“Wag ka mag BA course ha? Wala kang matinong trabaho don. Bachelor of Science is the way, iha!” – Random Tita Who Must Not Be Named, 2010
I was a high school senior on the cusp of graduation when a concerned tita told me this. I was filling out college applications forms and I took her suggestion into account. After all, she wasn’t the only one who had that sentiment.
According to the adults around me, a Bachelor of Science course would be my one-way ticket to success. I’m sure you’ve heard the same suggestions: take up nursing, study medicine to be a doctor, be an accountant.
The only time someone told me pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree was a good idea was when another concerned tita suggested I take up law or post-graduate studies.Graduate school, after all, is always a good idea.
Other than that, taking up a BS degree is the way. If I wanted a stable job, I should stay away from Literature, Philosophy, and Humanities.
At least, that’s what they said.
Popular Courses in the PH (I Should Have Taken If I “Wanted to Earn Big Bucks”)
College is a big financial move on the parents’ part, which is why they want their child to take a course that will a) help them achieve their dreams, b) guarantee them a stable job, and c) push them to success. Based on the conversation I had with my friends’ folks, most of them wanted their child to take a BS degree to secure their success.
And it seems like they’re not alone in this sentiment.
iMoney.ph listed popular courses in the Philippines, and lo and behold, BS courses took the top spots:
- Aircraft/Aeronautics Operations or Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Economics or Commerce
- Computer Science
Imagine my relatives’ joy when I was accepted into the University of Los Baños. The best part (in their opinion)? I was under the BS Nutrition program — a pre-med course.
“Mag doctor kana para maraming pera!”
“Pursue that so you’ll have a good job for the future!”
Their encouragement pushed me to go ahead and dream of being a nutritionist. I could see it in my head: I’d work in a hospital or a health-focused company. I’d prepare diet plans. I’d be that annoying friend who would remind you of the calories you’re consuming. I’d be earning the big bucks.
There was one problem: I was more in love with writing than science.
Running Away With a BA Degree
Writing was, and always will be, my first love. High school saw me competing in various writing contests, winning awards for essay writing and feature-writing. During my spare time, I wrote Harry Potter fan fiction. I expressed my thoughts down on a journal.
Writing was in my blood, and it wanted my future.
I experienced a crisis during my first semester as a college student. The image of me as a nutritionist no longer made sense. I wanted to write.
So that’s when I decided to shift courses. There were two writing courses in UPLB: BS in Development Communication and BA in Communication Arts. The former is focused on the science of writing whereas the latter delved into humanities and social sciences.
Due to the advice I received from elder relatives, I was gunning for the former, obviously. Because as they said, “BS is the way to live.”I was ready to be in the science field again, albeit a little hesitant. Sure, I’d be studying biology still, but I’d be writing. At least, I was still under the Bachelor of Science roof.
I should be fine, right?
Unforeseen circumstances (e.g., a grade average that didn’t meet the BS DevComm standards), however, directed my path toward a detour — a Bachelor of Arts detour.
Four years later, I realize it was the best decision I ever made.
The Perks of BA Courses
The growing popularity of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degrees can make Humanities look like the Cinderella of college courses. But think about it this way: Cinderella became a princess!
Traveling down the BA path will:
- Hone critical and creative thinking, as well as develop mastery of language and communication skills
- Give you a better appreciation for the arts, culture, and history
- Place more emphasis on emotional skills and intelligence
A Rewarding Post BA Course Career
The internet and social media weren’t that big during my time in college. Now, it’s a massive landscape that’s breaching a lot of industries in terms of advertising and marketing.
The Philippines ranks sixth among countries that have a potential reach of Facebook ads. Everyone’s on their phone, and they’re no longer just liking posts. They’re buying more stuff, too.
This is where I thank the Lord for my BA course detour.
UPLB’s BA in Communication Arts program covered a variety of writing courses (apart from speech and theater). Before, I thought the curriculum was too general. It had no specific focus. But once I stepped into the corporate world, I realized the broad approach served me well.
Plenty of businesses want good advertising for their products. It doesn’t matter what the format is — a Facebook ad, website blog, reviews, tweet — they just want to get their name out there. For them to achieve a massive reach, they’ll need help from creatives: writers, graphic designers, video editors, artists, and more.
Fortunately, advertising is not the only place for BA graduates. There are plenty of job openings for creatives. Consider the following:
- Publishing and Journalism. There are plenty of journalists carrying a degree in humanities rather than journalism, which means they possess the analytical and communication skills necessary for covering news stories. Also, more publishers are looking for writers who can add a Humanities touch on today’s stories.
- The next generation needs more mentors in the arts. If you’re passionate about your craft, best to pass it on. If you don’t have an education degree, you can take the Teacher Certificate Program (TCP), which is a non-degree program that will require 18 units of Professional Education.
In my case, my decision to pursue a BA is serving me well. I get to write about the things I’m fascinated about, as well as explore uncharted territories. The job is also flexible. Unlike my peers in the science field, I could take my work with me whenever, wherever. All I need is my laptop and a stable internet connection.
Take What You Want and Thrive
I’m not saying BA courses have it better than BS programs. Everyone will succeed in each of their own as long as they work hard and study hard.
What I am trying to say is that you shouldn’t let others stop you from pursuing your love for the arts. If you can see it in your future and firmly believe that you can succeed in it, I say go ahead. Love the craft and make a living out of it.
We can make magic out of anything. Surely, we can make miracles with our BA courses, too.
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Ashley is an awkward potato in love with words, Kpop, and corgis. She spends her free time dancing like one of those balloon things you see in malls.