In Defense Of "Useless" Majors

There is a popular quip written in the joke book of every pessimist and uncle in our country. It goes as follows:

The engineering major asks, "How does it work?"

The accounting major asks, "How much does it cost?"

The liberal arts major asks, "Would you like fries with that?"

If you are majoring in anything besides computer software engineering, this is the most appropriate response you can think of upon hearing that clever piece of wit: 

In reality, whenever someone teases about the job prospects of your degree, you probably laugh along and offer remarks that put yourself down but appease your tormentor, like:

"Yeah, I have no clue what I'm going to do with this major."


"After I graduate I'm probably going to pay for my bills with my tears and kidneys."

People, stop putting Liberal Arts degrees at the butt of your jokes. And for scholars of the humanities, performing arts, film studies, and other non-math disciplines, stop allowing yourself to be the rear end of those jokes.

Even if your major has the word "Creative" in its name, this does not diminish the value of your degree. Only a lack in drive and faith will render that piece of paper "useless."

Majors like Economics and Computer Science may promise more generous paychecks right out of college, but they are not the only academic paths to a life brimming with self-satisfaction and Chanel bags. Yes, you can stem from the STEM fields and still make mom and dad not regret telling relatives what their child is studying at Thanksgiving dinner.

So, how is a Bachelors Degree in Philosophy equivalent to that in Finance? Both entail learning. Both require work.

If you actually not skip Friday (and Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday) classes and make an effort to absorb the knowledge, that so-called "fancy smart stuff" will transform into applicable skills. The calculus theories taught in business programs lead to better money management, just as the literary strategies analyzed in english programs will lead to better writers. And we need our CEOs just as much as we need our novelists, journalists, screenwriters, and refrigerator manual writers.

Let's not forget the competitive nature of any career. Earning a spot in medical school is just as difficult as landing an editorial position for the Los Angeles Times. One requires insane test scores and the other an equally high number of portfolio pieces and internships. We need to clarify the illusion that tracks like pre-med put you on a guaranteed path towards an Orange County mansion overlooking Laguna Beach just because you made the more "practical" career choice.

So, don't forfeit your major for one that The Princeton Review touts as best. Specialize in a field that actually interests you (besides its median income.) In the end, all careers are going to kick your butt and demand your soul. The better you are at your specialization, the more likely you are going to kick your job's butt instead. And that's when the lobster dinners will roll in.

After all, someone in this world has to produce our Netflix shows.