I am a proud Arts and Social Sciences student. I may not be the next Einstein or Stephen Hawking, but I’d rather read up on the War of 1812 than the theory of relativity any day. I know that many of my fellow arts students feel the same way.
However, identifying as an arts student can be difficult. I am often asked by parents, teachers, and friends about what my plans are after I graduate from post-secondary. Saying that I’m an arts student with no inkling of what my career path will be tends to bring about shock, open mouths, and awkward silences.
“It’s all one big question mark; what’s to be done with an arts degree?”
If you study engineering, chances are you’ll become an engineer in your discipline. The same pathway more or less applies to medicine, dentistry, law, business, and trades. But with arts students, there is no go-to or obvious career plan. It’s all one big question mark; what’s to be done with an arts degree?
Never fear. Here are five reasons why you can (and should!) hold your head up high with your arts degree.
1. Arts students have many, many choices
After my first year of university, I found out that there was much more to the world than the three major fields of science, business, and art. Science and business are quite self-explanatory disciplines, but also very intricate and can lead to several career paths. I also learned that arts disciplines encompass everything from English literature to economics. Since arts and social sciences are highly interdisciplinary fields, they provide students of varying interests with a multitude of viable career options.
2. Arts students gain an incredible soft skill set
According to the University of Regina Faculty of Arts, arts students have the valuable opportunity to study “history, our cultural traditions, ethics, and morality.” Through engaging in these ideas, students typically graduate with a lengthy list of soft skills. Arts students also regularly exercise their ability to analyze things critically, which makes them master problem solvers. They are strong communicators, extremely creative, and great collaborators.
“Skills gained from the arts help students succeed in their prospective occupations, regardless of the field.”
3. Arts students gain skills that employers want and value
The University of Regina Faculty of Arts goes on to say that “Arts-related skills … [are] some of the most important and valuable [skills] in prospective employees.” Even when it comes to jobs in scientific fields, verbal and written communication skills are extremely important and employers want candidates who have them. The bottom line? Skills gained from the arts help students succeed in their prospective occupations, regardless of the field.
4. Arts students’ studies are broad and diverse
Richard Sigurdson, the former Acting Dean of Arts at the University College of the Cariboo, says that arts degrees are designed to teach students skills that can be used throughout their lifetimes. They also encourage critical thinking and provide students with more diverse ways of observing their surroundings. First-year arts students typically take various courses in many disciplines before they find something they really enjoy, and once they’ve found their niche, students will specialize in a particular field. What’s more is that several concepts under the vast umbrella of the arts are interconnected, so you’ll become a very well-rounded learner.
5. Arts students become “global” students
Studying the arts allows students to become more academically diverse, socially aware, and curious. Collectively, these traits develop a certain “global awareness” in young scholars. Westminster College President George Forsythe describes the challenges that people face on a daily basis as “global issues,” and arts students are often able to observe the bigger picture of these problems. They can easily understand and analyze the news they hear and hone their observations into specific conclusions. Through the many concepts that students explore in the arts, they can learn about the past, how it shaped modern society today, and how lessons from the past can improve the future (after all, today’s students are the future)!
“Studying the arts allows students to become more academically diverse, socially aware, and curious.”
If you’re an arts student who’s wary of letting your creativity shine, I hope this can shed some light on the benefits of pursuing an education in the arts. This isn’t to say that everyone needs to pursue an arts degree, of course—the world needs good doctors, engineers, and lawyers. Just know that if you aren’t a science or math fanatic, there’s no shame in pursuing an arts degree. It can help you in your future career path and might even foster the life-long learner within you.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.