Originally written by Laura Van De Walle on Unwritten.
Growing up I always loved to read and write, just as other people loved to build or play sports. In fact, I loved those things too. However, when it came to applying to school, I didn’t think twice about applying for an English degree. I knew that I wanted to be one of those people who loved what they did for a living. I mean, isn’t that what we all want? To go to work every day and not have it feel like an obligation, but to have it feel like a hobby or something you truly love.
Now, I’m in my final week of classes in my undergrad, and I have absolutely no regrets. The love I had for English and literature before entering school is nothing compared to the love I have for it now. The skills that I have learned are remarkable.
Others may look at me and think it’s great that I can read and write, but so can most people in the country we live in. They may wonder what on earth I’m going to do with a degree like this. They may even frown upon my choice as something impractical or unrealistic. In fact, many even wonder what the point is behind all of the humanities and arts degrees.
Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s a point to the work I put in every single day, an important point in fact. I write so that the world and people around me can relate to one another. I write so that I can understand pain, humility, grief and tragedy. I write so that I can connect with the world. I write so that I can process thoughts and make calculated and smart decisions.
I WRITE TO SHARE MY LIFE WITH OTHERS.
I read so that I can understand those who came before me. I read so that I can learn from history, and make smart decisions about the future. I read because no matter how much the world changes, the fundamental elements of humanity never will. I read because it allows me to grow, to become open-minded and knowledgeable.
I READ BECAUSE I WANT TO LISTEN TO WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY.
Every day you engage in these two activities in different forms and you take for granted the importance of them. I, on the other hand, do not. I believe creativity and innovation created the world we live in, and practicing those skills every day is something I value. Expression of thoughts and opinions helps our societies function and endure through stressful life events and tragedy. I study English because there are infinite ways to view the world and I don’t ever want to be limited to an amount someone else sees fit.
I’m sick of hearing that my humanities degree is useless because it has taught me more about life than I could have ever imagined. It is not impractical to enjoy what you study, it’s smart. No one ever created something remarkable out of boredom or disinterest. If I earn less than my science or math counterpart than at least I do so out of passion and not out of obligation. However, look around you, there are some people accomplishing incredible things who have humanities degrees, so don’t underestimate us.