Not long ago, the daughter of a friend asked me what she should major in for a career in PR. Without a moment’s hesitation, I said it doesn’t matter as long as you know how to think and how to write. If you can do those two things, you’ll be successful in public relations or for that matter in almost any career.
A blog post by Michelle Singletary in the Washington Post today notes that not all majors are created equal. Her point is that any major without an internship or training more than likely will lead to no job at all. Her post was pegged to an article in the Post a week or so ago about a study that reported the majors with the highest levels of unemployment–architecture was the highest with liberal arts majors not far behind.
Singletary says that young people need to think carefully about what they major in and how much debt they go into to do so. And she is also right about getting experience. But I’d caution against picking a major just because it will get you a job. The world is changing so fast that what’s hot now might not be in five years.
But what never goes out of favor are people who can think and write. These two skills seem to be in short supply these days and they are vital in a knowledge-based economy. In our pursuit of the practical major, our young people may be missing out on a certain intellectual discipline. The valuable things about a college education are learning how to learn for a lifetime, learning how to work and collaborate with different types of people, and exposing and opening the mind up to new things.