Humanities are important for life

Sofie Salcedo, Staff Writer

In today’s STEM-driven world (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), it’s not unusual to hear arguments advocating for the replacement of traditional humanities courses with more “career-applicable” classes. Many schools now offer computer science in place of a world language credit and do not require students to take four years of social studies. It almost seems safer to skip college altogether than to major in liberal arts. However, though it may not appear so, the necessity for humanities courses is more apparent than ever.

“The humanities, and English in particular, plays a huge role in people’s lives regardless of what they end up doing for a living. They get communication skills [which] are needed no matter what you’re doing,” said Mr. McElvaney, the English department chair.

In any profession, people need to be able to communicate with a boss, coworker or customer. The ability to share ideas and information is essential in the “real world” and is one of many skills fostered by the humanities.

“If you ask businesses what kinds of people they want,” added Mr. McElvaney, “they’re looking for people who are creative, who can communicate, who can collaborate with other people”

Even beyond practical career applications, the humanities provide insight to the inner workings of society and the world as a whole. Mr. McElvaney shared a quote with me that says “STEM courses teach you how to do things and the humanities teach you why.”

“[Humanities courses] give you that deeper, broader view of the world and your place in it,” he elaborated.

“Particularly, literature can help to make people feel that they’re not alone in the universe, that there are others that have similar thoughts and feelings,” said McElvaney.

They teach students to connect to the people and places around them and create new tethers between cultures previously isolated. “On the other side of the coin,” he stated, “it’s just as valuable in the way that literature opens up windows onto other people’s worlds.” Humanities cultivates a new sense of place and evokes empathy in students, two attributes which are admired and envied across all job markets and worldviews.

The humanities, while often overlooked, are evermore important as our world becomes more similar and more connected. They teach valuable skills that students carry throughout their lives, and create create well-rounded individuals that are adequately prepared to brave the world after high school.