Screw the Haters, Your Arts and Humanities Degree Isn’t Worthless

I’d bet money that if you just graduated with an arts and humanities degree without a job or grad school lined up, you’re in the middle of a slight (read: intense) panic right now.

I’d also bet money that you’ve probably stumbled across a handful of articles listing the “15 Worst Majors” or something along those lines, and you’re wondering if it’s a bad sign that both your majors and your minor were on that list.

If you did graduate, you’re probably second-guessing your degree. If you haven’t graduated yet, you might be wondering if it’s too late to change your major, and all because some jerk on the Internet thinks your passions are worthless.

Well, you know what? Screw him (or her). Screw the people who are trying to tell you your dreams won’t come true, who are mocking you by walking up and giving you their coffee order, who are all holier-than-thou because they got a degree in mathematics and their post-graduation job already pays $70K.

Seriously. Screw them and their bad attitude and desire to trample all over you.

Here’s the thing — your dreams are worth it. I’m not going to get into the cost of college or student loans or any of that junk today, but money aside, let me repeat: your dreams are worth it.

If you’re an artist, a creative, a literary or historical buff, someone who thrives in any form of artistic or creative field, your arts and humanities degree was worth. It. 

Speaking from experience as someone who’s happiest filling up a blank page with words, you wouldn’t be happy as an accountant, a banker, an engineer or a scientist.

You might like making a six-figure salary, but you’ll wake up every morning dreading going into the office and trudging through the next eight (or nine or 10 or 11…) hours.

It might be nice to get envious looks and sighs of admiration every time you tell someone what you do, but if you’re not happy, if you’re not doing the work that you love, the work that makes your soul sing…it’s not worth it.

If you’re someone who’s meant to create, whether that’s poems, novels, art, music or anything along those lines, you won’t be happy computing. If you’re meant to think, about books or philosophy or history, you won’t be happy inputting numbers into a spreadsheet.

You can make all the money in the world, but if, at the end of the day, you’re not happy — it’s not worth it, not even a little.

You know who else followed their dreams of being an artist? Emma Watson. Taylor Swift. J.K. Rowling. Stephen King. James Franco. I could cite a hundred more names of people who didn’t listen when naysayers told them their dreams wouldn’t pan out. They said, “screw that” and pursued their dreams and look where they are now?

Now, tough talk: you might not be the next Emma Watson or Stephen King. The world doesn’t have enough room for every creative to be that successful.

But the world definitely has room for you to follow your dreams and make a living. It has room for you to put your degree to use and be happy.

There might be a few months (or years) when you’re doing something else, when you are working at Starbucks or the mall or Pizza Hut. But as long as you keep practicing what you want to do, as long as you get better and better and don’t lose sight of your dreams — you’ll be fine.

More importantly — you’ll be happy. When it’s all said and done, your arts and humanities degree isn’t worthless because it’s what makes you happy, and if you’re not doing what you love, then what are you even doing?