Shouldn’t university be about seeking knowledge for its own sake?

There has been some terrible Arts & Humanities bashing of late. Apparently, a degree in one of those subjects won’t get you a job!

I find it incredibly sad.

I might be an old fart now seen as I’ve just passed the 15 year mark since graduating from an undergraduate degree (BSc!), but is that all a degree is about now?

As far back as I can remember, I wanted to do a degree. I’ve always been crap at anything practical, but the one and only thing I was ever good at was retaining knowledge. I wanted to do a degree because I wanted to learn, I wanted to acquire knowledge, and I enjoyed (and still enjoy) it immensely.

I feel that, if you want to know how things work, study science. If you want to know about the world, study A&H. The smartest people I’ve ever known have been philosophy students who can critique and challenge every argument or POV I have. They have a unique way of looking at the world, of disassembling something and building it back up into something new. I wish I could do that.

Even in the current climate, even 15 years since graduating, I still passionately feel that university is about acquiring knowledge, not just in your chosen field, but in several different fields (at least initially in the first year or two).

And, if you still think all of that is bullshit, think of it like this. An analytical/logical way of thinking works well for solving the problems “out there”. A science degree *might* set you up for that (I say *might* because many of the science students I’ve known over the past 20 years have been the stupidest and most illogical people I’ve ever come across, but think themselves “smarter” than everyone else because they are a “scientist”).

But an experiential way of thinking will set you up for a lifetime of good mental health. Although many A&H disciplines also encourage a critical way of thinking (consider your sources!), there is a more common sense or gut intuition about many theories put forward, which indicates a more experiential approach.

And, given the choice between a 100k a year job and good mental health, I know which one I would pick….


Am I talking out of my ass?

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