No, A Liberal Arts Degree Is Not Useless

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Hello, graduates entering the nightmare vortex that is life after college! I know what you’re thinking, “The Internet says that my degree is worthless and I’ll never get a job.” Don’t fret, you pessimistic bunch, for there are creative ways to use that liberal arts degree that you may never have thought of (or that you’ve thought of but the rest of the world says you should do anything but).

In recent years, the Internet has released countless humorous posts regarding the uselessness of a liberal arts degree, making fun of folks who studied books and such. This slew of humor is accompanied by years of actual, sad news regarding artistic degrees and the depressing ratio of job success to cost of the degree itself. Surrounding all of this is an attitude against liberal arts bachelors, comedic and super serious alike.

However, a liberal arts degree, while not immediately lucrative, is astoundingly useful in that it can really be used for anything. Sure, the fancy piece of paper costs way too much, but it’s very versatile. Business and engineering degrees, as well as some other applied science stuff, are utilized for immediate employment, the jump from dorm room madness to a lab or Ikea-brand desk (a Dell computer your best friend for the next ten years) is often instantaneous. Folks in the business and science fields are given a level of optimism in their majors that kick-start a career desire right away.

Liberal Arts Degree

While this is not a bad thing by any means (engineers are not sad sacks who live only for their work in a horrible way), it creates a universal atmosphere that says not having a job equates to a worthless four years spent at college. Liberal arts folks know job security is not immediate, that’s a given from your first days as a freshman, but still the constant media attention paid to how low paid such majors are is psychologically damaging.

So, liberal arts majors and graduates, stop listening to the continual attack against your passions. Realize the versatility of being a liberal arts person, and know that even though you may have to work a job you don’t want to pay for your artsy time, you will take away valuable experience from it and not attach yourself to one job forever. Use that degree to travel, as your command over language means you can teach anywhere, and Instagram your experience to your techy, business friends who won’t see any vacation time for a long, long (albeit well-paid) epoch. Get part time work and focus on the fun discourse you immersed yourself in as a student; having not your favorite work makes you stronger and makes the artistic, creative output more powerful.

A liberal arts degree teaches you, above else, how to analyze situations and be as creative as possible in any context. This type of education really teaches you how to think, and that is more valuable than any one career. A liberal arts dude or gal has the incredible ability to manipulate how they express themselves, and this can afford the graduate all kinds of work they’d never thought about (for instance, you may land a tour guiding gig somewhere and use that liberal arts bravado you never uncovered till now). As well, you can never have to work for anyone but yourself again, focusing on your creative work and slowly gaining ducats from blogging, photography, and all kinds of other business posted straight to the Internet universe.

Really, stop letting the mainstream onslaught against liberal arts get you down. Your degree may not have the same monetary value as others (although at private colleges it costs the same amount?) in this illusory professional future, but it carries the weight of four years of hard work, and that counts. If you say you can’t get a job due to your degree, then either believe in your education more or double check to make sure it’s not you as an individual that is failing. If you happen to fail, it’s fine, just don’t blame a degree you poured your sweat and cheap beer into. Use that liberal arts certification however you want it, as its teachings by nature can be applied to all contexts of the artistic and professional worlds. We live in a world where an arts major can later be a doctor, and that very same practicing physician can turn out to be Ken Jeong (Leslie Chow and Ben Chang).

Your degree is creative by definition, so be creative.

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