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People are harsh on humanities majors?

samandro22samandro22 Posts: 3Registered User New Member
edited April 2013 in College Life
I'm currently an English major in my third year at a college in the United States. When I first declared my major as English, a lot of people acted like the only thing that you can do with an English degree is be a teacher. However, the more internships and job descriptions I've been looking at, the more I realize that companies want people who can write and communicate.

Obviously, there is a lot of technology jobs out there, but there is also a lot of companies who are looking for who can write! Being a S.T.E.M major isn't the only meas to getting a job.

If you are a humanities major, have you dealt with people being harsh or belittling you because of your major?

I actually vlogged about "Humanity Major Problems" if you want to check it out: Humanities Major Problems - YouTube
Post edited by samandro22 on
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Replies to: People are harsh on humanities majors?

  • JeSuisJeSuis Posts: 1,929Registered User Senior Member
    Honestly, I think some STEM majors are jealous of the perceived "easiness" of humanities/social science majors and use poor job prospects as a way to bash them. The funny thing is, biology/chemistry majors have pretty bad job prospects right now. So do some areas of engineering. Not to mention how easy some science majors are compared to, say, a rigorous philosophy program.
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Posts: 23,127Registered User Senior Member
    Yeah, I've gotten some crap. What do I care? If people want to say something, let 'em yap.
  • TomServoTomServo Posts: 2,047Registered User Senior Member
    However, the more internships and job descriptions I've been looking at, the more I realize that companies want people who can write and communicate.

    Humanities majors are always citing anecdotal evidence, but empirical evidence demonstrates that STEM majors have lower unemployment and higher starting salaries. What's more, these unemployment rates and starting salaries are rather uniform from school to school, whereas in the humanities, your undergrad alma mater matters a LOT. An English major from Harvard is in a whole other world than an English major from South Dakota State University, but an engineer from SDSU can expect good employment prospects.

    Don't get mad at me, I'm just the bearer of bad news. The culture has changed and people now believe that college is to prepare you for a career, and humanities majors (except for those from rigourous, highly-ranked programs) don't really prepare you for careers. They aren't supposed to. So this is one reason why people often sneer at humanities majors. I mainly sneer at the humanities because of how soft and watered down it has become, but I respect one that is rigourous and not watered-down. It is incredibly easy to get a degree in English or another similar humanities domain.

    For all of the talk about humanities degrees teaching people how to write and communicate well, I have not observed above-average communications skills in the humanities majors whose writings I've been acquainted with. For all of the talk of humanities degrees teaching you to think critically, I haven't seen this either. Rare exceptions like graduates of rigourous economic and philosophy programs are, as I said, rare exceptions.

    And this won't make me any more popular but I'll leave it here for people to pick over: a lot of STEM majors believe that our salaries will one day pay for the welfare/medicare/medicaid/social security/disability/student loan defaults of humanities majors who don't get jobs. People don't talk about this in "mixed company," if you know what I mean.
  • Niquii77Niquii77 Posts: 9,299Registered User Senior Member
    I'll be damned if I have to pay for some humanities major's student loans default!

    ;)

    OP, I watched your video and liked it. You were very entertaining. Love the 'stache!
  • vienneselightsvienneselights Posts: 411Registered User Member
    @jesuis

    not kidding, I was eating lunch and these two bches were ranting about how they're OMG PREMED STEM MAJORS and how it's unfair that all these STUPID HUMANITIES MAJORS get to apply on the same terms, except their GPAs are so much higher because THE HUMANITIES ARE STUPID.

    And I came up to them and was like, if the discrepancy is really so large, why don't you major in an easy humanity and get a better chance at med school? It's not like you'll be getting more than $10 an hour with your Bio BA.
  • BlackRose101BlackRose101 Posts: 1,886Registered User Senior Member
    Very well thought out.

    I plan on teaching English in higher education (it's my current goal). Many STEM majors perceive us humanity majors as taking the easy way out. However, that's not true. We all should do what we are good at.
  • CalDudCalDud Posts: 1,626Registered User Senior Member
    I don't know why people major in bio if they don't intend to go onto graduate school. To me that is just plain stupid. Same goes for the humanities. The degree isn't that valuable unless you do. A STEM degree (engineering, math, compsci) is valuable after graduation unless you need more education to go into whatever field you want to go into.

    My school is a polytechnic, so we don't really have that great of a humanities department I'm assuming. You don't go to MIT for instance to major in English. That's just not really what the school is strong at. It's hard science, engineering, or soft science mostly here.

    The upper-divison courses I've taken in English, Psychology, Anthropology, etc. have had a lot of variation in them. I actually think the STEM majors got better grades than non-STEM ones in them because of their work ethic. What I did notice is a lot of social science/humanities majors often complain about trivial things, although it is very hard to sort out who is exactly what unless you listen to them mention their major.

    My girlfriend is just as smart as me and she is a psychology and art major (goes to a different school tho). I'm a math & stats major. There is no question about it, she has to go to graduate school to make good money. Sometimes I had trouble in the beginning thinking her degree was going to bring in money and it has taken some time to get around to thinking that what she was doing was respectable. I think you have to keep an open mind to these people but you do know that earning a degree at podunk U is going to be extremely easy relative to more rigorous colleges. Those are typically the people that fit the stereotype. My best friend, for instance, didn't want to major in something hard and so he did a double major in English and Sociology. 3.9 GPA, partied hard all through school, never studied but nobody cared about his degree in the end because he was just doing it to get into the Air Force as a pilot (which he did).

