry
Much of Katie's writing on business finance and corporate credit is published on trade journal websites, which often require a subscription to view. Her three-part series titled "9 Best Practices for Automating Your AP Department" was re-published on a public blog and can be read at the following links: