Why should you study English? To resist the ideology threatening the pursuit of knowledge.
- Joseph Shoulders
- Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
Our society views education solely as a means to a higher paying job because of the conviction that everything one does must be economically productive. But, is this the purpose of education? Humans are innately curious creatures; we value learning for learning’s sake. All fields of study contribute to this universal desire. Yet, our society values economical outcomes—labeling less profitable fields of study as worthless.
English studies are particularly affected by this stereotype. This notion prevails despite the success English majors have finding jobs, as demonstrated by WKU English Department alumni. However, this economical fulfillment should not be the validation to study English. For, if English majors make, on average, less than STEM majors, does this mean English is worth less than STEM? No, English studies are valuable for many other reasons.
English majors study language and art—the fundamentals of culture and, as some would say, the distinguishers of humanity. In this light, to devalue language and art is to devalue the human condition. Our society shapes and is shaped by these qualities. To understand society, you must understand how it impacts language and art and how they impact society. To impact society, you must understand how to wield language and art. These are precisely the goals of English studies, and these skills are indisputably valuable to intelligence and freedom.
One English major may become a millionaire while another may struggle to pay rent. Both had an equal right to study English. The same right applies to who chooses English over a “more profitable” field. If you wish to study English, enact your right to do so. Resist the limitation of knowledge. #WhyEnglishWednesday