    My girlfriend was a pre-med coming in. It is hard. It is very hard to expect to earn perfect grades. My girlfriend could not hack the stress and getting a C in Organic Chem II was terrible for her. She didn't do pre-med anymore after that and picked up the second major (art). I've never heard anyone complain about that pre-med thing with easier majors applying. If you fill the prereqs, you fill the prereqs...simple as that.

    I don't really care about the easiness aspect of humanities majors degree. It's just sometimes I feel like people (humanities majors) complaining aloud don't know how rough it is for some engineering majors. Like, when you're putting 40 hours of studying in a week for classes that average as low as 20% (curves do not help much) sometimes because of the exams, barely have a social life, you work 20+ hours a week, and hear someone complaining about how ENGLISH 4XX they're expecting too much of them.....you just want to hit them with your pde's book. My friend goes through this, he's 24, and he has kids, which complicate things severely.
  • BlackRose101BlackRose101 Posts: 1,886Registered User Senior Member
    Not trying to start an argument with you, because I do agree that STEM majors suffer a lot for their major. However, so do students that study the humanities. To break out the inner writer is a turmoil that can not be understood by somebody who does not write. The effort it takes to get each stanza break to make sense is unbelievable. I've stayed up for hours working on a single stanza. My roommate must think i'm crazy because I continuously murmur my lines to myself to make sure that they are aesthetically pleasing to not only the eyes but the ear.

    Both STEM and the humanities require time, work and patience. It's just different for each person. It also depends on the program. Some people are in "easier" programs that require that they simply write a novella, poem or short story for the duration of their semester. Other programs require portfolios at the end of them, extensive research into your subject and an explanation for why each thing was done.


    I hate hearing my mathematically inclined friends complain about a few math problems that they can easily do on a graphing calculator (I'm just kidding lol :P I love my STEM majors )
  • JeSuisJeSuis Posts: 1,929Registered User Senior Member
    Humanities majors are always citing anecdotal evidence, but empirical evidence demonstrates that STEM majors have lower unemployment and higher starting salaries.

    So the unemployed engineers should take comfort in the fact that, statistically, they're in the minority? Oh, and obviously starting salary is the only way to measure career success.

    @vienneselights: Seriously, that's why I think premeds should major in what they like. No reason to major in biology if it's not your passion.
    I don't know why people major in bio if they don't intend to go onto graduate school. To me that is just plain stupid. Same goes for the humanities.

    True, it's always good to have some sort of plan. Doesn't necessarily need to be graduate/professional school, but having some avenue you know is open to you with whatever major you choose.
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Posts: 23,127Registered User Senior Member
    This is so dumb. Another humanities vs STEM debate. *yawn*
  • TomServoTomServo Posts: 2,047Registered User Senior Member
    So the unemployed engineers should take comfort in the fact that, statistically, they're in the minority? Oh, and obviously starting salary is the only way to measure career success.

    That's what you said. Here is something I said earlier:
    For all of the talk of humanities degrees teaching you to think critically, I haven't seen this either.

    An example of NOT thinking critically would be taking a flip, one-dimensional misinterpretation of something somebody has said and throwing it in their face.
  • RoKr93RoKr93 Posts: 259Registered User Junior Member
    It's simple fact that humanities majors currently offer poor job prospects. However, I don't believe in lambasting them because I think it's extremely valuable to have critical thinkers in society. Not to mention I'm a proponent of doing what you do best and what you love. I'm an engineering major, but if I had wanted to study English, I would have without a second thought.
  • JeSuisJeSuis Posts: 1,929Registered User Senior Member
    @TomServo: What I'm saying is that one's own anecdotal evidence is more relevant to themselves than general statistics. An English major who succeeds will value his/her own experience over the statistics that say they won't. Likewise, an engineering major who can't get a job values his/her anecdotal experience more than the statistics that say (s)he's "guaranteed" a job. To say statistics trump anecdotal evidence 100% of the time is ludicrous. And I wasn't trying to commit a straw man fallacy; I was just saying that sometimes anecdotal evidence is more valuable than statistics.

    Oh, and if you're implying that I'm a humanities major, I'm not.
  • JeSuisJeSuis Posts: 1,929Registered User Senior Member
    For all of the talk of humanities degrees teaching you to think critically, I haven't seen this either.

    Also, *gasp* anecdotal evidence!
  • abc1230abc1230 Posts: 61Registered User Junior Member
    I think it's important to note that if you go to a prestigious college or university or a school with a top notch program then the work will be difficult. Studying humanities at a top school certainly doesn't guarantee you a 4.0. In fact, I would argue that it may be easier to achieve higher grades in "hard" science classes. While there is usually more work, oftentimes the nightly or weekly HW is graded (which cushions the overall grade). Humanities typically have fewer assignments and thus a higher risk of messing up. In addition, in the sciences there are right and wrong answers to questions--meaning that if you know how to solve the equation, you get full credit. I know how to write a paper, but my professors would never give me full credit. Most don't even give As. The subjectivity of humanities, which some argue make it bull *****, I argue makes it difficult. It's tough to impress professors who are publishing articles and winning awards. I have a lot of respect for STEM students; it's about time the humanities received some of the same.
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