Divided Interests: Exploring the Humanities as a STEM Major
By Taylor Gibbs
When deciding on a major or what one wants to pursue in the future, we are often tasked with the choice of choosing to go down certain routes. Oftentimes, this means deciding between which interest one wants to delve deeper into humanities or science, art or math, music or engineering. However, as many of us have come to realize, having conflicting interests in terms of what we want to study has led us to have different perspectives on these interests. This is why I am convinced as STEM majors we should all explore the arts and humanities more.
This week, I wanted to help provide opportunities I have found to do just that, including through both academic and non-academic activities.
If you are like me and really want to dive into multiple facets of different subjects, double majoring may be an opportunity that is often brushed off due to the notion that it would require a lot of extra classes. However, as someone who is beginning the process of double majoring in Biology and English, it is more approachable than one may think. Especially if you are earlier into your college experience and came into school with units from things like AP tests or dual enrollment courses, a lot of GE courses and prerequisites that you might not even know about could be covered which means you have more flexibility in your schedule to pursue a second major.
Minors are also a great way to explore humanities and arts fields without having the looming commitment to finishing two entire majors. Typically minors include four or five courses in your chosen field with a lot of flexibility as to what those courses are. An English minor, for instance, requires one lower-division course and four upper-division courses in almost any English class of your choosing. Adding a minor can help you stand out on future applications as they show dedicated interest in different fields which may separate you from other applicants.
Even without adding a second major or a minor, there are a ton of opportunities to explore humanities and arts through which GE courses you take. Built into your degree are GE courses in the arts and humanities. Often, these get brushed off as extra courses that are mildly annoying to take as they do not pertain to your chosen major. However, if students choose their courses based on what interests them rather than what is most convenient, they can be a great way to explore different fields.
Other academic options for exploring humanities and arts include electives, such as music ensembles or art classes, that can help fill in unit requirements for things like scholarships without adding additional studying to your busy schedule. If you were in band or orchestra in high school, music ensembles such as the Symphony Orchestra are great one-unit courses that are welcoming to all majors. Like minors, these electives can also help you to stand out on future applications by showing a range of interests that other applicants may not have while also providing you the opportunity to explore other interests and get credit for them.
On the other hand, if you do not want to add the additional commitment to an academic-based activity, there are a lot of opportunities outside of SDSU to explore arts and humanities. These opportunities cover a wide range of fields and can even help to gain experiences for your resume, such as through volunteering for different organizations in your field of interest or joining clubs.
Regardless of how you do it, I encourage all of you to explore the humanities and arts more. Whether to help build your resume, improve your critical thinking skills, or simply because you enjoy them, the arts and humanities are too often underappreciated by those in STEM fields and should be participated in more.