The Practical Value Of A Humanities Degree

The Practical Value Of A Humanities Degree

A concept that has at times seemed like an oxymoron.

A creeping concern that I have had throughout my college education has been of the practical usefulness of my degree. I suppose that this is an issue that haunts any humanities major, living as we do in a society that appears to value tangible products and profit above the kinds of focuses that often dominate a class in the humanities.

And I absolutely can see the value in studying texts from the past and gleaning the lessons they offer, but sometimes I have found myself thinking, how can this be transferred to solve the problems of our modern world?

Sure, these texts may offer lessons about humanity and they may be presented in beautiful, intricate, complex language, but how does that help in a world that is riddled with a plethora of issues that can at times seem overwhelming and impossible to combat?

Where does, say, Shakespeare fit in when it feels like we are left helplessly and ironically hoping that corporations will step up to defend reduction of protected lands from the greed of others?

Well, I think part of the solution is to not become overwhelmed by what can seem to be an overwhelming imbalance of power and to remember that perspective is important.

And inspiration may be found through literature and the words of its makers—one of my recent favorites, for example, comes from Ursula Le Guin, who in her speech at the National Book Awards, reminds her audience that

“We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.”

I am an English major, and during my final semester I decided to take a political science class. This class centered around reading novels which featured utopias and dystopias, and I realized the truth of Le Guin’s words through this class.

These novels (and I think science fiction specifically is a good medium for this) offered alternative realities, and I don’t mean dragons and time travel. They offered alternate societies that operated on different fundamental philosophies.

It is easy to consider the system we live in as having inescapable amounts of power, especially when we have not experienced much of an alternative. Novels of utopias and dystopias and alternatively structured societies offers a space for us to consider alternatives, to see that change is possible.

And thought certainly drives meaningful action.

But it was through this political science class that the bridge between literature and our modern world was made clear to me. Because the theories we think about in that class, about what an ideal world would look like, or an infinitely horrible one, are ones that we were constantly encouraged to think about in tandem with the world we are living in now.

There is something that happens though, when you really think on issues that are pertinent to this world, and when you’re painfully aware of all the ways in which our current world is more dystopian than utopian.

It gets to be so that you realize that you can’t just sit back and hope that someone else will fix things. You have to make the effort in any way that becomes available to you.

It may not always be fruitful, but often it seems that fear of one’s effort not bearing fruit can ensure that one never tries in the first place, which absolutely guarantees that no change will be affected.

The systems we have in place seem rather broken, and frustrating, and entrenched. All this means is that we need to think outside the box and that we need to make active effort to fix these problems. Humans created the systems we live in, and they can modify them, too.

Of course, you need to know what you are working for in the first place, and that is where one of the many values of literature can come in.

As for me, I graduate this semester, and rather than that meaning I am finished with my education, I plan to immerse myself in all the political theory I can get my hands on, because its useless to complain about how things are if a productive solution or alternative is not offered.

In any case, I am going to go and continue to immerse myself in literature with the hopes of taking that knowledge and applying it to my immediate world, and I encourage you to do the same.

Cover Image Credit: traveler1219 on Deviantart

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20 Disney Channel Original Movies That You HAD To See As Soon As It Came Out

You know you still have a soft spot for #11.

My friends and I were having a movie night and like many other movie nights before we couldn't decide on what we should watch. We scrolled through Netflix for what seemed like forever until I remembered that I had some Disney Channel Original Movies through an app my Dad set up. This opened up a whole new ball game because we all grew up watching these movies. I got to the app and started looking at all of them.

My friends and I were reminiscing about the movies we had seen when we were younger.

To people that may not know, a Disney Channel Original Movie (or DCOM for short), is a movie that was aired on Disney Channel and was not ever in a theater. Here is a list of the top DCOMs.

1. "Double Teamed" (2002)



Who doesn't love twin girl athletes originally wanting to do different things but both ending up playing basketball?

