Tuesday, April 24, 2012


a friend of mine posted a picture on twitter showing a graphic the today show ran of the "top five 'useless' majors."  they were:

  1. fine arts
  2. drama and theater arts
  3. film, video & photographic arts
  4. commercial art & graphic design
  5. architecture

trust me, as an architectural intern, trying to make it in this business, and having personally been laid off because of the economy, i know first hand how tough these professions can be.  i, along with most of my friends found humor in this list, thinking, “yeah, if i only knew then what i know now…”.  however the humor wore off and looking at the list more seriously i find it to be…bullshit.

i love architecture, and as hard as it can be to try to make it in the working world, i wouldn’t trade the skills i learned in college for any of those found in “the most useful majors”.  like architecture, all these majors focus on art and creativity. since when did art and creativity become useless?

i say that, but looking around at our society, cities, buildings, television and movies, maybe it’s not that hard of a stretch.

all of these majors, at their root, teach lessons far more important than their names suggest.  first of all, they focus on the ability to make something out of nothing.  be it a building, a musical, a photograph, video, or graphic design, all of these take absolutely nothing and turn into art.  thought, time, knowledge, and creativity, bring that “nothing” into something beautiful.  secondly, all these majors focus on the ability to take a series of problems and challenges, and solve them creatively. whether it’s spatially or graphically, the ability to look at a problem in a variety of directions will always yield a better result than when it isn't.  along with that, the ability to see a problem at its different scales, from the tiniest detail, to the overall picture is something not stressed nearly enough in other majors.  next, all these majors focus on the organization of thoughts and tools to achieve a vision.  knowing when to use what tool when it’s the most beneficial in order to produce the best product.  finally, everyone of these majors requires the ability to communicate ideas.  to take something as abstract as a "thought", and through, speaking, drawing, sketching, dancing, film, video, paint, or plaster, bring that idea into a medium so those less imaginative can understand and relate to it.

i would argue that all of these skills, not only help you in their respected professions, but also help you to achieve a successful and meaningful life.

it could be said “art” is not a necessity, it’s a luxury, something one doesn’t need in order to live, and just maybe that’s why this list of majors was deemed “useless”.  in a world were arts programs are being deleted from schools, and funding is being cut at the state level, it’s not hard to see most people have this opinion. however, as an soon-to-be-architect, and fan of the arts, i believe art is what makes life worth living. 

pablo picasso said, “art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life”.  to state these majors as useless, and possibly discourage anyone from entering into these fields, would not only be a sin, it is admitting you’re prepared to live in a dirty and dusty world.


Anonymous said...

Amen!! As a digital photography major, this list didn't really encourage me. But the world would be a pretty boring place if us "artsy" people weren't in it. What is also amusing is that the segment itself wouldn't have been possible without the help of some of the listed majors...

jeremy001 said...

I think you have an incredible eye for detail and your pictures that you have put together for your blog are just as pretty as the ones you have shown :)

Have a blessed and wonderful day!

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ercwttmn said...

Anonymous - thanks for the comment! you're absolutely right! a lot of people on that list made that segment/graphic possible! good luck with the photography major and thank you for making this world more artsy!

jeremy001 - thank you for the comment and kind words.

Jake Walters said...

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Kevin Sullivan said...

I'm a producer with the Here & Now radio show. We're doing a story next week about internships. Would you be free to talk to me? If so, please email me at:
Kevin Sullivan