By Eesha Choudhary | 7th May, 2023
Discover the true value of a Liberal Arts education in this informative article. Explore the skills it offers, its relevance in today's job market, and why it's worth considering for your career path. Read on to uncover the misconceptions and benefits of a liberal arts degree.
Liberal Arts: Is It Worth The Hype?
Liberal Arts is a new educational curriculum that is getting popular these days. There are a lot of memes going around the internet about how these degrees are useless and how people struggle to find a job. The popular opinion says, "Liberal arts studies is a waste of time". On the contrary, it has opened up new opportunities for students and given recognition to various career paths, but: What difference does it make to the education system? Why is it valued today? What is the reason for the sudden popularity?
What Is Liberal Arts?
To begin with, let me explain what the curriculum is (it's not boring). Let's go back in time to ancient Greece. Ancient Greek people were interested in exploration; they had a "desire for universal understanding". They believed that specific skills were essential to lead a public life. This included participating in public debates and conversations, being able to defend oneself in court, and participating in the political system of that time. This is where the liberal arts curriculum is inspired from.
The main idea of it is that you should have all the "soft skills" too, not just textbook skills that are required to get a job with basic pay and lead a basic life (nobody dreams of having a plain life, right?). Liberal arts teach you the more humane side of education (at the end of the day, the world is still operated by humans!). Let me explain, you go to college and acquire technical skills, analytical skills, and all those textbook skills required for a job. You graduate and are searching for a job; you see the requirements and come across unfamiliar words like critical thinking, creative thinking, and problem-solving skills. You are clueless. The liberal arts curriculum teaches these exact skills.
STEM Vs Liberal Art
Liberal Arts - A liberal arts degree (i.e. humanities, social science, natural science) is more applicable to things that don’t necessarily have an end product. It may not lead to a high salary but it teaches skills that are important for the current market. Additionally, liberal arts skills are exceptionally useful in the STEM field - they’re known as soft skills.
STEM - A degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) is more analytical and product-oriented. It is popular for having a high income but is also a demanding field. So, people that are not interested and just work for money won’t have much success in this field.
What Is Its Value?
To sum up, liberal arts education is intended to expand the mind's capacity to think critically and analyze information effectively. It develops and strengthens the brain to think within and across all disciplines to serve an individual over a lifetime. That being said, unlike the popular opinion, it is a valuable degree. It teaches vital things required for a better future for students. In the 21st century, it doesn't matter what field you want to work in. A liberal arts background can help you become the best in the field. The job market today is very critical of a candidate's overall skills. All fields require knowledge of all the fields; some kind of experience is even better.
If you observe the chart above, you will realize that none are textbook skills. Of course, no one would hire anyone that doesn't have a degree in the field they intend to work in. Still, these other skills are equally important in determining whether you get the job. There is one significant advantage of the liberal arts degree (not many people realize this). There are a lot of fields that require you to hold a master's degree (most of them are STEM and business), so while pursuing a bachelor's degree, you can opt for a minor in a liberal arts field (essentially killing two birds with one stone). This makes you a strong candidate in the student pool and in the job applicant pool.
In conclusion, a liberal arts degree upskills you with enhancements you can use at work/school and in your daily life. The best part is you can work in any field with the degree because it is applicable everywhere. The pay may not be the best, but upskilling with a certificate or another degree will solve the issue. To me, it seems that liberal arts are worth the hype!
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