Growing up in Silicon Valley, I was taught to believe that there are only a few fields that you can enter into to become successful: STEM, business, law, or medicine. Every parent or adult I knew was in one of these fields; they were undoubtedly the standard for living in Silicon Valley.
Pursuing a Communications degree, I have always felt like an outsider at home. When I return for break and am talking with family-friends, they never fail to ask me what I’m studying. When I respond “communications,” they either immediately lose interest in our conversation or give me poorly-veiled looks of disapproval.
While I have loved Tulane for lacking the competitive and narrow-minded culture of Silicon Valley, I still do feel alienated for pursuing a liberal arts degree on campus. I have overheard multiple people calling my major “stupid” or “worthless.” People are always asking me what type of job I intend to have with a communications degree. Moreover, there is an apparent stereotype that communications students lack substance or are unintelligent women who do not care about academics.
I have both substance and intelligence. I do care about academics and always put school as my top priority. I have the same motivation and drive as that of a pre-law or pre-med student, so why am I labeled as lesser-than because of my field of study?
I can genuinely say that my time at Tulane has been the most enriching experience of my life so far. I not only like attending my major classes but also continue to think about and share the concepts that I have explored within my studies. The ability to learn and also figure out one’s interests and passions is why people go to college, and I have found both of those things in my communications courses. People always say that you should pursue a career in a field you’re excited about, and I think that the field of communications offers a wide variety of possibilities, all of which I cannot wait to explore.
There is an assumption that those who pursue a degree in Liberal Arts will end up broke after college. Sure, a writer may not make as much money as a surgeon or software engineer. However, I desire a career that makes me excited to wake up in the morning and lacks predictability. I want to live a life of creativity and endless possibilities, and I want to feel free to explore both my professional and personal interests without a restraining feeling of structure.
The notion that I will not have a successful life because of my degree only challenges me to work harder and redefine notions of success. Success should not be limited to a certain career or how much money you make. Ultimately, if you clearly set up your ambitions, put your knowledge to good use, and challenge yourself to new things, you will be successful.
Cover Photo: Hannah Leibovich