A Message to Prospective Undergraduates
It is not uncommon for the student of the Arts or Humanities to be confronted with questions like: “what are you going to do with that?”, or “that’s fun, but how are you going to make a living?” As typical and trite as these questions might sound they are nevertheless alarming and many undergraduates worry that a major in the Arts or Humanities is not as useful or rewarding as a degree in, say, the sciences or engineering. To compound these worries many undergraduates find themselves burdened by rising tuition and an increasingly competitive job market upon graduation, and thus find themselves needing to justify their academic pursuits in a way that makes seeming financial sense. However, those with experience in the field know that much of the typical skepticism surrounding study in the Arts or Humanities is unfounded.
While it is perhaps true that it is easier to quantify the benefits of an Engineer’s bridge, or a Biologist’s vaccine, advancements in the Arts and Humanities have a profound and no less tangible affect on our lives and our society; a world without Music and the Visual Arts would make the internet an austere place to navigate, just as the Constitution of the United States would have been robbed of much of its most cherished content if it weren’t for the work of the moral and political philosophers of the Renaissance. Or imagine the affect of film without the acting of Charlie Chaplin, or the printing press without the nuanced pen of Jane Austen. There is simply no way around the fact that students who choose to major in the Arts or Humanities place themselves at the heart of one of society’s most salient productive endeavors.