Whether you’re an English major struggling through tomes like The Faerie Queene, or a history student with strong opinions on why Rome really fell from it’s height, there are a few skills that all humanities students share.
You know how to defend your degree
As a student of the arts, you are used to people asking, what are you going to do with that? Fortunately, you are well-versed in debate, and you can out-talk any naysayer who dares besmirch your chosen field of study.
You’re extremely well read
Shakespeare? You’ve read most of his plays and all of his sonnets. Frankenstein? You’ve only studied it in every single English course you’ve taken. In fact, you could name any classic novel and chances are you’ve encountered it at least once. The same goes for paintings and artworks you encountered in all those Art History classes.
You have niche knowledge of obscure things
Maybe you have an extremely well-stocked store of facts about ancient Greece, or you’ve memorized the birthdays of all the Pre-Raphaelite painters. Whatever it is, no one outside of your college seems to have a clue what you’re talking about.
You know the meaning of strange words
Diphthong? Deconstruction? Heteronormativity? Intertextuality? You don’t know when you picked up all these words, but they slip into your everyday speech and leave others baffled by your loquaciousness.
You can write a great paper in less than two hours
It’s a side effect of having all your final exams resemble lengthy essay questions rather than math problems and multiple-choice answers. You probably also get asked by all your friends to edit their papers and check them over for errors. As a result, you’re probably a stellar editor who can pull together an organized essay in a short period of time.
You know there’s more than one correct answer
In the arts, so long as you can support your claim with evidence, it has validity. This is true for life, as well—the world does not consist of multiple choice questions, and sometimes a little creativity can come in handy when coming up with outside-of-the-box answers.
You have citation formats memorized
Whether your field of study uses MLA, APA, Chicago, or even SAA, you have that citation style down. At this point you’ve written so many essays that you hardly have to glance at the Purdue Owl website to check that your Works Cited page is flawlessly formatted.
You can quote theorists and authors in your sleep
You have probably read more Foucault, Aristotle, Marx, and Freud to last a lifetime, and you can quote them all from memory. This is useful because, no matter what class you’re taking, if it’s in the liberal arts, these same faces show up time and time again.
You have all the right skills to prepare you for a future job
Unlike degrees in the STEM field, humanities degrees aren’t as specialized, meaning rather than prepare you for one specific vocation, you gain the skill set for any job you set your sights on. The study of humanities contributes to the earning of so many marketable skills, and all it takes is a little on-the-job training before you’re ready to go! This is the same with any job, and as a humanities student, you have the ability to frame an argument eloquently and express yourself in order to communicate how your degree contributes to your ability to work in a specific occupation.
As humanities students, we are used to being questioned for pursuing what we love. Because of this, these are just a few things we have in common.
Featured image from Ben White on Unsplash