Graduations are coming, and some of you may be walking down that long aisle at your university basketball court to get a piece of paper that proclaims you a graduate of the College of Liberal Arts. You’ve grinned and bore it when people made fun of your degree in philosophy because you knew you would figure out the meaning of life. Truth is, you’re not really sure what your dream is, as long as it doesn’t mean sitting behind a desk pushing paper.
But there is hope! That is, if science fiction is any guide. Yes, science fiction may have inspired the astronaut greats, and the cellphone creators, but they are also a inspiration for us types who do their thinking on a less tangible level.
So without further ado, here’s the lists of Liberal Arts majors that aren’t useless in science fiction:
History (Fallen Skies)
The hero-and basically the leader of the rag tag group of humans trying to survive an alien invasion- is Dr. Tom Mason. For the circumstances, that seems pretty legit, right? I mean, medical doctors are pretty smart. They’re also pretty necessary to the survival of the human race because they can patch people up after their guerrilla attacks the six-legged freaks.
Except, he’s totally a Doctor of History.
Oh. Even better. That’s really going to help humanity out with the genocide and mind-control.
Why? Because he’s not just any history professor. He’s a history professor who specializes in the American Revolution. And apparently that makes him a shoe-in for thwarting incredibly powerful alien invaders. I mean, he knows how the Americans thwarted the British, and that’s totally analogous to this space-age situation! Humanity is saved!
That’s right, history majors. You’re the planet’s last hope when aliens decide to harness our children and kill every last living adult.
Linguistics (Stargate SG-1)
Once upon a time I wanted to study Linguistics. When I told people I had started my application for grad school, people asked why I wanted to work at McDonald’s for the rest of my life, and I could only sneer at their naivity. “MacDonald’s? What are you talking about?” I’d scoff. “I’m going through the mother-effing Stargate. Fools.”
Naturally, my friends and family objected to this pretty strongly. They were primarily of this opinion because apparently the Stargate doesn’t exist, but they’re secondary objection was that there were no jobs to be had with such a degree.
And guess what? I still reject that reality, and substitute it with Stargate, if only because it’s far more entertaining to do that than to accept what’s true.
Why? Because according to Stargate, if you have a PhD in linguistics, you can figure ANY language out within a matter of days. Wait. Not days. Hours? Definitely not hours. Minutes? Nope. Try seconds. Now that’s just awesome!
So go forth with your degree in Linguistics and explore the universe.
Psychology (The X-Files)
If The X-Files has taught me anything, it’s that having a base knowledge in psychology means you can profile anything, and therefore solve crimes. Of course, I guess The Profiler taught me that too, but I didn’t obsessively watch that show like I did The X-Files. Best part though, is that psychology is even more useful when you go out solving crimes that have nothing to do with human beings half the time. And! If you’re really lucky, your psychology degree will help you on the career path of getting abducted by aliens and infected with extraterrestrial diseases. Bonus!
The funny thing is, though, just like most psychology majors, Mulder really doesn’t use his degree that often because he’s usually chasing down supernatural shit and trying to disprove science.
That’s right. Psychology majors know what you do and why you do it, but it doesn’t matter, because they can do any job they want and that includes unraveling conspiracy theories.
So good for you, psychology majors! You can officially stop supernatural crime, and piss off the government.
Political Science (Stargate Atlantis)
Frankly, if the Stargate was real and let researchers go through, that place is a Liberal Arts major dream come true. I bet they let Art History through the gate because they can help understand the other cultures through their art by comparing it ours or something like that.
Enter Dr. Weir, who’s talents for brokering peace are better used on faraway planets because we’ve got enough people brokering peace on our own planet apparently.
Anyway, if Stargate Atlantis is to be believed, studying political science is a good way to get off the planet. Notably, the brochures for this should leave out the fact that in doing this, you’ll likely get chased by life-sucking Wraith.
Theater (Galaxy Quest)
Lest we forget that a lot of our science fiction is only possible with the help of actors, there is always Galaxy Quest to remind us that actors can save the day as actors, and not the people they play… kind of.
Galaxy Quest will always be a sci-fi cult classic (that should be watched by everyone who say they love sci-fi), and for good reason. One, it makes fun of everything we love in a playful way, and two, it gives us hope that maybe we too can save the day by knowing an obsessive amount about a television show. Frankly, I’m banking on that. I’ve even put it on my resume.
So, next time you sneer at a Drama major for daring to pursue a dream that isn’t yours, you remember just who saved the adorable Thermians from slavery.
Archaeology (Doctor Who)
If they were to make brochures, it should be “Become and Archaeologist and travel through time!” Sure, people would think it was some sort of metaphor for digging in dirt to find things from the past like broken pots, but if Doctor Who is anything go by (which it obviously is), it literally means go through time.
From now, if I don’t see an pamphlet for Archealogy that doesn’t involve the TARDIS, I’m going to assume the school isn’t legit.
Counseling/Social Work (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Okay. Yes. Is it pretty much impossible that Troi can somehow pinpoint an emotion on one being amongst hundreds of other beings between two ships? Of course it is. But that’s only because you and I don’t have a degree in counseling, or social work, so we don’t know how it’s done. Get a degree in counseling, and you may just be that impossibly bad-ass one day.
Not only that, but Deanna Troi is a counselor who sits on the bridge of the mother-effing flagship of the Federation. That’s how well you can do for yourself as a counselor. I mean, sure, every time she has ever took command of the Enterprise, she’s crashed it, but that doesn’t mean it has to happen to you!
But if you think about it, that’s pretty good credentials: Crashed starship twice, still bad-ass enough to be allowed to command it.
One would like to think that architecture will get you work in the real world, but times have changed and that doesn’t hold true anymore. The good news is that architecture is still a go in the dream world, and I don’t mean while you listlessly look out the window after sending your seventeenth resume that day out into the ether of the internets.
That’s right. Apparently, knowing how to build things according to ordinary rules of structural support makes you eminently qualified to make up architecture that makes no sense at all in a dream in order to steal people’s inner thoughts.
And, if the movie is anything to go by, it pays insanely well. Of course failure seems to be a lot bigger deal than it is in the real world, namely it will cost you your life.
Art (Red Dwarf)
You may think me adding something from Red Dwarf seems like I’m belittling the idea of an art major, if only because the show is supposed to be absurd. I’m not, though! So hear me out.
Lister went to Art College, and look at him! Sure, it’s sort of a fluke that he’s the only surviving human, and he never actually graduated, but he’s living a pretty neat life in space. Plus, he’s is own dad, and he’s totally cool with that. I’m pretty sure only a someone who went to school in the arts would be okay with that.
So, Congratulations on Graduating!
When the engineers and scientists can’t see past their own work, you’ll be there to put it into context! You’ll be the one making it easier for the audience to understand; be it through speaking languages, translating emotions, or just asking questions, you are indispensable!
Be sure to put that on your resume, too.