Open Letter to ALL Humanities & Social Science Majors

Dear members of the Tribe pursuing the following humanities and social science majors:

  • African Studies;
  • American Studies;
  • Anthropology;
  • Art & Art History;
  • Asian & Middle Eastern Studies;
  • Chinese Language and Culture;
  • Classical Studies;
  • Economics;
  • English;
  • Film & Media Studies;
  • French & Francophone Studies;
  • Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies;
  • German Studies;
  • Global Studies;
  • Government;
  • Hispanic Studies;
  • History;
  • International Relations;
  • Linguistics;
  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies;
  • Music;
  • Philosophy;
  • Psychological Sciences;
  • Public Policy;
  • Religious Studies;
  • Sociology; and
  • Theatre!

This open letter congratulates you on choosing a major that gives you the opportunity and flexibility to continue your intellectual exploration for the rest of your life. We live in a society now in an economic crisis. America wants to embrace technological change that assists the entire population, but it is its fault for not recognizing the powerful use of the humanities and social sciences. Below are my reasons why EVERY major at William & Mary is great.

The Liberal Arts Should Expand

Today, the liberal arts are a growing higher education trend in the United States. At first, I see liberal arts colleges as places where a majority of students decide to major in non-technical subjects. William & Mary, on the other hand, is a research university largely involved in the liberal arts. As a result, I have class schedules that focus on this idea but in a STEM context. For example, four computer science (CS) courses in a single semester sound more overwhelming than two CS courses followed by psychology, biology, and chemistry. As food for thought, the following quote from Albert Einstein should remind us to create well-rounded schedules: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

More and More Employers & Grad Schools Want YOU

Right now, three out of four employers around the world strongly encourage students to pursue a liberal arts background. In fact, they are hiring those who possess the following skills regardless of the major: critical thinking, communication, and data analysis. It is no wonder why one of my relatives said to me that engineering, medicine, and computer science are the surest pathways to having the best jobs on the planet. Before William & Mary, I was blindfolded from the realization that students are outgoing and manage to avoid flipping cheeseburger patties at McDonald’s. After orientation, the rigors of my classes open my mind by stressing that universities have the right to express the promising potential of a liberal arts education (shout out to my COLL 300 – Idea of the University!)

Criticism is Out There

At 19, I became aware of the many people near and far who say that humanities and social science majors have no practical value. Almost every day, STEM graduates will spend many hours sitting in front of computer screens, experimenting with specimens and chemicals, and inventing and fixing metallic parts. In the end, they will hit home with the highest hourly wages in their pockets. But does everyone have the excellent math skills that we think employers look for? No. Luckily, moderation is key as STEM students wish to spend their time off watching musical plays, reading books about international economics, tasting Hispanic dishes, and all other activities that let them escape into the humanities and social science zone.

Conclusion: My Perspective Toward the Humanities & Social Sciences

In a STEM student’s eyes, it is never wrong to get active in things that do not always involve calculations and scientific tools. I always struggle to trace connections between IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence – Google it!). Thanks to William & Mary, I endorse the humanities and social sciences because they mean to close the societal gaps within a rapidly-changing, technological universe. Again, if you pursue a major in those subjects, congratulations, and I appreciate your mission to make HUGE contributions to mankind.

¡Buena suerte!

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