If you are a liberal arts major like myself, you probably know the disappointing look people give you when you tell them what you have been studying all these years. It's that unavoidable conversation you have with your relatives, your parents' friends, or complete strangers. And the truth is unless you tell them that you are studying business, chemical engineering, or that you're on a pre-med track, people do not take you seriously.
A liberal arts degree is often viewed as a "useless degree" that won't make you any money in life. Our culture has become fixated on internships, standardized test scores, and percentages, but what about the qualities that make a person interesting? In interviews, these percentages and scores are merely numbers. It is your ability to carry an intellectual conversation that separates you from the 20 other people applying for the same position. It is your ability to think outside the box and bring something new to a company that will make you a valuable employee. These skills are not taught in textbooks but are developed through enriching the class discussion. This is what is at the core of a liberal arts education.
People need to stop mistaking college as a pit stop before a job. College is an experience. It is a place where you find yourself, find your passion, and experience life all on your own. If your 18-year-old son is telling you he wants to study finance or accounting because he "finds it interesting" he's lying. At 18 you don't know what a career in financing or accounting is really like. Kids major in these fields of study because it sounds good and it might make them a lot of money in the future. Students are looking for the major that will make them the quickest buck, rather than the major that truly interests them. This is, unfortunately, the warped view of college in today's world.
So parents, relatives, and complete strangers over the age of 35, it is time to change your view on higher education. Whether you are studying public relations, biology, finance, or mechanical engineering, your degree will not guarantee a high-paying job. It is what you do with that degree that matters. It is your motivation, your passion, and your drive that will make you successful. Study what you want to study because college is more than a degree, it is an experience.