Hey, English majors. What’s good, Philosophy students? Look up from your essays, you Dean’s List, honours, high-achieving, student-leader-position-holding students. You too, you barely-passing, upset and confused students. This letter is for anyone with a dream that has been squashed by two decades of being told that it was wrong, useless, or impractical. I’m about to tell you what’s up.
You know what? I’m tired of being in business school. That’s right, Internet. I’m tired of listening to people teach me how to make money. Business is the pursuit of maximum profit and I have never been one to do such a thing. Sure, money is important in a capitalist country and money does need to flow from somewhere. I believe that business holds an important place in society. I just have little desire to formally contribute.
That’s what I find awesome about Arts & Humanities majors. Few people sign up for an English program for the money. Few people decide to write a dissertation about ancient eating habits for the money. Few people study French to buy multiple large houses, have multiple luxury cars and have multiple children who have multiple large houses and multiple luxury cars purchased for them in advance.
We do not study the Arts & Humanities for the money.
Money, in any amount, is more of a side effect of whatever we choose to do with our degrees. So why do we introduce ourselves with, “I’m a philosophy major, but don’t worry, I’m going to law school afterwards” or “I’m a writing major and I know it was a stupid decision but that’s what I’m stuck with”? I’m disgusted by our responses to questions like “what are you doing with your life?” and “do you want me to hire you as my secretary when you grow up?”
“Haha, don’t worry about it.”
We take enough bull from people outside A&H for putting all of our time and energy into fields that aren’t financially promising. We constantly feel the need to defend our choice of major to others. So why are we making life harder for ourselves by putting ourselves down within our own circles? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in an upper level philosophy class with a bunch of honours students half-heartedly making fun of themselves for choosing to live in poverty for the rest of their lives.
It’s not funny.
Chances are that you chose to study the Arts & Humanities because you had no choice. No, nobody forced you to sign up for Linguistics 101, but you thought it sounded cool and once you started, you couldn’t stop. Something inside you compels you to take those courses, read those books and walk down a road less certain. You love what you do and can’t imagine doing anything else. Hey, you really would love to study linguistics for the rest of your life.
You’re lucky to have a passion.
Don’t leave our community asking questions like “where were the students to fund the A&H programs?” and “where did all the A&H professors go?” If we live to hear those questions, it will all be our fault. We were the students that transferred out. We were supposed to be those professors. We were supposed to keep the A&H tradition alive.
The Arts & Humanities may be dying, but if our fields die in our lifetime, we’ll be the ones who killed it.
Are you an Arts & Humanities major?
Featured Image courtesy of inspector_81 via Flickr (CC-BY-SA-2.0).