Don’t listen to all those grumpy science-types that claim humanities subjects are a waste of time...
Students from humanities backgrounds often get a bad rap from the government and in the press, regularly being viewed as less valuable to employers than those from a scientific or mathematical discipline.
For anyone who's just spent the last three years pulling all-nighters in the library while attempting to translate medieval literature, untangle complex philosophical theories or find innate meaning in postmodern art, this can feel like a real kick in the teeth. But there are numerous reasons why talented students should continue to study a humanities subject at postgraduate level. Here are some of them...
They teach you to communicate
While scientific disciplines have traditionally been viewed as ‘black and white’ subjects where you’re either right or wrong with no margin for error, humanities teach the individual to think carefully about how they communicate their answer in order to achieve the greatest chance of success. Knowing how to communicate like a pro in our modern world – where everyone’s vying for their voice to be heard in the crowded digital landscape of social media – is more important than ever.
What’s more, if you’re an expert at getting your point across concisely and with impact, you’re much more likely to be successful when it comes to applying for jobs. Employers with piles of CVs and cover letters to sift through can be impatient, so your knack for the written word gives you a big advantage in winning them over.
They make you a more interesting person
Have you ever been stuck in a conversation with a person who can’t stop returning to the same uninteresting topics? People like this haven’t examined enough of the world to form a point of view on different aspects of life. As a consequence, they’re left rehashing ideas on subjects that are riveting to them and a small percentage of their peers, but which bore the rest of us half to death.
When you study a humanities subject, you experience a wide variety of approaches, attitudes and ideologies to the most affecting and universal aspects of the human experience. You might be analysing metaphors of alienation and entrapment in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis one minute and celebrating the childlike escapism of Roald Dahl stories the next. Humanities students therefore learn never to get stuck in one place; to constantly find meaning and purpose in every aspect of life is an enriching and fulfilling pursuit, and one that makes you an exciting person to be around.
They challenge you to think outside the box
The world needs more open-minded people. If you’re able to look past the ordinary and think of new ways to overcome society’s most pressing challenges, you’re an asset to civilisation.
Studying a humanities subject gives you the ability to think creatively around issues and approach problems from more than one angle. That’s essential for innovation, and if there’s one thing modern businesses love, it’s innovation. Even top science institutes could use an extra dose of creativity to help them find new solutions to age-old problems. So don’t assume that by studying a humanities subject over a scientific discipline you’re closing doors to the most important jobs – equip yourself with the right creative toolset, and you’ll have the foundation required to think your way around almost any problem.
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