Sometimes when I mention what subjects I study, I hear that I will never use them. How will I ever get a job in Gender Studies? Nobody advertises for a philosopher.
Despite already having a full-time job, that hurts.
Firstly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with studying for pure interest, without the intention of earning money from the qualification. I have colleagues and friends who already have multiple degrees and established careers, but re-enrolled as part-time learners of subjects they love, or who are taking degrees to exercise their minds after having to retire from physical work for health reasons. These are some of the cleverest people I know, and I hate to see their progress dismissed as non-economical.
Secondly, all degrees are used. Yes, I did meet some students, especially during my first degree at 20-21, who went to university solely to find a spouse, or because they were not sure what their life aims were, and that sounds on paper like a waste or abuse of the system. I will freely admit that I also took advantage – when self-employed but not yet earning much, I went to university because a student loan made it possible to escape abuse. I feel bad about that, but would it really be better to sit at home, unemployed or in an unfortunate situation, whilst waiting for life to turn around? Why not take that time to learn more about a fascinating subject, and gain transferable skills along the way? Knowing how to research, think critically, skim-read and close-read, manage one’s time, write coherently, and reference correctly are skills that can help is several jobs as well as in volunteering positions.
But returning to my specific subjects – as a working student, I am already being asked to use animal ethics to consider the language used on a vegan website, and just today I was asked to design a workshop on feminist pedagogy in online education. Useless degrees? I think not!
Study what YOU want, and something will definitely come of it.