Degree of relevance
At our university, there is often an attitude among students that the degree they are going into is the one degree that makes sense in the world. My friend who recently graduated from Physics often likes to champion science while belittling the work the liberal arts students do, while my friend in Ceramics likes to suggest that business students are uncultured and isolated, while my other friend … well, you get the picture.
I am as guilty of it as anyone. I like to tout the importance of my own degree and other degrees like it, and this sometimes comes at the expense of other degrees that are offered at the university. I think History is incredibly important, but I am sure many people find it boring and irrelevant to society.
However, this dismissal of others’ work is a poor attitude to take in regards to higher education. All branches of education are important and valuable in the world, and the divisive “my degree is more relevant than your degree” narrative is damaging to society as a whole. It ignores the fact that every person occupies a specific and important role in society. It ignores the value of opinions and points of view that are not our own.
I am not suggesting that everyone becomes liberal-arts majors and give up on business and engineering and live in a happy little commune down by the river, for a swing of the pendulum back towards a Liberal Arts education as the be-all and end-all will place people in the exact same situation as now. What I am suggesting is that elevating one branch of learning above another is a ridiculous strategy if we, as students, want to become relevant to society as a whole. There is value in knowing about business. There is value in knowing about culture. There is value in finding ways to effectively communicate with each other. The idea should not be to suggest that one degree is more relevant than another, but to suggest that all degrees are relevant and valuable to creating a well-rounded society. A world with entire segments of society missing is not going to work out very well.
Every degree is relevant. We do not have a society without art, but neither do we have a society without literature, without business skills, without engineering feats, or without any of the other varied things that we can learn at the University of Regina. Rather than placing a hierarchy on the various elements of society, we should be encouraging a diversity of different degrees and engaging people from other faculties.
We should view the world as a social tapestry, not as a social thread. It is a huge tapestry in which everyone can and does find a place to contribute to the overall picture. Suggesting that certain threads are more relevant or important than others is ridiculous, because without a variety of threads, a tapestry falls apart. We should work together to create a tapestry that we can all fit into.