… I went through the liberal arts tag for tumblr to mainly see how life in a liberal arts university was different from a research university. Of course there were debates about if a liberal arts degree was better than a science/math/engineering degree and here are some precious gems that I found:
“Steve Jobs taught the world that good engineering is important but that what matters the most is good design.”
Design without function is useless. Design is only there so the product sells. I would expect FUNCTION would be the most important thing, but I guess not.
“You can teach artists how to use software and graphics tools, but it’s much harder to turn engineers into artists.”
What. No. Just stop insulting my intelligence. First of all, what is your definition of an artist? Technical degrees see the world differently than liberal arts majors, but it doesn’t mean they can’t overlap. I was always interested in video editing and graphic design and am always excited to play with photoshop. Actually, my roommate at the moment is working really hard to make GUIs in photoshop which have to be very aesthetic, and guess the fucking what, they’re sexy as fuck. One of my other friends is a Mechanical Engineering major, loves to create art in her spare time. These are just the top examples that come into my head. Don’t dare fucking tell me I can never be an artist when all the artists I know say I can if I put in effort. WHAT ABOUT FRACTAL ART. We find art in almost EVERYTHING. Also, engineering is definitely more than just using software and graphics tools.
“[The author is telling liberal arts students to help]…team up with the hard-core engineers who develop the clunky, inelegant, over-engineered products that Bill is famous for; maybe work with Steve to create the next iPhone or iPad.”
Okay, just because Macs are known for their aesthetic and their general easiness to use does not make PCs overengineered and clunky. Early Macs were clunky. Personally, I hate typing on Mac keyboards because it slows me the fuck down. I have used both Macs and PCs for research and each has their own strengths and weaknesses. That being said, I will almost always choose PC over Macs because I can customize a lot of stuff to have it that way I want it. As far as I’ve seen, almost all Macs look the same to me. Pretty but the same. Yes. Apple does have many, many good innovations, mainly because of their GUI design and the overall design of the product. But you know what? other companies have kept up without the emphasis on liberal arts degrees. Again, one thing that I learned being a Biomedical engineering major is that design matters to sell. Design is also important for function. Doing BME research last semester and this semester has taught me that engineers/mathematicians/scientists have to think outside the box too. Take quantum physics and tell me that technical degree holders just memorize everything and are just robots.
“So with all due respect to Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, and President Obama: Science, technology, engineering, and math are not the future. Or more precisely, they’re not enough. Workers at every level benefit from an education that emphasizes creative thinking, communication, and teamwork—the very kind of excellence already offered at top American colleges. Once in the workforce, the U.S. should take a leaf from the Indians, and steadily train and update practical and technical skills. Indian workers, meanwhile, could stand to take a few lessons from the U.S. “The irony is that in India it takes engineers two to three years to recover from the damage of the education system,” says Wadhwa, who believes that engineers require real-world experience and training before they can excel at complex work such as R&D. “They’re used to rote memorization.” Our education system has plenty of critics; I’ve been one of them. But when facing the mercurial demands of today’s job market, it seems there’s still a profound need for the social, discursive, American liberal-arts model at its best. Which may explain why 100,000 Indians are currently studying in the U.S. One of them is Murthy’s elder son, who just started his freshman year at UC Berkeley.”
Okay, having parents that have gotten their degrees in India: what a fucking insult. The problem with Indian education is that many students use their money and power to get their grades and jobs. THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY IT SEEMS LIKE THEY NEED TO “RECOVER”. Maybe their lack in skill of communication comes from that they’re are indeed from a foreign country and need 2 to 3 years to learn our fucking language. Yes, Indian education is not that great. Yes, American colleges are more desirable to get a degree and that’s why many of them come over to learn. This has nothing to do with getting an engineering degree. Why are we always painted as having no communication skills, lacking creative thought, and not being able to work in teams? I don’t understand this at all because you can’t engineer without creative thought. You can’t work out problems without communication and teamwork. The introduction to BME class I had to take was focused on meeting people in my major and learning to do a big ass project together. Yes, some of the engineering professors I have met are socially awkward, but they still help me would during office hours and talk to me like a normal human being. They have to fill out grants, go to conferences, talk to students, etc. You can not succeed in engineering without these skills so why are we ALWAYS stereotyped as having none of them? My dad received his B.S. and M.S. in physics in India, and his PhD in America. He is the most adaptable person I have ever met. Not only does he help me understand my science and math subjects, but also my liberal arts subjects as well. He loves music and sings and plays instruments in his spare time. He and my mom read different types of literature whenever they get the chance. And they have to communicate for their jobs EVERY DAY. No one ever talks about how hard some engineering concepts are to grasp, how a lot of the time the students have to get together to learn what exactly was taught in class, how you have to learn to view situation differently to understand different fields to they can combine into the understanding of how life works. Nobody and it’s sad.
“America is not India or China or Japan and we never will be. Liberal arts majors embody what America is as a whole as they display freedom through anything and everything they do in relation to their profession.”
Okay kids, what is one thing America known for? It’s military poweress. How did we get that? FUCKING ENGINEERING, MATH, AND SCIENCE. Let’s not forget Hollywood and the media which spreads our freedom loving image across the globe, which couldn’t be done without engineering, math, and science. I can go on and on. I am not saying technical degrees are better, we need liberal arts degrees and trust me, I am in no shape to do that. I respect my friends that are getting liberal arts degrees. But one of the reasons why America and keeping an eye on China and India is because they do produce many technical science majors. Who are then either coming over to work here or getting sick of US’s sucky immigration policies and starting up their own company elsewhere. Here, many of the liberal arts majors just bash on science and math without realizing their importance. You can’t expect to gain respect from other majors while always bashing them. I can’t tell you how many times someone made a snide comment on how I’m a biomedical engineering major. Stuff like, “Oh that sounds sooooo hard” or “Oh wow long name. I’m just studying English”. That’s the name of my major. It’s named that for a reason so fuck off. I hate being treated like an elitist because of the name of my major. I hate not being able to say my classes are hard because “I got myself into it”. I hate people telling me that my classes will only be used in my specific field when my major perfectly goes with the the mindset I have on life, the universe, EVERYTHING. I dabble in liberal arts in my spare time, but for a few exceptions all the liberal arts majors I’ve seen just bash the fields I study without even exploring it.
UGH. Why did I even bother.