When I found this article titled, “Professional jobs harder to get, college grads find,” I thought—Well, duh. As I read, I was again haunted by the terror that awaits me post-college: the fear of being a waitress for the rest of my life. The article did, however, give a realistic impression of what 20-somethings must deal with after they graduate college.
The article didn’t bother me. The comments did. Just as a sample from “j-o-h-n”:
Nonsense degrees like “communications,” “public relations,” “political science” are not professional. #1 Job Tip: get a degree with a real tangible skill, for example: Engineering, Medicine, Nursing, Auditing.
Here’s the thing: I’m sick of reading about my bullshit major. In the beginning of college, I knew so many incoming freshmen who were majoring in engineering and nursing. Do you know what happened to them? They switched majors. Or schools. Or dropped out because that major was too hard, and they couldn’t decide what to do with themselves.
I am a communications major, print journalism. Also, I’m a literature minor. Sure, I’m in a failing industry, but the intent of my major is not to land a job in the newspaper industry or become the next Diane Sawyer. The intent of my major is to teach me a set of skills that I can use in various ways. To date, I’ve had two internships, one learning web production and the other working for a PR firm. Both are vastly different, but they both use skills I’ve learned with a print journalism major and would not have learned if I was a finance major.
Furthermore, I have friends who have majored in something like business or finance, and when they cannot find a career in that very specific field, they’re screwed. Or worse off, when they do find a career as an auditor or accountant, they realize they hate what they’re doing. Yet, their majors gave them such a narrow field of study that they’re forced to choose between going back to school to do something they enjoy or living with doing something they hate.
American University is a liberal arts college—it isn’t particularly known for the Kogod School of Business or the Non-Existent School of Engineering. In the Princeton Review this year, AU earned a spot in the top 300 business schools, which is nice but not particularly noteworthy. What AU is known for is the School of International Service, the largest international service school in the US. At SIS you can get your masters in “International Peace and Conflict Resolution”—what a totally tangible skill-set.
Instead of starting a fight of “my major is better/more useful/more profitable than yours nahnahnahnah” I found another article about how to put your “useless” degree to use. It has seven ways to take your poly-sci, philosophy or (ahem) communications degree and make it more marketable to employers post-graduation. My favorite? Wield your liberal arts brain like a weapon – an expensive, classically educated weapon.