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HS InsiderK-12

One student's take on the STEM vs. humanities debate

 (Phalaen Chang / High School Insider)
(Phalaen Chang / High School Insider)

Phalaen Chang, an incoming junior at California School of the Arts, writes about the importance of both STEM and humanities courses.

Last semester, we had a seemingly simple assignment: research a career you would be interested in pursuing and write an annotated bibliography to go along with the research. As a bunch of teenagers who barely plan past the next test date, many of us were stuck on the very first step: picking a profession.

“Well… on a career test I took, I was told I would best be suited for being a lumberjack,” my friend deeply involved with dance said, confused. “Do I just do mine on a lumberjack then?”

“Mine said I should be a coroner,” my friend who is passionate about drama said. “Not doing that.”

Inevitably, like most others in my grade, both ended up deciding they wanted to pursue something in science, technology, engineering or mathematics — fields known as STEM.

“Only STEM matters anyway,” my classmate said, scoffing as he watched me edit my poem for the umpteenth time that week.

Later that night, I went home and redid my assignment, changing the topic from something in the humanities to neurology. But even after my research, I still could not figure out what was wrong about the humanities and why, it seemed, no one could see the value in it.

Many seemed to think the humanities did not offer the critical skills or opportunities science presents. Parents, concerned that their children would not be able to make ends meet in the future, pushed for more resources in STEM.

California School of the Arts

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