I declared an art minor this semester, and I would suggest it to all science majors on this campus.
When I was five, I knew exactly what I wanted to be: an engineer. I loved Tetris, and I often built complex Lego creations (at least for a five-year-old) in my spare time.
Engineering seemed like the home for me, a kid who would rather design new airplanes than play sports ball. Ah, science is the place for thinker’s, right?
This would go hand and hand with what most people think of science majors. Cue confused lady meme, and all of a sudden we are introduced to a very image friendly view of science majors.
Let’s break that trance, though, because this is not how my classes are. Things are visual in the sense that my math professors usually are unable to draw their concepts, especially when they are four-dimensional or extremely abstract without the aid of computer software that costs thousands of dollars.
Engineering is this — cheat sheets and cramming formulas. You draw a picture only when asked or if you feel like you have the time. Also, engineering students are normal people, most of us can’t draw to save our lives.
So art be damned.
Of course, it isn’t our faults for assuming engineering would be like this. I personally curse the names of Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci and the more recent Elon Musk. Their unrealistic representation of everyday life for engineering students is heartbreaking.
Forget, of course, that many engineering jobs are about as interesting as filing taxes. No, I don’t want to listen to vibration-induced resonance through steel for eight hours looking for defects.
So, is there no hope? Are creative engineering students doomed to lose creativity and become bland? Don’t we all want to be the future Batman of the world instead of Steve from quality control?
Enter the fabulous art minor, a place for creativity. Also, a totally acceptable place to doodle on your exams.
This isn’t just my opinion either. When Harvard initially started offering the equivalent to minors in 2007, The Harvard Crimson responded with an article titled, “Minors, At Last.”
“Secondary fields are a benefit to students with a keen interest in a subject unaddressed within their concentration. They are an educational opportunity, not an avenue to over-achieve, over-specialize or add another line to one’s résumé at the expense of other interests and electives.”
Or, springboarding off that thought …
“Alternately, a minor can be used to achieve a well-rounded, broadened course of study that allows students to cultivate interests separate from their declared major.”
Or a piece from Stanford University that later on tells you “to provide balance to your course of study (e.g. pairing a humanities minor with a science major).”
So how are we doing that here at NDSU?
We force all students to take English 120. But how else is one supposed to massage that creative brain that they might possess?
Well, get a minor you math genius. Take it as an opportunity to study something you perhaps may not have the time to study in your career field. Use minors as a way to find new friends and like-minded individuals. Use this opportunity to broaden yourself; use this chance to live out your childhood dreams of creating things from scratch.
This is why I pursue a minor.