I slam my "Social Contract" book in indignation as I contemplate the many different things that humanities and arts majors have been told: Why didn't you choose a useful degree? We need more people in trade jobs – why don't you pursue those instead of a college education? Those jobs are only for the super wealthy with connections!
Ahh, my friends, welcome to the United States of America – the land that once prided itself in the "American Dream" that you can start from nothing and follow your dreams. Now very few people believe in such a fantasy, and it has been made virtually unattainable in the USA. Young Americans are fleeing to work abroad; many of them want to do it for adventure, but there is a darker side – we are being forced out of our own country.
Alas, the people keep talking about this amazing "perfect economy" because many people have jobs. But is this truly the case? Is the waitress at your restaurant really earning enough money to pursue her master's in engineering? Can she even get a job in engineering without all of the connections needed?
Now, there are two demographics, in particular, that I'm going to be addressing. These are career paths that usually go to the ultra-wealthy and to those with many connections. Sadly, people who are talented in these fields, but who aren't from families in these fields, are told to go pursue something useful. In doing this, we are going to be losing much talent in these fields and only hearing from those lucky enough to have rich parents – who may be mediocre in comparison.
I'm not saying all rich people are mediocre, but we are overlooking middle- and lower-class talent in lieu of connections and those who can afford to attend elite schools and take 10 unpaid internships in a row.
Middle-class students are urged to pursue professions in the healthcare or law fields where they know there are secure professions and jobs. They are discouraged from pursuing the arts and academic fields. Academia and the arts are very different, but both have one thing in common – lack of easy accessibility to career paths unless you are wealthy.
Now, many months ago, Marco Rubio said, "We need more welders, not philosophers."
Rubio has my respect as a politician. I disagree with him on some points but remember watching with interest his rise to power during the turbulence of the 2010 midterms.
Rubio, in this case, you are wrong. We need welders – yes. But let's be honest, can we see Anne Hathaway as a welder?
What?? Yes, you heard me correctly. Anne Hathaway is an amazing actress with a lot of talent. I enjoy her movies, and it is clear she has a true passion for acting.
Could you imagine telling Anne Hathaway not to go into acting because very few people make it in that field, and we need more mechanics?
There are people with real talent and passion for the arts – same with people with real talent for history, philosophy, and geography. We need the arts and academia and cannot survive as a society without them. I'm no artist, but I will defend people's rights to enjoy the theater and the orchestra. People are born with talents that make them unique individuals. If we force them all to become welders and plumbers because we "need more," they will lose their individual passions, and they will not do their new jobs with their full heart and passion. It would be like telling a bird that we need more fish and forcing the bird to swim.
We should make more jobs in the fields that people are interested in studying. We also need to make these studies more accessible to everybody – there is no reason why a middle-class person should not be able to become a policy specialist. A working class person has every right to get into elite acting schools and someday be on Broadway.
We need to stop the oligarchical approach of family connections and endless internships, which only seem to benefit those families with money as they can afford to stay in NYC or DC for several years on a low budget.
For those who cannot afford it and are truly passionate, instead of saying "go into nursing," why not find ways to showcase their talent? And who knows – someday they may be your new favorite pop singer or your next president.
Attitude is very important; all humans have it. If we force our society to only have jobs that we deem worthy, think of what a miserable country we would be. We would lack human happiness, but we'd have money.
Imagine instead, a country where all people can pursue their dreams regardless of their parents' income. A country where you are encouraged to pursue your talents, and where somebody who loves singing but cannot sing well can be brought to professional tutors. People are given access to more materials to help their individual talents, and in turn, it will benefit others.
This is a world I want – we need the welders and the plumbers. We also need the scholars and the entertainers. We are all part of a beautiful picture of the world and all part of the stage – and the play goes perfectly when it is well-cast.