In an increasingly competitive job market, most high school seniors are probably familiar with the age-old rhetoric: STEM majors are the only way to go if you want a successful, stable career. However, majoring in the humanities actually holds many promising benefits that can foster lifelong skills for success.
Many argue that STEM majors are more practical because they prepare students for a specialized, advanced career in a rapidly developing field. One prominent example is computer science, one of the fastest growing majors today due to its relevance and novelty.
In contrast, humanities majors, which include the arts and the social sciences, enrich one’s education in a different way . A major in the humanities encourages an open mind, and it enables students to adapt and succeed in any situation. Rather than a specialized, nuanced approach to one specific field, the humanities emphasize versatility and an innovative approach to current issues in the world.
For example, a student with a sociology major possesses the valuable ability to analyze the world around him and interpret relationships among people, tools essential for thriving in a globalized society. Today, more and more careers involve collaboration, networking, and creative problem-solving, even within STEM fields.
“Humanities majors force you to think critically about the world around you. Students can carefully make decisions in the future in any career or field that they want to go into,” said Avery Jonas, a freshman at Pomona College in Claremont, California. Jonas is double majoring in computer science and Africana studies.
The value of an education in the arts or social sciences is often taken for granted. Art and design are relevant everywhere; the chair you sit in and the clothes you wear are all products of creative thinkers. Seemingly trivial phenomena, such as the mysterious, addictive nature of Candy Crush or the clever tricks behind advertising, are rooted in central concepts of psychology and media studies.
“People often underestimate how important art is in the world. Where would we be if everyone became an engineer or a doctor?” said Hyeji Suh, a senior at Valencia High School, California interested in majoring in International Relations in college.
Although STEM careers are high-paying and progressive, the world would be vastly different without the humanities. After all, it is an appreciation of art and relationships that differentiate people from automated robots.