After spending four years at my undergraduate university, and now finishing up my two years in graduate school, I’ve had my fair share of dialogue when it comes to the liberal arts and my major of choosing. Sometimes I come across people who are totally amazed and thrilled with my major and ask a billion questions on what my classes have been like, and then I’ve had the “other” people who should probably learn to keep their traps shut.
Here is what not to say to a liberal arts major:
When we tell you what our major is, don’t respond with an “Oh…” and then an awkward head nod. At this point, I know the person is trying to wrap their brains around the fact that Art History and Creative Writing are indeed, majors. Or that people actually major in Philosophy. It’s just a little rude, ya know?
“What the hell are you going to do with that?” — this reminds me when attending job interviews and they ask you, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” The only problem with this situation is we are not entitled to lie and pretend like we know what we are doing. Even if you majored in business or engineering doesn’t mean you have it all figured out. I’m 24…how the hell am I supposed to know what I’m going to do with it? I’m hoping I stumble into something great and call it a day.
“Oh, creative writing, huh? So you want to write books and be an author?” — gee, if only it were that easy. Oh wait, there is E.L. James, so maybe it really is that easy. In that case, I made the right choice.
“Oh that’s nice. That’s a good hobby to have.” — Effing’scuse me? Why would I pay X amount of dollars for two college degrees if I consider them my hobbies? That’s a little insane. Walking is another hobby of mine. Where can I get that degree?
“So I’m guessing you want to be a teacher?” — As if that is the only career path liberal arts majors have. Some of us would love to teach because it’s fun and we can be surrounded by the very things we love. Others can become lawyers, editors, curators, sculptors, etc. There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching, but please remember that we are capable of other things too.
“Liberal Arts is so easy! You’re so lucky. I bet college was a breeze.” — Mm, yes. Writing 20 page papers every semester on one damn painting, and memorizing 50 different paintings with the year, artist, medium, length and width, and what it symbolizes for a test each week was ABSOLUTELY easy. Ya caught me.
“How come your facilities are so outdated?” — Well, it’s pretty simple actually. Unless you go to an art school, many colleges do not have liberal arts at the top of their list of priorities. It’s just like when you’re renting an apartment. That lonely, grumpy smelly guy downstairs in apartment A never pays his rent on time. However, the thirty, flirty, and thriving girl in apartment B always pays her rent on time. When both of their sinks poop out on them, who do you think the landlord is going to help first? You’ve got it! The girl in apartment B! Since liberal arts majors are less likely to donate to their wonderful school later in life, in the end, the school may not think it’s worth it to spend however many dollars to upgrade the facilities. You rub their back and they’ll rub yours.
We may not become millionaires but it doesn’t mean we are not smart, productive, and driven people. We find our ways to be successful, and of course, everyone has a different definition of the word.