Why Humanities Majors Matter More Than Ever


Ever since the dawning of the ‘Space Race’ in the sixties America’s educational values have been increasingly leaning more and more to favor STEM related fields. 


STEM, for those who may not know, refers to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Following the demands of trying to get humans and technology into space, more and more people started to go to these fields as jobs were abundant and needed. Following the ‘Space Race’ was the technology and computer boom of the eighties. Which cultivated with the ‘digital age’ we are in now. Throughout all of this the values put into STEM related fields has grown.


As a result of this typical humanities majors such as English, Journalism, Film, Philosophy and more are being labeled as non-viable career paths, or dead-end majors if you will. With salaries in these major types increasingly going down and the job field becoming more and more sparse it is easy to see where these ideas come from. 


While majors such as Computer Science and Accounting have their values in our society, to be truly balanced the humanities are also needed. What a degree within a humanities related field offers is insight. Often in these majors students are exposed to varying points of view, often ones drastically different from their own. 


Going off the English major example, a typical English major will be expected to study Shakespeare, American Literature, World Literature, Women’s Literature and a plethora of more. Within each of these categories they will be challenged to analyze the arguments presented while forming their own, also known as critical thinking. 


As it would turn out critical thinking is one of the most highly sought after “soft skills” a hiring manager will look for when determining who they wish to hire. Other soft skills include things like communication, team work, creative outlook and organization. Again, all things that are used on the daily within a humanities field. Yet because these fields are often farther away from technology their value to society is diminished. 


Another value that studying the humanities has though that other majors often don’t is the learned skill of empathy often associated with it. In an article from the Washington Post they discuss how in today’s job market empathy and other traits like it can often be warped into being labeled as “unruly.” But why?


In an increasingly digitized work force humanistic qualities seem to be fading. Worker’s benefits and rights are increasingly cut in order to produce more profit, jobs are being upstaged by technology that does the work, more and more people seem to be fading out from the picture. When these traits are brought back in it can seem drastic, especially in a time when things such as lunch ladies being fired for feeding needy children or delivery vans accidentally killing pedestrians to keep up with product demand humanity within the work force seems to be dying. Which is why it is more important than ever to keep morale up. 


A world without these humanities major is a world that will lose, well, its humanity. 


No one is less intelligent or weaker for wanting to pursue a humanities major. When was the last time you were able to explain the ways cinematography is used to show class division or the patterns seen in human history regarding banking systems? These skills are unique and while they may not be “marketable” as say programming, they still carry their own weight. Whether or not the skills of these majors are actually applied to their desired fields, the need for their visions and skills will always be needed. 


Furthermore the humanities offer a wide array of skills that can be used in not only the professions they study for but other fields such as law, politics, business and more. John F. Kennedy himself chose to major in history. 


It is not a brave choice to become a humanities related major. It is as easy a choice as if you were to become an engineer or a chemist. Humanities majors are pursuing what they love and the skills they wish to refine in order to share with the world. Not all of them will be the next great American novelist or discover the next Watergate scandal. 


But they all do their part to help ensure everyone remembers what makes us human. Why we do the things we do and the way art and culture infiltrate our lives. 


The value humanities majors bring is not to be ignored, rather it should be just as esteemed as those in STEM. Who can say where technology will go in the future or what the world will value twenty years from now, one thing for certain though is that humanity majors will always be there ready to evaluate, celebrate, discuss and show the ways in which we are all humans.