In other posts I share that I majored in English at the University of Florida. I took Speechwriting, Fiction Writing, Poetry Writing, Literature in Science, Internet Literature, and many other ridiculously cool classes. From each of those classes, I learned to write quite beautifully (if I do say so myself) and a few other interesting skills. I am not going to trash English majors. Honestly, I loved my major. I loved the freedom I had to take the classes I wanted, the skills I learned to write in many different contexts, and the brilliant professors that guided me through my collegiate journey. But as graduation approached, I couldn’t help but think “what now?” Toward the end of my journey, I discovered the unfortunate missing link existing in the chain of university liberal arts educations.
What universities are missing is the fact that people go to college to learn skills to make a living. You can talk “career resource centers this” and “career management centers that.” The point is, you can learn how to write, but where do you head from there? In my opinion, universities don’t teach liberal arts students how to use their skills to make money. Although some arts majors are “purists” and would never take courses that might remove “purity” from art, by not offering some level of “How to make money by writing” courses, a large number of students are left stranded with their “useless” degrees.
In every college major poll, liberal arts majors are always missing from lists related to majors “most wanted,” “most valued,” or “most likely to make money from.” And, the reality is universities could do a much better job at ensuring liberal arts students’ success by teaching courses catering to making a living. How easy would it be to add a course “How to write, self-publish, and sell a book?” By the end of that course, students would literally have their own book from which they could make money! Imagine if my “Internet Literature” (aka blogging) class was actually a “How to write a blog that will make you millions” class? Every kid in that class would have sponsorships and a legitimate business while still in school.
I honestly feel blessed to have learned the skills I did in college. And, I truly believe that the skills I learned are needed and valued in the world. I just wish I had learned how to create that value in work through my very expensive education.