As a senior who will be graduating in less than two months, my mind has been clouded entirely by thoughts of my highly undetermined yet impending future. This, I understand, is not an unfamiliar feeling among those around me, as procrastinating filling out job applications or applying to grad schools while laughing about our inevitable failures has become a common occurrence among my friends. However, as one of the few in my group not majoring in any area of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM), I feel an added pressure.
It’s not news that liberal arts degrees aren’t considered as marketable in today’s job climate when compared to those in the fields of STEM, or are at least portrayed as such. However, as a student graduating with a major in English and a minor in Mass Communications, I have no regrets in what I chose to study and feel confident I’ll find a job that utilizes the education I’ve received, but this isn’t why I think a liberal arts education is not only justifiable but important.
President of Washington College Dr. Mitchell B. Reiss explained to the Huffington Post the attributes associated with students studying in the arts, “Like the liberal arts in general, training in the arts improves our ability to pull together and synthesize seemingly disparate ideas and information into a coherent and meaningful whole.”
Despite being considered a less marketable degree, Mitchell finds that a background in the liberal arts is actually beneficial in most areas, explaining “Companies and organizations that want to stay globally competitive realize they need employees who are multi-disciplinary, creative thinkers able to collaborate with other team members.”
“Multi-disciplinary” seems to be the buzzword when it comes to reviewing prospective employees’ resumes, as a broader education is considered more versatile. Time Magazine seemed to agree in an article they posted, aptly titled, “Critics of the Liberal Arts Are Wrong,” stating, “employers have expressed a preference for students who have received a broadly based education that has taught them how to write well, think critically, research creatively and communicate easily.” The article referenced the importance of flexibility when it comes to the background and education of possible employees due to the fact that the job market is far from static. Those in fields not as specific or specialized, such as within areas of STEM, will fare better in the long run, Time reported.
But marketability isn’t the reason I’m happy to be graduating with a liberal arts degree. The arts and humanities didn’t develop like the fields of biology or chemistry. They were not inherent in the structure of the physical world–they were developed by man because humans have a need for culture. We need a way to relate our experiences of the human condition and I think that void is filled by what comprises the liberal arts.
Over the last four years I’ve learned to be a more analytical and observant person, as well as a better writer and critical thinker. These attributes transcend the workplace, aiding me in all areas of my life and for this I have absolutely no regrets.