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My Two Cents on My Degree

February 24, 2013

I hate it when people tell me that my Arts Degree is useless/worthless/a waste of time and money.

Can’t you just learn that on your own? Why do you have to go to university for it? It’s called going to the library and reading a book on it.

or

A degree in Philosophy? You mean you’re going to be flipping burgers at McD’s and asking people, ‘Do you want fries with that?’

do-you-want-fries

Just because I’m not studying something science/math/business/engineering related does not mean that I will go nowhere in life. In fact, it bothers me when people think that they’re getting more out of their science/math/business/engineering degree than I am getting out of my Arts degree. On the contrary! In fact, I think I’m getting more out of my Arts degree than I would have gotten out of a science/math/business/engineering degree.

Yah sure, getting a business degree would be good for securing a job. Sure, a science degree would mean that I could potentially become a doctor and have a stable income. But would a science or a business degree enlighten me on topics such as virtue ethics and moral psychology?

Uh, didn’t think so!

I mean honestly, I don’t go around telling all of you non-Arts people that your degrees suck, so why do you tell me things like “Can’t you just read about history on your own? Why are you paying to take a course on it?”

Well yeah, of course I can. I mean I can teach myself accounting too if I picked up an accounting textbook. But that’s not the point.

The point is, I’m paying to learn from the professor; I want to know what he/she thinks and he/she has brought to the field. I’m paying because I find this course interesting and this course might lead me to do something that I’ll really enjoy sometime in the future. I’m paying for the experience; who wants to sit in a library with a mountain full of textbooks with no one to take them through it? I’m paying to learn, just like you are (or so you claim to be). So why do you have to look down on me just because I’m studying a course that – God forbid – might not make me any money in the future.

I love my Arts degree. It has opened my eyes to so many wonderful things and has introduced me to so many interesting subjects. It has not only taught me how to think critically but has also given me perspective on literally, all things life. Before entering University, I hardly even knew what Philosophy was, and just by taking one course, I was changed forever (in a good way)! My Arts degree has enabled me to take a variety of courses through all kinds of departments: from English to Astrophysics to Jewish Studies to Music. I feel bad for those who tell me that their degrees only allow them to take “one liberal/arts class.”

In fact, the other day, I was sitting in my Jewish studies class when a guy came in to give a 5 minute speech; he was running for President for some student union group. At first, I thought he was pretty great. I mean he was enthusiastic and well spoken. But then he said, “All students outside of the Arts faculty are required to take at least one course within the Arts faculty to fulfill their breadth requirement. I promise to eradicate this, so we won’t be forced to take courses we don’t want to take!”

When I heard this, I shook my head in shame. Why would you ever want to do that? It’s bad enough we have to force students to take Arts courses, but now we want to get rid of that requirement altogether? That is honestly such a shame. I think one of the main problems of today’s society is that people are graduating with such a narrow – for lack of a better word – vessel of knowledge. Isn’t the whole point of going to university to gain a wider knowledge on a variety of areas? At least, it was that way before. Before, going to university meant that you would be getting a great education for the sake of getting a great education. I, like many students (even including the few in science/math/business/engineering), value my degree for its intrinsic worth. I am not viewing my Arts degree as a means to something, namely a job. Rather, my Arts degree is an end in itself.

The education system needs some serious revamping. Honestly, I think that students in science/math/business/engineering SHOULD be required to take more courses in the Art’s department, even if that requires one more year added to the Undergrad degree. The problem with today’s society is that we’re trying to pump out as many graduates as possible and to do that as fast as possible. But the thing is: we’re pumping out too many undergrads who are only knowledgable in their respective fields. These students are so focused on fulfilling their requirements by taking courses like “Biochemistry”, “Anatomy”, “Finance”, and “Hydraulics” that an important subject like English slips through the cracks. To tell you the truth, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve encountered many people whose writing could use the extra help, if you know what I mean. I don’t blame the students though, I blame the education system and well, society.

For a student who is going to engage in any verbal activity, the study of literature, not in itself a practical subject, is a practical necessity.        -Northrop Frye, “Humanities in a New World,” 1958 University of Toronto Installation Lectures.

Society needs to start valuing Arts Degrees. I mean sure, I probably won’t be getting a job that will be related to my Philosophy degree, but who cares? Maybe you guys out there are calling me naïve. Sure, wait until you graduate; you’ll be piled under student debt, and no one will hire you because you don’t have “real” skills or career-specific knowledge. 

In some ways, you’re right. Of course it’s practical to get a business degree, or a science degree, or an engineering degree. Of course I will need to make money to support myself and my future family. Of course I will need to find a suitable job one day. Of course, of course, of course.

But still, I’m sticking with my Arts Degree. I don’t care if it’s not going to land me a job right away – excuse the naïve tone if you sense it. So long as I am doing what I like, I am fine with that! Why bother worrying about the future when I should be living in the now?

It’s such a shame that every thing revolves around money. It doesn’t have to be that way! I know I will still be very happy in ten, twenty, fifty years that I graduated with an Arts Degree.

Yes, I might live poor, but at least my life will be rich with vast knowledge (see what I did there?). And that was my two cents on all of you people telling me that my Arts Degree is worthless!

When I searched up the respective degrees on google images, the majority looked like these:

Science Degree

Science Degree

Math Degree

Math Degree

Business Degree

Business Degree

Engineering Degree

Engineering Degree

What about an Arts degree?


And of course, a picture of 7-Eleven.

7-11

7-Eleven

I am disgusted.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2013 6:02 am

    Reblogged this on susanne287 and commented:
    After 25 Years Of Having A Liberal Arts Degree: Views From the Middle Aged.
    Great article regarding liberal arts degrees. Funny, it was written today, but it is a timeless article. I remember feeling the say way nearly 30 years ago when I was majoring in music. Of course, I majored in music with education so I could teach, because what would you do with just a music degree. It’s a pity there has been no growth in the value of a liberal arts education in all these years. With that said, having many friends in the same boat as me, all having liberal arts degrees, after 30 years, we have done all right in the world. We have done better than all right. To my friends with liberal arts degrees thank God we followed our hearts it seemed to all work out!

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  1. The (Intrinsic) Value of Education | Through My Glasses

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