A Response To Liberal Arts Critics, I'm Not Ashamed Of My Degree

A Response To Liberal Arts Critics, I'm Not Ashamed Of My Degree

No, I don't want to get a degree in engineering.
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If you were to ask my eight-year-old self what I wanted to be when I was older, there wouldn’t be a pause before I shouted, “A writer!”

The collections of stories that were hoarded underneath my bed, printed out on computer paper and filled with plot-lines that were extremely similar to various Disney channel original movies (looking back I realize my real talent had just been being a savvy plagiarist) were pieces of me that made me who I was, and were the same pieces that made my father angry when he found out another ink cartridge had to be replaced yet again.

I was going to be a writer.

There was no quiz on the back of a J14 magazine that could tell me otherwise. I was astonished once when I took one of those and ended up with a prophecy that foretold my future as a “flight attendant” because I had answered mostly Bs rather than As or Cs.

Impossible, I thought. I was destined to have someone to read the words I had written someday. My stubbornness refused any tarot cards or any Magic 8-Balls that insisted otherwise.

So why was that same girl, almost ten years later, sitting on the phone with her mother inside a dimly lit a dorm room questioning something she had been so sure of her entire life?

For many of us who have found themselves on a track of liberal arts rather than STEM-related fields, it is typical to have heard some type of criticism for the choosing of our degree.

I’ve found the height of these to be found in party settings with nosey distant cousins that usually ask if I have a boyfriend first. After that dreaded question, I feel a sort of shame come on when asked my major. “Communications,” I tell them, as I brace myself for the rude curiosity that begs to know more.

“What are you going to do with that?” is a typical response heard just as often as, “Are you going to go to law school after your undergrad?”

Both my mother, sister, and brother had followed the STEM path - my brother, as much as I hate to give his already-big-ego a boost, followed the pre-med path, becoming a vet. When he was in undergrad as a biology major I had never once heard any follow up questions like the ones given to me.

I’m not here to prove why liberal arts majors are important. I’m not here to throw statistics at you that prove that I will land myself with a job. I’m not going to justify that a dream of a two car garage and a wrap around porch is, indeed, plausible for me. Because frankly, I’m not going to feel shameful about someone else’s perception of successes.

For those of you doubting me, I press you to exit this article and type in your questions about the legitimacy of liberal arts majors into your Google search engine. Or, you could save yourself some time and try, “Why is my life so unexciting and sad that I find myself immersed in the judgment of other people’s lives?”

Your mother on the other end of the line is correct: You’re going to be alright. And this isn’t because you chose to switch to business or teaching or because you stuck with that English major.

You’re going to be alright because your major does not determine where you will land. Your passion, your drive, your focus, and your ability to block out self-doubt and these criticisms will.

You cannot force yourself into a career that doesn’t reflect upon who you are.

I played six different sports throughout my adolescent career and I remember a girl from my soccer team laughed at me for quitting. The girl that ridiculed me for backing down? She absolutely hated the sport. Complained every single practice. That’s when I realized I shouldn’t be the one shamed, but she should. What a fool she was to commit herself to something she absolutely hated.

I hope you all get that two car garage. I hope you all throw a party and drink red wine on that wrap around porch with the people who believed in you all along. I hope you find days of ease that are never met with an echo inside of your head that says you should have or you could have.

I hope you believe in yourself, lost liberal arts major because I believe in you.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Even After Family Weekend, I Haven't Gotten Homesick And I'm Not Ashamed Of It

It's really OK.

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Now that we have successfully drifted into October, I am about a month and a half into my freshman year of college.


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As the leaves on the trees start to change colors and the skies start fading to grey, Family Weekend rolls around. As a preface, I used to live in Connecticut. I think it's safe to say I still #BleedBlue even after living in South Carolina for my high school career. Regardless, it's safe to say me attending the University of Connecticut is a little ways away from my parents and cats.

That being said, the last time I saw my mom and dad was move in day. Exactly six weeks without seeing my dad or giving my mom a "huggie". I have been away from home before, for example I went to Ireland and Scotland this summer for a week with a teacher from school and a few other kids that went to my high school.

I don't miss high school and I enjoy living in a dorm with my amazing roommate and hanging out with people pretty much everyday and just doing my own thing, but it's weird not coming home and seeing my parents every night.


I mean look at those twoElizabeth Dunn // Personal Photo


See, I can't describe this as home sickness, because I talk to my mom on a pretty consistent basis, she sends me pictures of my cats, and I just haven't had that cloud of sadness over my head because I miss home. Not to say I haven't been sad in college, stuff happens, but it hasn't been like what sooo many other people talk about it to be.


my four cats on my parent's bedElizabeth Dunn // Personal Photo


Even now, a few days after seeing my parents, I miss the people not the place. I'm not going to guilt trip myself over this either. I think it's healthier! It was super nice to hang out with my parents again. I got fed well and spent a night off campus for the first time since I got here. Another positive was not having to jump out of my bed the next morning or wear shower shoes while showering

I'm hoping while writing this, that the stereotypical home sickness doesn't catch up to me in the near future (preferably not at all).


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Even just six weeks in, I feel like I have grown as a person and changed. I will say it was amazing to see my parents, but I'm glad I'm away from home being able to blossom into an educated young woman.

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