Why You Should Major in the Humanities

Every morning I wake up and the thrilling thought goes through my mind: I am living in South Korea. While it was a long and winding road that brought me here, I know that the underlying factor that ultimately landed me in Jinju is the fact that I chose to major in something I loved, despite the constant questioning and criticism of pursuing a discipline in the humanities.

After working in admissions for the past year before moving to South Korea, I can state with confidence that there is little regard for following one’s passion, and high regard for only pursuing money. Yet to only study something because you know it will result in a high paycheck, even if it comes at the expense of your happiness will have lasting consequences. In my four years as a student and my year as an admissions counselor I met so many people who would have been better off studying something within the humanities, but chose to pursue a career in the medical field or a STEM profession because they were led to believe there were no job prospects within the arts and humanities. Even in reading news articles about higher education I find this attitude littering the comment section. But I am here to say with confidence, if you love the arts and you love humanities, don’t let that go, pursue that.

The world needs people in the humanities, because these people, by nature of their studies, understand what it means to be human. Without the understanding that at our core we are all human and all one, my journey to South Korea would look drastically different. In fact, it may not have happened at all. Even in my brief interactions with the students in level testing I could feel the desire to understand–to understand me, and for me to understand them. That desire is present in all of us–but it is in pursuing the arts and humanities that allows us to nurture that desire and satisfy the longing to connect with the world around us.

So if you are someone who, like me, cannot quiet that voice inside of you that longs to understand the people around you, to understand what it is that makes us all human, study the humanities. Despite the well-bolstered narrative that you will not find a job or you will be working for a fast food chain, there are endless possibilities out there for someone like you. You may just have to search a little harder than others, because a job post isn’t just going to jump out at you and say “ENGLISH MAJORS WANTED.” Instead, you will find your place as a content writer, editor, social services provider, media coordinator, admissions counselor, resident director, engagement analyst, event planner, year of service volunteer, public service representative, or maybe even as an English as a foreign language teacher halfway around the world.

Goodbye to you, MU

Perhaps one of the hardest parts of leaving my job as an admissions counselor at my alma mater was the realization that I was not just leaving a job, but a place I cared about and felt deeply attached to. Now, don’t get me wrong, I definitely felt out of place living in Northeast Pennsylvania, but MU was my home for nearly five years. Those five years were filled with laughter, love, tears, friendship, heartbreak, stress, and accomplishments that formed me into the young woman that I am. So when it came time to finally say goodbye in order to move on to a new job in South Korea, I was full of conflicting emotions– excitement for the future, and sadness for what I would be leaving behind.IMG_6052

I spent days writing goodbye cards to everyone at the university who had a positive impact on me. Some were easier to write than others. Some resulted in me sobbing in my office. But I knew that the hardest goodbyes were not really goodbye, but see you later. Cliche, I know, but cliches serve their purpose, and in this case their purpose is to make a transition easier.

Working as an admissions counselor, representing a place I loved so much, was a wonderful experience. The people I worked with helped me to grow as a professional and as a person. I am so grateful that I had to opportunity to give back to a place I love, and I put my heart into every interaction I had with a prospective student. I hope that the students I helped bring into the university love it as much as I do, and I hope that they are able to build the same impactful relationships I have.

It feels strange to be moving on to my second career at the age of 23, but it also feels incredibly right. My life in NEPA felt too small, too restrictive, like a pair of jeans that no longer fit. When you no longer fit in a place, trust your gut, and take a leap. Saying goodbye is never easy, but if you wait until you are ready, you’ll never go.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: 2017

I began 2017 with high hopes that it would finally be my year. I was going to graduate college, hopefully find a job I love, reclaim my personal fitness, and cultivate loving and nurturing relationships. After the whirlwind year I had in 2016, I truly believed the only way to go was up.

2016 had not been good to me. Between health problems and eight months of intense fighting before ending a long-term relationship over infidelity, it had been a rough year. Top it off with an overload of upper-level classes and increased responsibilities as a resident assistant, all while battling the demons that come along with declining mental health, and you have the recipe for a complete dumpster fire year. I really have no other way to describe it.

So when 2017 started off with my car breaking down, I felt incredibly resentful. How much more could I handle? Next came the ending of my first “serious” relationship since my break-up: one that I rushed into too quickly, developed feelings too strongly, and projected my subconscious desire to be the other half of someone else because it was all I had known for the past three years.

But then it all began an upward swing. I spent an incredible amount of time with friends (hello, Snowpocolypse), dove into my work, and vowed to enjoy my last semester of college. When I finally walked across the stage at graduation decked out in all of my regalia, Summa Cum Laude, I finally realized the culmunation of all I had achieved. I had been an active participant in my education. It was also this moment when I finally realized where my path in life was taking me: Academia. Sure, I wasn’t going to graduate school immediately in the fall, but I would get there, one way or another. It was my passion, my joy, and the thing I always took the most pride in. So when I got hired in higher education three months later, I was overjoyed. Better yet, my job allowed me to travel. I was able to visit cities I had never been to, like Baltimore and Wilmington. I also walked on the beach in early November, feeling completely at peace with where I was.

I also made other huge steps this year. I moved into my own apartment. I switched to my own cell phone plan. I began adopting a vegan diet.

So while 2017 may have been a rough start for me, I believe this year took me exactly where I needed to be. My personal growth has been astounding. The people who have lifted me up over and over again I’m sure have not failed to feel their worth to me. And maybe I can’t talk about a significant other when I attend holiday gatherings, which seems to always be a hot topic at the dinner table, but I can talk about where I see my life going, not just in the next year, but in the next five years. And I couldn’t be more excited to keep traveling down that path.