John Lemmon asks: I’m considering the idea of studying sociology because on paper it interests me, but how useful is it once I’ve left uni?
That old chestnut… Will my arts degree get me a job? Here’s the thing – If I had a dollar for every commerce or science graduate who’s ever made fun of me for doing a BA, I’d be about a hundred bucks richer than I am now. If I had a dollar for every arts graduate I know who can destroy a commerce or science graduate in any argument that requires critical thinking, I’d be a billionaire. Zingggg. I guess the more pertinent question is: If you’re not going to university to become a doctor, lawyer, engineer, architect, teacher, accountant, dentist or academic (etc etc), how useful is any course of study? Answer: Very useful.
An arts degree opens your mind. It teaches you to look at the world from a different perspective than the one given to you by your parents. It gives you the opportunity to study a particular field in depth, assisted by the collective findings of the greatest minds to ever have lived. And most importantly – for me at least – it teaches you how to write.
Will a few sociology papers get you a job? Probably not. Same goes for art history, the classics, or literature. But they will all expand your horizons in the best possible way. And let’s not forget what New Zealand property tycoon Bob Jones once said (and I paraphrase): I’d hire an arts graduate over a commerce graduate any day of the week – the arts graduate will, at least, know how to think for themselves.
You really wanna learn? Then study what interests you, study what you love, study what you enjoy. Do that, and you’ll walk away from your degree with something more than massive debt and a three-year-long hangover.
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