Guest Column: All college degrees have a purpose

Mariah Webb

Last week, Yahoo Education released a story titled, “College Majors That Are Useless.” I have seen many similar lists based on salary and expected job openings.

I was not particularly surprised by the majors this list named (horticulture, animal science, theater, fashion design and agriculture).

However, something about this article got students on Facebook really fired up.

Perhaps it was the use of the word “useless” in the title. Useless? Surely Yahoo isn’t endorsing the notion that any college degree can be useless?

It can’t be denied that certain areas of expertise yield a higher pay rate than others, but to have a degree of any kind is not only recommended to the Millennial Generation, it also is becoming increasingly necessary.

I could easily produce a lengthy explanation as to why any of the majors Yahoo listed supply a number of tools usable in any workforce, but I won’t insult your intelligence. Any reasonable individual can deduce that a degree in animal sciences could assist with everyday life in a number of ways.

No, this argument is shallow, and it does not accurately represent the message I wish to send. A diploma is a diploma, and no matter what the degree is in, the graduate will have obtained skills usable in many environments.

The offense lies not in the idea that any given degree is less practical than another. This is simply a fact. For instance, everything about acting is impractical, but that is arguably a reason to delight in it. This brings me to my point. I believe that practicality is far less urgent than the happiness obtained from chasing your passion. In other words, do you really want to drag yourself to classes you hate in preparation for a job you will despise?

It is hard for many of us to consider placing happiness over frugality. There are times when I wonder if they are one and the same.

Money and employment have been presented as absolute top priorities our entire lives. Many of us have watched our parents put in extra hours to keep the water running, and yeah, being hungry isn’t exactly an awesome sensation. Money is comfortable. Most of us are not used to being without money, and such a state would cause discomfort. You would be lying to yourself if you expect to become an instant success at anything, especially in a highly competitive field like acting.

I’m not a mystic. I don’t believe in callings. I do, however, believe that everyone was born with a biological aptitude for success in a certain field. Call it what you will, but these talents help define us. They make us the beautifully distinct creatures we are. To deny yourself the chance to live passionately because “it‘s not practical” is tragic. Have faith in yourself. Even if you don’t, believe that your biology doesn’t lie.

Lose yourself in what you love, and remember that no degree is useless.

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