Study what makes you happy…even if it’s not practical


Hannah Figueroa-Velazquez, Co-Editor-in-Chief

“What’s the employability of that major?” 

A common question you’ll hear if you’re studying anything other than engineering, medicine or computer science. Certainly, looking at career opportunities post-graduation is smart when deciding what one should study, but there are harmful beliefs many people hold that anything outside the bounds of a traditional STEM major is useless. 

In truth, a liberal arts education provides students with necessary real-world skills. As author David Foster Wallace once argued in a commencement speech at Kenyon College, “a liberal arts education is not so much about filling you up with knowledge as it is about teaching you how to think.” This same curiosity instilled in students taking classes such as philosophy, literature or global inequality is the skill of questioning and logical thinking that applies to any form of problem-solving. Not only does a solid foundation in critical thinking and creativity prepare students for a variety of fields, but it can lead to a more fulfilled life with a greater awareness of the people and things around us. 

Similarly, solely linking “success” with money is reductive and plainly inaccurate. To judge the success of an artist or writer in comparison to that of a doctor is to compare apples and oranges. Higher paychecks don’t account for a good work-life balance, mental health or overall satisfaction with one’s career. In the same light, jobs that don’t traditionally pay well tend to be public service jobs such as public defenders, teachers and other essential positions centered around helping others, something we should encourage among youth. 

Ultimately, I’m not trying to say that income doesn’t matter. Financial stability plays a large role in one’s well-being and can allow for more freedom as you grow old. This being said, it’s important to remember that a STEM degree does not ensure success just like a liberal arts degree is not a recipe for unemployment. There are so many different sectors of service we need to be fulfilled, meaning it’s a good thing that each person has their unique interests and passions.

 Next year, I’m going to Yale to study human rights and politics, a sharp deviation from my dad and brother who both studied mechanical engineering. But, at the end of the day, it is my passion that has gotten me where I am and the same passion that will continue to drive me through my future career. So, a little advice to all my aspiring humanities majors out there: don’t let anyone discourage you from studying what makes you happy. It’s your life. Live it as you please.