Wells Fargo recently released very controversial ads for their student loan program with quotes like "A ballerina yesterday, an engineer today" or "An actor yesterday, a botanist today." Many artists and performers have mounted a fierce backlash against the company, saying they are discrediting a viable career field and discouraging students from pursuing their dreams.
It's no secret that this has been the practice in America for a long time, but no professional company has blatantly told teenagers that they should pursue science, that being in the arts is a waste of time or just a hobby. Wells Fargo has opened up the argument that everyone in the arts has every time they go home for Christmas, go to a wedding, a graduation party, or any place they'll see extended family, family friends, and people who have made a living doing something they hate.
Every time a student of the arts talks to people about their future plans, they are met with skeptical nods and comments like "what kind of career path is that? How do you expect to make a living?" This usually leads to the student trying to explain how they're doing what they love and they're committed and with hard work, they'll make it big while their Aunt Karen saunters off with a glass of wine. Eventually, the students get sick of these careless and callous conversations and they blow up on their Aunt Karen, telling her that they don't give a %&^*$ what she thinks, they're going to do it and if she doesn't like that she can go see her husband Tim who is a CPA and always daydreaming about the life he gave up when he chose accounting over photography and complain about how her niece can't be more like her daughter Tiffany who is going to school for physical therapy.
Science is incredibly important, and it should be encouraged, but not exclusively. We should encourage education, not careers. It is equally important that our society has scholars as well as engineers. America's capitalistic socioeconomic system only wants more scientists and engineers because it will make the big companies money. It should be encouraged so that we have more innovation and inventions, so that we can have an answer to climate change, so that we can improve society.
We should also encourage degrees in art, history, english, music, and theater. These will give us the great moments that we never forget. No one can say that the molecular structure of dish soap is more important to society than the smash hit Hamilton. But it's being treated as such by society and by the banks.
This is another example of the cruelty of our capitalist system. The money hungry operation pushes us to feed into their machine, to become scientists and engineers and work for them, making new products that will make them more money. That is why they've pushed propaganda telling parents to make their kids go into STEM. But people should go into science because they love it and they're interested in it and they want to do amazing things with it, not for the money. It's the same reason people shouldn't go into the arts looking for the fame, they should go into it because they love it.
Study what you love. Make a career doing what you love. Anything else is a waste of time.