Rationalizing career choices: Deconstructing the stereotypes about humanities stream

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The world has produced numerous critical and sophisticated thinkers since time immemorial who have immensely contributed to or were themselves a part of the humanities, but that doesn’t seem enough to sow the seed of it being a nice study background in the minds of Indian parents. Humanities comprises a wide range of subjects including literature, performing arts, religion, history, anthropology, sociology, law, philosophy, etc. that make use of interpretation, comparison, criticism, and reason to study human and societal belief systems, ideologies, and culture. Humanities subjects may rely on empirical and practical researchers or theoretical and critical approaches; however, none of them provide a pathway for those who are less gifted to study STEM courses.Moreover, the myth of humanities being an unsuitable career option can only be busted when more and more students pursue careers in this field, proving otherwise. Nonetheless, what is it that makes it a good career option?

Because art is a creative act, and humanities is concerned with humans or whatever belongs to him, how come its significance is not felt when a person is a member of a human society?Humanities are not less intellectual because they are not empirical or practical.It’s perhaps quite unreasonable to think that it’s not a good career option just because the country lacks employment. Lack of employment can also be seen in STEM courses; however, these courses are usually expensive, which makes people believe greatly in the success of those pursuing careers in these fields. Furthermore, the failure of arts graduates is attributed to the impracticality of their subjects, whereas the failure of STEM graduates is said to be a cause of unemployment. Such attitude towards arts graduates results in a psychological tendency called the “Pygmalion effect,” which causes their performance to decrease because of lower expectations from society, thus becoming a cause of their failure.

A U.P. board analysis of the stream of intermediate students reveals that in 2015, 48.45% of students registered in the arts stream, while only 46.24% were from a science background. Conversely, in 2022, 58% of the total candidates registered in the science stream, while only 46% took humanities as a subject. 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018 also saw fewer students in arts and more in science. The survey, “India’s Future in Next-Generation Tech and STEM,” found 57% of girls and 85% of boys to be interested in pursuing STEM as a career. A survey by UNESCO reveals that India saw 32% of students pick STEM in 2018, while in the year 2016, India was the global leader in university graduates with 78.0 million graduates. As a result of technological advancements and societal pressure to conform to norms, the contribution of students in the humanities has decreased in recent years.Growth in technology might seem to lower the chances of success in the humanities; however, that is not the case. With more students enrolling themselves in STEM courses, the competition has increased, which has lowered the chances of success in these areas. Humanities, on the other hand, gives innumerable opportunities with a thousand career options to choose from, which again increases the chances of a person being successful. Technology has also brought with it more career opportunities, such as online content writing, online journalism, online teaching, online counseling, and so on, all of which offer high-paying packages; however, this can only happen if these subjects are not taken lightly but are studied thoroughly, disregarding the stereotypes that circulate in society.Therefore, hard work pays off in any field.

It is perhaps worthwhile to consider how most of the great CEOs, businessmen, and entrepreneurs who are from arts backgrounds, such as Jack Ma, Susan Wojcicki, Howard Schultz, Oprah Winfrey, and many more, have secured themselves a high position in the world. They saw the world differently, understood human nature, and produced novel and creative ideas in order to be successful. This vividly reveals how advantageous it could be to be acquainted with the ways of society, the behaviour and nature of man, the mistakes of the past, the great ideas of great minds, and the beliefs of great philosophers. Therefore, a study in the humanities develops insight, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, management skills, and the ability to work independently as well as in teams.

There is no basis to compare the two fields because their approaches differ greatly, but both can contribute significantly to humanity when their significance is recognised and resources are distributed equally.Similarly, the differences in the two fields make it suitable for individuals with one type of personality and brain function more than the other.

Therefore, people can only stand out when they embrace their differences and utilise them without blindly trusting or being deceived by society. “Don’t let the muggles get you down,” J.K. Rowling says.

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