How To Use Your Useless Liberal Arts Degree

Don't forget to write a response to the response to the response, and you'll be golden!

By Alida Nugent

It should come as a surprise to no one that I have a liberal arts college degree. I can picture my parents now, twisting their face into a distorted mask of a smile, telling their friends things like, “she writes lists on the Internet” and “we know she lives in Brooklyn and pays a lot for breakfast, and sometimes her clothes are tattered.” They are tattered! I paid for them to come that way! But this is who I am. I write lists, I am in debt for a degree that allowed me a hearty knowledge of old, dead books and an equally hearty knowledge of almost nothing else. Fact: you can’t climb your way out of credit card payments with a dissertation on The Cask Of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe!

Still, I graduated years ago, and like most people my age, believe that a few years of experience creates a wealth of knowledge that I can dole out unprompted. And here is where my knowledge lies—I know what you can do with your liberal arts degree! I have unlocked the secret, after years of paychecks, on how to prosper. So fear not, fellow readers. I list them below:

1. . Write An Open Letter

You got a problem? There's an advantage to having a degree that qualifies you to work in social media: you know how the Internet works. Not everyone knows how to use the Internet. I posted a cute dog photo on my mom’s Facebook and she reposted it on her own wall again because she didn’t know everyone could see it. Right underneath my own post. We’re not all working at 100% here. So use your Internet skills and your grasp of writing to complain about something that is irking you, but frame it in an open letter. An open letter is a regular letter that you don’t mail to the person you addressed it to, but, rather, you let everybody read it. a blog post. Write about something that highlights both your own issues and the larger issues at hand, hopefully ones we can all benefit to learn about. Make it genuine, and sprinkle it with some vulnerable moments that reveal your own imperfections. Then, wait for everyone to start tearing you apart like they are a pack of wildebeests stomping over Mufasa’s lifeless body. Surprise, here’s a lesson: everybody hates you on the Internet! Learn this lesson young. Watch your writing get veritably piddled on by a bunch of people who assume they know better than you because they, too, once had it hard. Notice they are now unable to empathize because they weren’t on the IDENTICAL hard path as the person writing the letter. It's a lot of fun.

2. . Write A Response To The Open Letter

Ah, yes. Now here’s another way you can use your degree: you can respond to every open letter you read with an open letter of your own, addressed to the person writing the first one. Remember a key point: you are entitled to complain about mostly anything because a) it’s hard to get a job with the degree you have b) although the economy is getting better, sometimes it is not good, and it was not good when you were trying to find a job and c) to supplement yourself, you worked in the service industry. As someone who worked in the service industry, I can tell you this---it makes me twice as empathetic, twice as hardworking, and 4 billion times as likely to talk about how hard it is to everybody I know. Working in the service industry makes you about as righteous as an old, wise, tree which is a) fine and partially deserved but b) can be worthless when you’re the kind of person who writes open letters about it. Being in the service industry is super-hard. I know. We get it. People stink. But you run the risk of stinking, too, when all you do is scream at children on your lawn about how it’s easy to get a job in the service industry and everybody needs to get paid to clean tables with an old rag or they’re worthless garbage people. Use this rag-soaked sense of righteousness to your advantage, and get to writing!

3. . Get Into Facebook Fights About Both Responses

Read a bunch of open letters and then comment on every post on Facebook you see about them. Get into passionate fights about both the original letter and the response to the letter. Bring up how you, too, have experienced difficult things stemming from your liberal arts degree. Have your opinion be fact. And here’s the truth: everybody just wants to talk about their own problems and how they’ve specifically overcome their own problems, because they like to think they are special and unique and have all the answers. That is a thing I learned from my degree: keep writing about your own perspective, because your own perspective is valuable. This is that concept gone horribly wrong.

4. . Read A Response to The Response, And Then A Response To THAT Response

Why not just fall down a complete Internet Black Hole? Read the response to the response. Write a response to that. Keep directly calling everyone out on the Internet by indirectly writing about them. Write so many responses to the response that somebody finally addresses the original letter writer and then we all explode. I’ve heard that if you put a lot of monkeys in front of typewriters for a long enough time, they will eventually arbitrarily type out all of Hamlet (statistically, it’s possible). Do that, in a way.

5. . Just Give Up And Eat Your Degree

Whatever. Everyone’s complaining and it will never stop. Life is futile. Just close your computer, slather your degree with butter and jam and eat it for breakfast. Go to business or culinary school. Forget letters and words and responses exist. Work entirely in numbers and code. Escape.

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