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For Anyone Who Has Ever Thought Their Degree Is Useless, Read This

22 December 2014 No Comment

canstockphoto10451265Anyone who’s ever done a liberal arts degree has definitely had this thought at least once. The same is true for social sciences and humanities. Degree subjects like English and Psychology always find themselves at the butt of jokes. They are often referred to by the media as ‘useless’. Which is ironic when most media professionals probably have one of these ‘useless’ degrees.

When it comes to secure job prospects and high wages, we tend to look towards science and engineering. These are degree subjects that are ‘safe’ and prosperous. Subjects like medicine and engineering have a logical career path. For that reason they seem to have higher employment rates and higher wages. But, when did success become solely about how big your wage packet is?

For those of you studying a social science, we’re here to tell you to stop worrying. Your degree is worth far more than you think. That degree opens you up to countless job opportunities. You’ll learn to think about the world differently and that skill cannot be undervalued. Nowadays a degree is simply the minimum requirement. Many employers aren’t too fussy about what that degree is. They are interested in everything around that degree. What sort of a person are you? What are your additional skills and your experience?

Your degree is a foundation upon which you build the skills that employers really desire. Instead of worrying about whether it’s useless, embrace it and develop your skills in a unique way.

Social sciences are flexible

When you do a social science degree, the world is your oyster. That degree doesn’t lock you into any career path. It opens far more doors than it closes. When you start your degree, you are still young. 18 years old is no age to be deciding what you want from the rest of your life. Use your degree to help you figure that out, while leaving your options open. Social sciences, humanities and the arts are flexible. You can combine all subjects and explore the things you are most interested in. Cultivate a degree programme that you love. That way a natural career path will unfold.

When you take a ‘safe’ subject like dentistry or medicine, you actually close a lot of doors around you. Look deep into your social science degree info. Find out what areas you can explore and follow the subjects that you are passionate about.

Choose a degree that you will enjoy

Your degree will occupy at least three years of your life. In some cases that degree will inform your life choices and your future career. It goes without saying that you should choose a degree that you enjoy. Studying a subject you hate for three years will cause bitter resentment. You may even drop out. The most important thing at college is to finish the degree you started. Follow the subjects you love and the path becomes clear. There is a perfect career out there for you, let your passions show you the way.

When it comes to job interviews, the degree you hold is one of the least important aspects. What is more important is your passion and your drive. That only comes from a deep passion and love for the subject or area that you have chosen. Don’t do a degree because you think you should, do it because you love it.

Develop a variety of skills

The social sciences and arts arm you with all manner of skills that are vital in today’s world. Instead of specific, technical skills, you’ll learn wider, human skills. Skills like communication and analytical skills. Social sciences teach you to look at the world in a different way. They teach you how to question the natural order of things and break down barriers. The arts teach compassion and the breaking down of barriers. The social sciences help us learn from the mistakes of our past and move forward. These are the skills that will help you progress in the real world.

Do we really still measure success by money?

It is certainly true that those with science degrees command higher incomes. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are the happiest or the most fulfilled. They certainly have the technical skills that are desired and sought after. That doesn’t make them any more successful than social science graduates. Learn to create your own measures of success and hold yourself to them. Don’t use the traditional monetary yard sticks. Pursue the future that makes you feel happy.

College is about life experience

Most people with a degree will tell you that their studies were the least important thing they learned. Going to college is about developing all of your skills. You learn to interact with new people. You experience new things and immerse yourself in new worlds. You integrate with alternative cultures and expand your horizons. You remove the dependency on parents and family. You learn to strike out on your own. You make your own mistakes and learn from them. These are things that shape who you are and build character. These things define you, not your degree.

Graduate jobs

If that hasn’t convinced you, let’s take a look at the jobs available to social science majors. Any job in the media requires a humanities degree. Most law graduates started their career with a social science. The highflyers on Wall Street all have a sound understanding of history and economics. Look beyond the practical applications of your degree. Look at how the skills and information you are learning fits into other careers. The best businessmen in the world are great psychologists, for example. Buying and selling is all about human psychology. One of the biggest questions of our time is how we will deal with global warming. Geography and history students are best placed to answer this question. Yes, scientists will give us the data, but it will be the humanities students who determine how we respond.

Remember to look beyond the hard data of your degree. By their nature, social sciences are interpretive. Take the skills you learn and look at how these can be applied in all career paths. Remind yourself that your degree is just the starting point. You choose how to further your career by the personal skills you develop. You take charge of your future!


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