The stigma against liberal arts is counterproductive and just plain wrong – Youth Commentary

Mar. 2, 2020 / By

“Reality Check” comic, by Anabelle Custodio.


The problem with majoring in liberal arts majors is the stigma.

More students are entering STEM as fewer enter the arts and humanities, according to Emsi, a labor market research group. This is because of the assumption that careers in liberal arts are not financially stable or contribute less to society. 

It is this assumption that influences children with creative minds to pursue STEM jobs if they want any chance of having a well-paying job. 

However, there are plenty of reasons why liberal arts majors are as good as any other.

Richard Detweiler, the President of the Great Lakes Colleges Association and founder of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance, found that the average salary for a liberal arts major tends to increase over time, countering the popular belief that majoring in liberal arts will prevent you from having financial security. 

Detweiler also said that liberal arts majors are, “more likely than their counterparts to be leaders, contributors, and more civically engaged,” due to their strengths in skills such as communication and critical thinking.

Many people tend to overlook that there is inherent goodness in majoring in liberal arts.

The creativity of liberal arts creates a balance with the scientific and mathematical thinking of STEM. Like yin and yang, there cannot be one without the other. 

Famous innovators such as Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs understood that technological and scientific innovation will only succeed if you know how to communicate and market your product. For instance, Benjamin Franklin was able to use his career as a newspaper publisher to advertise his inventions, which helped him become one of the most successful innovators in the world.

Similarly, Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., said, “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”

While it’s true that Apple’s products are successful because the technology is powerful, their success wouldn’t be possible without the help of designers and marketers who help market the product to consumers. And where does one get these skills? The arts and humanities.

Liberal arts is the foundation of critical thinking and helps create a balance between the mathematical thinking of STEM majors. While we help innovation take flight, STEM majors make sure to keep us grounded.

Liberal arts is more than just pictures and storybooks. Liberal arts are important to our society.

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Anabelle Custodio

Anabelle is a journalist studying Public Relations at the California State University of Long Beach with the hope of giving representation to underrepresented, marginalized, and disadvantaged communities by informing the public of their struggles as well as the beauty of diversity and tolerance.