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Why the Liberal Arts are not a Dead End

By Holly Bailey

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(photo/www.newsday.com)

(photo/www.newsday.com)

By Holly Bailey | Staff Writer

May 7, 2014

In a world where science seems to be the solution to everything, why would a student elect to pursue a major in areas such as English, history, philosophy, or art?

From a high school student’s point of view, I’ve noticed how many times we classify our own talents as either “good at math,” “good at English,” or neither.

Such broad stereotyping of ourselves is almost as polarizing as tagging people as “jock,” “nerd,” or “emo,” and everyone knows how true those are.

It also does not escape me that many times the students others hail as “really smart” or “genius” are spectacular at math, computer science, physics, an so on.

Overall, the popular perspective seems to be that prestige lies in the sciences, whereas those more affluent in the humanities are headed for unemployment and uncertain career paths.

As a student who has always found pleasure and success in English and other liberal arts classes, I  have experienced firsthand the qualms students face when they select something like English as their major.

There are many studies that can support my decision to major in a humanity, but there are also things more important than money and prestige. There are individual values to stand by.

I once heard this saying that when you die, God isn’t going to ask you why you failed to be Ghandi. He’s going to ask you why you failed to be yourself.

One of the most spectacular things to observe in life is the sprinkling of personality and talent differences every single human being possesses — all those diverse talents swimming amongst society.

People should take advantage of their talents and embrace what they are passionate about.

Just imagine if all the best science oriented people came together in a flourishing new “scientific renaissance.”

Imagine if all the great literary geeks indulged their talents and wrote the best novels the world has ever laid eyes on — no more complaining about a horribly written book.

Imagine if all the communicators, instead of choosing a career with more practical benefits, spoke out and made world peace plausible.

Sure, the idea of everyone following their hearts instead of letting their lives be dictated by social constructs is a bit far fetched, but the notion is that when we apply ourselves correctly, we can make a huge difference in the world around us.

The sciences are a realm mushrooming with great new technology and cures, but the humanities are equally as fulfilling and influential for those who truly find their affinity for it.

This is my philosophy, and I will stand by it, ahead of all the prestige I may give up. I won’t ignore my strengths and interests for the sake of buying into the mere monetary rewards to be earned from certain degrees.

As one of my teachers so simply puts it, “Do what you’re wired for.”

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Why the Liberal Arts are not a Dead End