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History Majors…. Critical Thinking Still Valued?

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La Times backs the idea that History Majors are not a useless major.  There are lots of ways to use a history degree.  It is not all about learning names, dates and major events.  You have to analyze all sorts of information and sort through the bad information to find the quality information.  Granite, jobs in the history field are on the decline since the recession, history majors are more than qualified to do many jobs.  History majors poses the ability to use critical thinking.  

When I was in school we had a joke about business majors.  That they were getting a degree in tream work, slide shows and counting to 10.  With a business degree you needed groups to track a market trend or whatever and make a slide show.  With a degree in history we could give you that with one person and give you sources and were the trend was going and the target demographic and have original research that we could do on our own.  Almost anyone can put up a graph and say here! look! Look! . It takes a certain kind of logic to analyze the data and know why it is that way and make predictions. 

People with a degree in history tend to be fiercely independent.  We take pride in our work. As do many professions, but it seems like history gets knocked around as an unneeded major. History is one of the few where you can stand out and say you wrote this or worked on this project. One of the nice things about history is that it is multi facited.  They can understand politics how they evolve in the past and currently. Historians can be a great asset for governments needing a cultural advisor at an embassy or even just for an HR department.  Who better than someone that studied and experience it it first hand.

Part of the problem maybe the economy and the education system are out of sync. There become bubbles in certain degree fields much like the housing market. Eventually, the bubble pops.  Many people want to major in subjects that will pay well, which makes sense.  But, there was a time in IT degrees were a dime a dozen.  When one person was making to much money or was underbid for a project they could be replaced without much thought.  You would have to also keep up on certifications and new programs to keep relivent.  Yes, technology is a growing field, but most people are going for website design or security.  Fewer people are going into the areas that need it. The ones that do it can be difficult to get those jobs. With IT it is less critical thinking and more creativity and patience.  

With a degree or masters in business there is not much to make yourself to stand out from the other twenty people with the same degree from similar schools. With many people becoming managers, supervisor or business owners. With a business degree you do not need to be able to think for yourself. You just have to regurgitate data, often times without always knowing why sales are up or down other than a marketing pitch. But to truly understand the data you need people to analyze it for them. 

Another problem with the economy and education is the medical field.  It makes sense to have standards to make sure we get the best and brightest. But if they only allow x amount of students into medical school or nursing school it creates a shortage.  Where when you have a surplus of people it makes jobs the degree almost worthless.

At the end of the day critical thinking is still needed in society. People seem to be losing this skill and it is a skill we as a people can not afford to lose.

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