In college I chose to double major in Media & Communication and Religion Studies. While I get enough crap about being a ‘comm’ major, and ‘having an easy work load’, ‘not having to try as hard’, or ‘taking the easy way out’ (none of which are true), my Religion Studies major tends to raise more eyebrows.
If you happen to study anthropology, philosophy, history, sociology, or basically anything in the humanities or social sciences, I am sure you have dealt with a similar issue I have: people asking why.
Why would you study that? What can you even do with that? Why didn’t you pick a more practical major?
Recently I even had a friend from high school say, and I quote, “You trolled yourself. You were one of the smartest people in high school and you graduated a troll” because of the major(s) I chose.
Granted, being a jobless recent graduate, I took this criticism very personally. He was right- I didn’t choose a ‘practical major with a set career path’.
But why does that make my major useless? Does getting a high paying job immediately after college mean everything these days? Is that what shows my worth in life? Isn’t there anything else?
So why did I choose my useless major with an ambiguous future?
Because I like learning.
At my part-time job the other day a man asked what I studied in college, and after I told him, for possibly the first time ever, I did not get “…why?” but rather “So you’re an intellectual?”
Nothing felt as good as that compliment.
What majors such as philosophy and religion studies give to a person may not be a set path to a career, but they are not ‘useless’ majors that warrant a ‘why would you study that’?
Religion Studies may not give me specific technical skills to place on my resume, but it opens my mind, it allows me to think, to analyze, to compare, to understand.
Religion studies allowed me to think deeply about the historical, anthropological, philosophical, sociological, and psychological aspects of religious people, cultures, places, beliefs, beginnings, teachings, rituals, and understandings. I did not study religion to become a pastor or a rabbi; I studied it to gain a deeper, more well-rounded understanding of the world and how both explicit and implicit religious meanings has affected its history.
My major has forced me to think, read, and write critically. It has forced me to see things I would otherwise have looked past. It has forced me to learn. What more could I ask for out of an education? I mean, I have skills for my resume-I’m not skill-less, but I also have a mind, and an ability to think.
Further, set paths scare me. This world, my future is open. I can create and follow any path I choose. So if you were a finance major who wants to be a businessman and knows exactly what you need to do to become one- good for you! We need people like you in the world. But I never wanted a set path. I always wanted choice and opportunity. Therefore my majors were perfect for a person such as myself.
And guess what- the world might need you with your understanding of economics, and you with your medical doctorate, and you with your law degree, but the world also needs people like me with my Media & Communication and Religion Studies degrees.
So why did I choose my ‘useless’ major? Because I wanted to learn. I wanted to know. I wanted to think. I love knowledge. I love understanding. I love when my mind is opened and expanded. I love thinking critically. And I didn’t want a set path.
I don’t think that is a bad thing.
P.S. If anyone wants to give me a job, hit a sista up. I have a great personality.