Arts students deserve more credit

Supplied by Alysha Mohamed
Despite the creativity and perseverance necessary to pursue a degree and career in the arts, Arts students are consistently labelled as less motivated, less driven, and less realistic than their STEM counterparts. 
The tension between STEM and the arts has been present for decades, but the shifting digital landscape of our world has heightened it. There’s a very real demand for science and engineering students in the professional world, and the idea of progress is often equated with large tech companies like Tesla, Apple, and Google. 
However, validating students in STEM while infantilizing students in the arts reveals a cultural inability to place value in what truly connects us as humans. 
History majors understand the nuance of our past and can predict the politics of our future. English majors see the beauty in literature and have the capacity to write novels that stay with us long after we read them. Students in the fine arts can create films, TV shows, and music that will inevitably keep us sane in the face of chaos. 
Art has been, and always will be the heartbeat of our society. 
Moreover, those who label Arts students as lazy and unmotivated fail to recognize the leadership qualities and intellect required to land a career in the field. 
Whereas STEM students often have a clear job correlating with their program, Arts students are required to narrow their interests, gain experience in their field, and find creative methods to advocate for their abilities. There is no clear or linear path to a job, which places the emphasis on students to carve  one for themselves—even if that path doesn’t yet exist. 
Simply put, Arts students deserve more respect.
Placing value in the arts doesn’t discredit the demanding realities of completing a STEM degree. STEM programs are undoubtedly difficult and time-consuming, pushing students to the edge of their intellectual and often emotional capacity. There is no doubt that students in these fields have a fuller and more structured timetable. 
Rather than constantly comparing career paths and forcing them into a hierarchy, our society needs to celebrate the diverse schools of thought created by different programs and recognize the vital importance of the arts in sustaining our humanity. 
We are in an era of rapid technological growth and innovation that is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. Now, more than ever, Arts students are necessary to balance our world and ground us in the spirit of human connection. 
Alysha is a third-year English student and The Journal’s Assistant Arts Editor.

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