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No STEM, No Problem:

by Staff Editorial

Accepting majors outside of the norm

Mon, Mar 6th 2017 08:45 pm
Elizabeth Pritchard/EDITORIAL CARTOONIST

The College at Brockport is one of many liberal arts schools that prides itself on immersing its students in a number of different subjects deemed crucial for their success. However, when students major in areas that lie outside of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) they are met with criticism.
Elizabeth Pritchard/EDITORIAL CARTOONIST The College at Brockport is one of many liberal arts schools that prides itself on immersing its students in a number of different subjects deemed crucial for their success. However, when students major in areas that lie outside of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) they are met with criticism.

 If your major falls into liberal arts education, you've probably heard that your major is easy, isn't important, you'll never find a job with your degree and you're not going to make a lot of money if you do find a job. 

It seems that if you're not majoring in a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) major, your major isn't valued. 

Why do students going into the arts and humanities majors have to feel bad about what they're going to college for? One of the most insulting things a person can do is talk about how unimportant or irrelevant someone's major is. Why is it that arts and humanities majors are constantly expected to explain the importance and vitality of what they choose to study? 

The truth is that all majors are important and crucial to society in some way or another. A doctor may be important to society's physical and mental health, but isn't an artist important to one's mental and spiritual health as well as one's culture?

Arts and humanities majors are severely underappreciated in the United States. As most of us at The Stylus are journalism majors, it's common to hear that you won't be able to find a job, you won't make a lot of money and the work you do while in college isn't hard. Just because journalism majors may not have three-hour-long labs or take difficult science classes doesn't mean they aren't working hard. Science and math majors don't have to stay up all night coding websites or writing articles on strict deadlines. English majors have to write research papers between eight and 20 pages. Arts and humanities majors would have a hard time trying to figure out a lab as much as science and math majors would have a hard time cranking out a creative, well-written essay. Anyone who talks about how easy it is to be an art major should try drawing or painting like one. 

Here's the point: being creative is just as hard, if not harder, than memorizing and working through formulas or memorizing the anatomy of something. 

Some people seem to only focus on how much money you're going to make with your degree. All arts and humanities majors understand that they're not going to make millions or hundreds of thousands of dollars when they graduate. Trust us at The Stylus, we're not in this for the money. We don't need a daily reminder of how much money we're not going to be making. Journalists make about $40,000 at the top of their careers. 

Yes, musicians, dancers and artists understand it could be difficult finding a steady job. All of these students go into their fields because it's what makes them happy - it's what they love. 

Why do people want to tear others down for wanting a career in something they love? We need to have acceptance for all majors and degrees, because we're all in it for one reason or another. Whether we want a comfortable life financially or we want a job that makes us happy, even if we don't have a lot of money, we all made our choices for a reason. People often cite the economy and number of jobs available in the field as justifications for a major's value, which is a poor argument. The economy is always changing. 

We need to stop worrying about what other people are doing with their lives and make sure we're still doing what we want with ours. There are always more jobs in these fields than people know. Journalism, for example, has plenty of jobs that will change as the field changes.

Imagine a world where we didn't have  people majoring in arts and humanities? How different would our entertainment be if we didn't have creative writing, dance, theater or music? It wouldn't even exist. Without journalism, no one would know what is going on locally, nationally and internationally, whether it be good or bad. Who would teach others how to creatively write, dance, act or play music? We should be congratulating people for pursuing majors that are underappreciated and underpaid, not tearing them down. If these majors had no societal impact, why would they even be offered? College professors were not going to waste their time teaching English or theater if it didn't mean something to our society. Not being able to see the worth in these majors doesn't mean they aren't worth anything. They're what makes the framework of our culture.

We need to stop discouraging people from pursuing their passions. If we didn't have writers, musicians, actors, directors or dancers, all the science and math majors wouldn't have anything to do when they came home from work. 

Let's have compassion and acceptance for people who decide to follow what they love. If they don't tear you down for being materialistic because you pursued a major for its money, don't tear them down for deciding that their passion is more important than money. The stigma against these arts and humanities majors must be erased because it is degrading and diminishing the importance of the work people within these majors do and their overall contribution to society. 

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