No Degree is useless

The stigma and judgment around certain degrees in academia should be challenged

Robin Doyscher, Columnist

There’s a webcomic called “xkcd” by Randall Munroe, in which many insightful political, academic and social jokes are made. My personal favorite is a comic called “Fields Arranged by Purity,” in which Munroe jokes about how various researchers in the natural and social sciences claim that the field adjacent to theirs is just an applied version. “Sociology is just applied psychology,” “biology is just applied chemistry” and so on. At the most “pure” end of the spectrum is mathematicsfor you smug bastards who major in it. (Kidding, mostly!)


I bring this comic up because it’s both a satirical look at the bizarre scientific superiority complex as well as affirming that each field of study is important in its own right.


I’m sure if you major in humanities or social sciences blanket terms that cover such majors as philosophy, languages, the arts, psychology and history – you have probably had the uncomfortable conversation with someone, or perhaps even yourself, where you’ve asked “is this degree truly going to make me money?” I’ve certainly wondered that with my psychology major, and at one point I lamented not being a business or biochemistry major: the majors that make the big bucks in society’s eyes. It’s even reinforced by the societal idiom of college students getting degrees in underwater basket-weaving which, side-note, if you can weave a basket underwater then you are basically an Atlantean superperson.


Well, let me tell you something: Society sucks, and you owe it nothing! I blame our late-stage capitalist hellscape of a country for instilling the idea that we have to be studying a major that “makes money.” What happened to just studying for the sake of knowledge? Any time you spend studying a topic you love and enjoy is time that you’ve put into bettering yourself, and eventually externalizing that positivity back into our world.


Take gender studies for exampleand yes, I know just saying gender studies sends every weirdo neckbeard misogynist within a fifty-mile radius to crawl out of their damp, dank hidey holes. Gender and sexuality studies can help one get jobs in outreach programs, communications, social work, union organization and pretty much any position that requires intimate knowledge on contemporary social issues.

Or English, Literature and Theatre. I know the whole “Western Canon” concept makes us believe that every middle-aged dead guy who wrote sad letters and cheated on their wives have already made the greatest works of art, but there’s still amazing fiction and stories being written today that could end up shaping the world in the future. The next English, Lit or Theatre major could do that.


Not every single job has to be for the sole purpose of inching America ever so close to an Amazon-dominated dystopia where we all slave away in the Bezos’ blood diamond mines and pee in bottles because productivity enforcers stand behind us with cattle prods. STEM students are valuable and important, but so are humanities and social sciences students.


Some jobs are needed to bring understanding and elevation to our culture. Without humanities we wouldn’t have advancements in entertainment. We’d have a stagnant culture. Without social sciences we wouldn’t think more critically of ourselves or the impact we have on the people around us. So the next time anyone judges you for having a useless degree, tell them that this leftist SJW marxist reporter says they’re full of it.