Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ignorance is Your Best Friend.

People really piss me off when they say that a Degree in Communication isn't "useful". And this is coming from people who are actually PURSUING a Degree in Communication. Seriously, why are you even studying it then?

I hate it that there's this perception that pursuing a degree in arts is seen as a lowly, stupid thing to do for people who cannot study and have no idea what to do with their life. It seriously sets me ablaze when people think that because excuse YOU, my grades are just fine and although I don't know EXACTLY what I want to do in life (the specifics I mean, like become a doctor), I have a general idea and I WORK towards that which ultimately is better than having NO idea at all. Besides, I CHOSE to study Communication and Arts as I had interest in it. Not because it seemed like the easiest option available. Because really, when it all boils down, is anything ever easy?

Granted, I can't control what people think but I'll offer a little insight as to what I think. Coming from someone who used to do a double degree- Bachelor of Business and Commerce and Bachelor of Communication, I got a full experience of both courses. And if you ask me, both are equally useful, though in different ways.

With the Bachelor of Business and Commerce, I suppose one could say that it was more applicable directly in life in that, you could apply whatever you learnt straight from the textbooks, in real life. But the thing with Business is that it's really generic (at least for me it was). It felt like an extension of high school- where you're spoon fed with information, you memorize and you regurgitate it for exams. Even for assignments, I felt like for the business subjects... they had a formula you know? Like if you just applied the formula, you'd definitely score. Your examples and the way you apply the formula can be different, but ultimately there IS a formula and you have to do it EXACTLY the way your lecturers/ tutors want to score. It's easier in that sense because everything is sort of laid out for you and all you have to do is follow it. Plus the lecturers were never as interesting as the Arts lectures.

With the Arts subjects, I personally feel that it requires a lot of thought. While what you learn is probably not directly applicable in life, I think it's indirectly applicable. Whenever I do my readings for the Arts, it always makes me think. It makes me think about things that are so mundane and normal in everyday life that we sometimes forget that they're there or we take forgranted their existance and how they came to be. Take for example language, what I'm writing in my blog right now and communicating to you guys- it's a social construct, it's not innate and it's learned. How many of us would have considered that normally? Basically, everything is constructed. There are no absolute truths in black and white, just different versions of what happened when different people recount them due to different intepretations. So, what is reality? Is anything real in that sense?

See what I mean? One thought can lead to so many others, it really gets your brain whirring. And I'll admit it, my brain was SO rusty before this, it's not even funny. Blame the Malaysian education system of supressing questions and curiousity. Plus the discussions in tutorials are always so much more engaging and thought provoking in Arts which really encourages participation. In the Business subjects, hardly anyone says anything at all. But this may just be a Malaysian occurance la, I don't know about what happens overseas. Maybe when I hop over to Aussieland, I'll take one more business elective (if I still have room for more electives that is), just to see if there's a difference.

Another thing I'd like to point out are the lecturers. Oh the lecturers are SO DIFFERENT in the Business and Arts. I feel that Arts lecturers are more easy-going and friendly and that the distance between us students and them is not so far away. Probably because they treat us all like friends and when we have free time, we can always go to their office just to talk to them about whatever and they'll entertain us. And I may be biased saying this, but they always seem to be much more interesting than Business lecturers. Business lecturers always seemed to be a bit more rigid and strict. And they give off this air, like unless it's something assignment related or exam related, don't go and bother them.

It may be just me, but I feel like I learn more out of the Arts subjects that stays with me compared to the Business ones. For example, if you ask me after a Business exam of all the theories I studied and stuff, I probably can't remember all that much. But if you asked me about the Arts ones, I could probably tell you more. (Like I said, I might be biased coz my interest leans more towards the Arts).

Recently for JRN assignments, a couple of people did the whole Arts vs. Science thing, about how Arts is always looked down upon and seen as inferior. They traced it back to high school, on how we are streamed based on results eg: better results go to science, poorer results go to arts (that's where the biasness starts).

In part, I think that accounts for the biasness but only PARTLY. I think they forget to take into account that Arts in highschool and the Arts we learn in university are completely different. I don't know about you guys, but Arts in my high school meant that you had to take Accounts and Perdagangan and stuff like that which isn't even REAL arts if you think about it. More like commerce. And then's there's Seni which is all about drawing and handicraft and stuff which is fun and all but I don't mean Arts as in art, literally.

And so that's why a lot of people choose to do Science (I did it partly because all the science subjects are in English but the kononnya Arts subjects are all in BM- bad reasoning I know) but also because I felt more of a pull towards the Sciences at the time even though I knew I probably wouldn't be going down the Science road later in life (though I must admit at one point, I did consider pharmacy but soon realized it wasn't for me. Chemistry for the rest of my life weiii. 0_o) Anyway, I think I was always more interested in the Arts anyway which is why I took an extra subject for SPM- English Lit. And I think, that really sealed the deal for my future in Arts. Upon taking those extra classes, I realized just how horrible my thought process was and that I was all rusty and couldn't think on the spot anymore. My critical thinking was like zero. And for that I am thankful. Thankful to Puan Bahiyah, my amazing Eng Lit teacher who restored my love for learning and thankful that I did decide to pursue an extra subject even though it meant spending more money, time and resources for extra classes.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that hey, whatever floats your boat. No course is EVER useless. It just depends on where your interests lie and what you make of your course. As for me, I may have switched to a single degree for now but I do plan to take up the Business degree for my Masters hopefully, because I DO want to know more about the business side of things as it IS useful. (Then again, that may be society's pressure to get a real degree talking. =/) But we'll see how that goes.



Jowee said...

super score! im so glad u talked about this. coming frm someone who takes both business and comm, this really seals the deal that "no it is not useless" . . .

and as u know i agree with everything!!

Adele said...

i find art interesting!!

i would take it . still leaving my options wide wide open!

Shadows said...

Swanny! Agreed. English Lit really lit up my whole mind, which was so stale and mired in rote learning, no thanks to our dear education system. XD I would greatly LOVE to pursue an Arts degree, but my parents do have strong objections. Unless, of course, I manage to get into someplace like Oxbridge or Harvard, which is nigh impossible. *sigh* Life can really be messy, no?

Swan.T said...

Jowee: I know you do babe! <3

Adele: Come, let me tempt to over to the dark side. Take an ARTS degree! It's really fun. Solves your dilemma of deciding which Science degree you wanna choose. Hehe. :D

Yee Ching-y: I'm glad you think so too and thanks for persuading me to take Eng lit back in Form 5. ^_^

Anonymous said...

We’re a group of volunteers and starting a brand new initiative in a community. Your weblog supplied us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvellous work!.