Monday, November 30, 2020

No such thing as a “useless major”

Many people think certain fields of study in college are useless and won’t help in the dreaded post-college job search. All majors are challenging and interesting, and there’s no “easy” fields of study to choose from. People still judge and look down upon certain majors for not being “useful” enough.

As a senior journalism student, I often receive questions like “What are you going to do with that when you graduate?” and “ Why would you choose journalism now when it’s dying?” I assume most of these people either don’t realize, or don’t care about how rude and disrespectful they’re being. After four long years on the receiving end of these questions, I’ve learned not to smile and simply fake a chuckle while internally rolling my eyes.

Journalism students aren’t alone in this struggle; fine arts, theatre, music, philosophy, women’s studies, history and even education— there’s virtually no field of study safe from people’s judgement.
Much of the skepticism and judgement that comes with certain majors is backed by places like Forbes that analyze the earning potentials of each major.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the most “valuable” college majors are computer science, engineering, statistics and information technology, according to Forbes magazine.

People choose to attend college for different reasons. Some go simply as an investment in the hopes a post-graduation financial gain, some go for social and academic exploration and many attend college to gain both. Although some college majors are considered less marketable by employers, all fields of study offer the opportunity for valuable lessons and experiences.

One argument made against these fields is they contribute to the high rate of post-graduation unemployment. According to Forbes, as of 2017 only 2.5 percent of college graduates were unemployed. While that statistic doesn’t necessarily mean every college graduate is utilizing their degree to the fullest, it debunks the myth that certain majors will directly lead to joblessness.

Beyond the principle goal of financially supporting oneself, another measure of success should be a person’s overall contentedness. According to Pew Research Center, about half of all americans are “very satisfied” in their current position. As a basic trend, the same study found higher incomes correlated with the level of happiness.

In my opinion, wealth can lead to happiness and success, but it shouldn’t be the only factor. That being said, I’m not here to preach about the evils of material possessions and the insignificance of money. As a broke soon-to-be college graduate, I fully understand that I would be much less stressed if I had financial resources to rely on, but I try to maintain a positive attitude despite that.

People sneer at some majors because they don’t fit a standard of success. Every major is valuable and, while some might not reap many financial rewards, all majors teach valuable lessons. I am confident that my “useless” major has given me skills and experiences to land a job I like after graduation.

Email Teresa Acierno at

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