Please allow me to start this column by  acknowledging that  there is a possibility  I will someday eat the words  you are about to read.

It will  probably  happen  after I  graduate  this spring  and realize  how ill-prepared I  am for the  real world.  But let me  tell you  this story  of naïveté first.   My dad went to the University of Nevada, Reno back in  the 1970s.

Young, naïve and  full of creative ambition, he  decided to focus his college  career on honing his skills as  a drummer and chose to be a  music major.

Before the last semester  of his senior year, though,  was making plenty of money  playing with various bands,  it seemed that a degree in  music wasn’t necessary to  pursue a career in music.

Then  my brother was born, and it  seemed that his lifestyle of  “working” until 6 a.m. wasn’t  conducive to having a family.  After several years of life as a  professional musician, he went  back to UNR and pursued a  degree in finance.

Now he’s a successful  financial planner who is also  a member of a yacht club,  owns a condo with a view  of San Francisco Bay and  the city skyline, and he has  developed a complex palate  for wine.

More importantly,  he’s happy. He developed a  mindset sometime during that  college hiatus that was more  about how he could live most  comfortably, which is intrinsically linked to money in this  country.

His hard-working and  material-focused baby boomer  lingering romanticism for the  Summer of Love.  However, my dad also raised  two children who want to be  artists — I’m studying writing  and my brother went to film  school.

He raised us to believe  that we can do anything if  we work hard and put our  minds to it, even something  creative. In spite of that, our  generation is also struggling  with massive student debt,  unpaid internships and few  job opportunities for which we  are apparently only ever over  or under qualified.

It’s no wonder then, why  it seems so many students  choose a major — or are  encouraged by their parents  to choose one — that is most  likely to get them a job out  of a college.

When you’re  raised during a time when the  bachelor’s degree is the new  high school diploma, it’s hard  not to.  College is now, more than  vocational, and as a place that  will lead to more job opportunities.

Certainly, this is true  for some degrees, specifically  anything in the science, technology, engineering and math  (STEM) fields. And I must say,  for every philosophy major I  meet who “just smokes a lot of  weed,” I meet an engineering  major who is “going to make  so much money for the rest of  [their] lives.” I’m not saying  that every engineering major is  a money-hungry android; I’m  just saying I’ve never met one  who isn’t.

So, what of those liberal  arts and humanities degrees?  I can’t count how many times  I’ve had to answer the question “Well, what are you going  to do with that?” when I tell  people I’m an English major.

And the thing is, I feel like it’s  one of the more practical —  but also fulfilling — degrees in  the humanities.  To be honest, I didn’t choose  I thought it would increase my  likelihood of getting a job after  college.

Not that I’m undermining the advice I’ve gotten  from professors who told me  that English is so broadly  applicable in the real world,  but that’s not why I chose to  study it. (This is especially  true after I met someone over  the weekend who studied  English and disagrees with the  broadness of said applicability.  Let’s face it: I’m not going to be  able to apply all my thoughts  on moral fiction to every job  I’ll have.)

I chose to do it when I took  a certain creative writing  workshop about a year ago. My  professor said to the class one  day, “This could be the last time  that your life really matters in  any work that you do.”

Or something like that.  Her point was that, after  college, it’s incredibly difficult  to be a successful artist who  creates work that people care  like my dad and succumb to  the clutches of capitalism by  choosing to be, I don’t know,  a manager of a grocery store  instead of a writer. (No offense  to all the managers out there.  You guys are doing great!)

I chose to use college as a  time when I get to study what  I’m passionate about instead  of preparation for a lucrative  career that I might not enjoy.  If you happen to get off on  engineering or quantitative  finance or marketing, even  better.

But for all you liberal arts  majors out there, don’t let the  thought of never making it  as an artist or philosopher or  writer get you down. You can  still be a realist about your  future and be a romantic about  your education. It just depends  on how you look at it.

Stephanie Self studies English.  She can be reached at