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Arts and Letters career?

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fellow Arts and Letters peers,

The worst is over. Wait, who am I kidding?

The Career Fair was only the first step in a series of many that is sure to bring anxiety, confusion, and above all, feelings of hopelessness and despair for all liberal arts majors. Despite constant reassurance from the Career Center and various companies that Arts and Letters majors are actually in very “high demand,” I’m still having trouble alleviating my concerns over my current job prospects, or lack thereof.

One recruiter assured me that, “Yes, of course we hire liberal arts majors. You guys have very valuable skill sets, such as critical thinking and logical reasoning.” Yet once I start talking about the analytical term paper I once wrote regarding the systemic and voluntaristic factors that led to Spain’s first wave of democratic collapse and how this really does add to my abilities as a problem-solver and team player, I can tell he has already zoned out and is secretly hoping that the next student he talks to is majoring in Finance or Computer Programming. To make things worse, the Accounting major standing behind me is impatiently rolling his eyes and tapping his foot as he anxiously waits for his turn to wow the recruiter with his summer experiences as a tax intern.

All of this is not to say that I regret my decision in pursuing a liberal arts education. In fact, there are many perks that come along with being labeled an A & L student: 1) We’re not expected to know math. 2) We never have Friday class. 3) We look cool studying in one of the coveted booths at Waddicks. Furthermore, I would much rather discuss the political effects that Socrates gadfly analogy has had on modern democratic politics than analyze the tax benefits of various organizational structures, or even worse, determine the coefficient of thermal expansion. (Who cares?)

Hopefully, your business or engineering friends are as understanding and accommodating as mine and will also let you sleep on their couch for the next year, maybe two, depending on the economy.

Justina Tong



Sept. 16