Arts & Humanities: Don't Leave College Without Them

and accounting, were more practical and valuable in the real world. Conversely, I came to be- lieve that the soft skills I was learning in my English classes—critical thinking, effective com - munication, and empathy—were more valuable in my day-to-day life. Then I became part of the WE1S ("What Everyone Says About the Humanities" ) team as an undergraduate Research Assistant in the winter of my senior year, and everything changed. No- where have my two disciplines come together more beautifully than in my work in the digital humanities. When I joined the students and the humanities team—working on human subjects research—in January of 2020, I was able to use my experience working in data analytics and statistics to help solve the ongoing problem of tag counting and valuation.

"The 4Humanities WhatEvery1Says research project is col - lecting a corpus of public discourse about the humanities (in newspapers, magazines, blogs, reports intended for the public or legislatures, etc.) and analyzing that corpus with digital text- analysis methods. Our hypothesis is that digital methods can help us learn new things about how media pundits, politicians, business lead- ers, administrators, scholars, students, artists, and others are

and knew I wanted it to be my primary field of study, but I had been told by my parents, teachers, and counselors that it was unwise to pay for a four year degree and “only major in English.” So, knowing I also found Econom - ics interesting, I decided to pursue both. However, even after two years of study, I still had trouble understanding how my two ma- jors were connected. In my experience with academia, the contrast between the two was stark. The Economists I met were constantly trying to justify their field as a “hard” sci - ence, and took offence when associated with entirely “subjective” “soft” subjects like those of the humanities. In classes I was told that “hard” skills, such as statistical analysis

Every time I tell someone I double ma - jored in Economics and English, I receive the same reactions: “Oh wow, what an interesting pairing,” or “Huh. Wow. I wouldn’t have expected those two to go together.” In the simplest terms, the ma- jority of people I engage with have trou- ble understanding how a “soft” humani- ties subject like English can connect with a “hard” social sciences subject like Eco - nomics due to their preconceived under- standings of both fields. In all honesty, when I first started, I too believed that majoring in the humani- ties would not be a wise professional investment. I had always loved English,

actually thinking about the humanities. For example, are there sub-themes beneath the familiar dominant clichés and memes? Are there hidden connections or mismatches between the “frames” (premises, meta- phors, and narratives) of those arguing for and against the humanities? How do different parts of the world or different kinds of speakers compare in the way they think about the humanities? Instead of concentrating on set debates and well-worn arguments, can we exploit new approaches or surprising commonalities to advocate for the humanities in the 21st century?” (for more information, go to


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them


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