The End of a Stereotype

Soon after the 10th board examinations, students are inflicted with a new set of tensions: what stream to choose for further studies and of course the very much dreaded result of the board examinations. They’d find people who might not have even heard of, calling up to ask about the result and share their own opinions on what they should opt for their higher studies. Most often than not, these opinions are unnecessary than useful.

Their minds are filled with confusion from some people asking then to take medical science, some saying non medical is best and others asking to take up commerce as it has high scope of making good amount of money. While people are busy boasting about the pros of the science and commerce stream, the humanities stream gets overlooked. Humanities is considered a not-so-useful stream which only those students take up who are good-for-nothing and can not score good enough in boards and thus have no other option. Most students, even though interested in the arts subjects, are embarrassed to study the same or are forced to take up something else by their parents and others.

Today’s youth need to understand the importance of arts subjects as they are as any other streams’ subjects and end the stereotype that surrounds us. Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Geography, English, History, Web Application, Political Science, and even Mathematics to some extent, constitute all the major subjects in this stream. With so many variant subject choices, there are a number of career choices as well. Unfortunately, very few people know the benefit of choosing the humanities stream. The stereotype is that you can only become a teacher, that’s the only profession for humanities students.

If you ever visit a school, you’d notice quite a few sections for science and commerce sections in the +2 and maybe one or two sections or none at all for the humanities department. Even if you find a class of humanities, you’d see very few guys because again, it is treated as ‘good for nothing’, girls will be married off anyway, and the boys need to ‘make a living’.

Being an arts student myself I was asked or rather my class was asked by the teachers that how many of us were forced into taking this stream and none of us raised our hands which is very much not surprising. Then we were asked how many of us were forced to take up some other steam and more than half of the class raised their hands. One of my fellow classmate even shared that his father had stopped talking to him as he didn’t choose science instead. The amount of pressure put on students to not study this stream is unimaginable and toxic too. Now, I will try to spread awareness about the career options available in this stream and make one small contribution towards it’s development.

Let’s start off with Political Science – it is a study of how laws are made and the comparative structures of governments across the world. Students learn how public policy is formulated and the impact of policy on the social and economic status of the populace. Thus, it doesn’t necessarily mean students have to get involved in politics or work in politics. Jobs of IAS, IPS and other social services are very respected and well paid. You can also do courses in journalism, mass communication, law, etc.

Psychology is a very recent subject that has come up compared to other subjects and it is often misunderstood. No, it does not teach a person to read others’ minds. It is a scientific study of mental processes, behaviour and experiences in different contexts. Career options regarding psychology are wide ranging. One can become a Psychologist, Counsellor, or a Psychiatrist based on the kind of course one chooses. There are also several branches in each of these options.

English, known to all and studied by all is also a very interesting subject. Apart from becoming a teacher by majoring in this subject, students can also opt for jobs like Editor, Content writer and even do research work! Yes!

Sociology, just like Psychology is a new subject and not known by most of the high school students. It is the systematic study of the society. It covers all the aspects through which society could be and should be studied. It ranges from religion, traditions to crimes and families. Among many careers available some of them are Social Workers, Child Care, Human Research, Substance Abuse Education, Sociological Researcher, etc.

History is a well known subject and needs no introduction. It can be an interesting topic if a student is really into it. Some of the career choices in this subject are Archaeologist, Journalist, Museum Curator, Historian, etc.

Economics and Mathematics are considered subjects of Commerce rather than Humanities but having them as subjects can help if a student plans to get a job that requires basic to advanced math skills. Web Application, too, is a subject which may help in future with technological know-how in future.

Geography being the study of the relationship between people and their environments and the phenomenons that shape the earth falls under the category of natural sciences as well as social sciences. Cartography, Geology, Urban Planning, Environmental Management, Community Development, etc. are available career options for geography majors.

With this, we can learn that even in the new millennium, parents don’t seem to have a favorable opinion on humanities. Things seem to have changed of late, however, given India’s population the number of quality humanities (arts) graduates is very low. Art is as important as anything else we need to live. I would like to end my article with a quote from a movie, Dead Poets Society: “And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

-Udita Pandit (One of the Prize Winners of Article Writing Competition 2020 in the 13-24 Years Age Group)

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