BA not a path to a McJob

When it comes to finding employment after graduation, arts degrees are sometimes viewed as useless.

However, the faculty of arts at the University of Manitoba set out to let students know that this is not necessarily the case by giving a presentation on Oct. 19, where students could ask questions and gain some direction as to what to do with their bachelor of arts degree once they graduate.

Career advisors and professors presented on the many pros of having a degree in the social sciences or humanities.

Linda Wilson, associate dean in the faculty of arts, explained that there are many directions in which an arts degree can lead, and every course can add to your career and open up many possibilities.

Heather Paterson, an administrative assistant in the faculty of arts, countered the notion that a BA often sends students into the workforce with no training.

“ One of the reasons we held this session was that we wanted arts students not to start off with that perception,” said Paterson.

“I think it goes to show that there are lots of opportunities out there,” said Paterson

David Ness, an associate professor and career counsellor at the U of M, explained that gaining employment and finding a career path largely comes down to knowing what jobs are out there and gaining experience in the field they would like to work in.

“An arts degree can be incredibly useful, effective education for any student, as long as they think about what they want to do with the degree, and they engage in some planning to augment the education and the experiences,” explained Ness.

“You can find people in any education program that struggle to find work, and you can find people in any program that do well as well.”

At the end of the presentation, some students felt that they may have more options that they had originally thought.

Laura Volcano, a student at U of M, said she was unsure of her options at the beginning, but felt more confident in her degree after the presentation.

“When I came here, at first I wasn’t sure what I could do with an arts degree. I was kind of feeling at the beginning like I don’t know anything. [. . . ] I heard a lot of bad stuff about it,” said Volcano.

“[ . . . ] This kind of made me realize that, yeah, there are other options, [ . . . ] and it made me feel motivated to go and figure out more stuff.”