2. "Right On Track" (2003)

A sister movie where they are trying to be better than each other at racing. There's nothing wrong with some sibling competition is there?

3. "Quints" (2000)

After this movie, I was definitely glad I didn't have any younger siblings, especially not five.

4. "Cadet Kelly" (2002)

Cadet Kelly wanted me to join a military school; however, I know I definitely wouldn't have survived.

5. "Pixel Perfect" (2004)

Making a robot girl that is practically perfect? Yes, please! This movie also inspired me to want to learn how to do a one-handed cartwheel, which I did.

6. "The Cheetah Girls" (2003)

Every young girl and her friends would sing along to these songs and pretend to be them. And let's be real, the other two weren't as amazing as the first, especially after Raven, left.

7. "The Zenon Trilogy" (1999, 2001 & 2004)

Who didn't want to live in space after watching these movies?

8. "You Wish!" (2003)

I definitely know I wanted to wish on a lucky coin that I didn't have any siblings, but after this movie, I'm very glad I never did in case it actually came true.

9. "Starstruck" (2010)

It's every girl's dream to fall in love with a dreamy poster, and the song "Something About the Sunshine" is so catchy, and I have it on a Spotify playlist and have no regrets about jamming to it in the car.

10. "Twitches/Twitches Too" (2005 & 2007)

I definitely wanted a twin that was also a witch after watches these movies.

11. "High School Musical 1 and 2" (2006 & 2007)

These don't need explaining. If you haven't seen them or at least heard about them, then you probably live under a rock. I just wish high school was really like this. Also, "High School Musical 3" was also amazing but did not make the list because it was technically not a DCOM since it was released in theaters.

12. "Lemonade Mouth" (2011)

This one is pretty new, but it made me want to get detention to potentially meet my future bandmates even though I have no musical abilities.

13. "Gotta Kick It Up!" (2002)

If this movie didn't have you shouting "Si se Puede!" then you didn't appreciate it enough.

14. "Get A Clue" (2002)

This made me want to be a spy more than I already wanted to be one as a child. Solving crimes with your best friends sounded like a very great time.

15. "Smart House" (1999)

Winning a house that could talk to you and listen to what you told it? Seems like a dream come true, until the house gets a little too attached.

16. "Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-Off" (2003)

Baseball or cooking? Waiting to see what Eddie chose was a nail-biter.

17. "Camp Rock 1 & 2" (2008 & 2010)

A movie with songs that made you get up and dance and want to go to summer camp.

18. "Descendants 1 & 2" (2015 & 2017)

These movies are really new so, not many people that are over the age of 10 have heard of them, but I thoroughly enjoyed them. They have really catchy songs even if they are pretty cheesy.

19. "Jump In!" (2007)

Who doesn't love Corbin Bleu jumping rope?

20. "Stuck In The Suburbs" (2004)

Another movie where a teenager gets befriends a dreamy pop star. Come on why couldn't that happen in real life? I'd totally be down to be best friends with Justin Bieber. DCOMs will always have a special place in my heart.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Poems On Odyssey: "Stages"

As life moves through its stages.

"Stages"

I see it now.

I see that there is a distinction,

A difference,

Between the present.

Between the future.

Between the past.


We roam through the present,

Making the most of each day,

Living life to the fullest of capacities.

We aspire and discourage.

We succeed and we fail.

We love.

We hate.


We dream of the future,

Hoping to achieve our goals,

To exceed the expectations and break the stereotypes.

We imagine and dread.

We wish and obsess.

We accept.

We fear.


Yet, we live in the past,

Reminiscing on the best of times,

Wishing that we could relive those moments.

We have no choice but to remember the worst of times,

As old memories are forced to the back of the brain,

Crammed inside of a dusty storage box,

Exactly where we hope they will remain,

Until we are ready to revisit them.

That is,

If we are ever ready to revisit them.


We pray to remember,

We pray to forget,

As life moves through its stages.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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