STEM is nice, but don’t ignore the arts

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Phoebe Potter

The arts of often neglected in favor of pushing students towards STEM and career paths.

Phoebe Potter, Staff Writer

From the day you speak your first words and beyond, people constantly ask you what you want to be when you get older. When you’re younger you have dreams of being an astronaut, a ballerina, or a nuclear physicist. No obstacle seemed too big. No doubt ever entered your mind about how much money you’ll make, whether it’ll make you famous, or even if it is what others expect you to do. You just wanted to do it because it would make you happy.

As you got older, adults started to tell you to be more realistic with your goals and ambitions. Instead of encouraging kids to push themselves and improve significantly in academics, we’re told to stay in our place that we have the chance to try but it would be “too hard” and they don’t think that we’re capable of putting forth the effort. While some may naturally want to do something low maintenance, if it is what would bring them the most joy and be an area where they can flourish, by all means have at it. However, it’s when that one kid who doesn’t want to blend in the rest of the academic crew (and not to say that there is anything wrong with performance at the academic curriculum level, because everyone learns differently) and wants to go to an ivy league school or accomplish something greater than themselves and it is these kids, whom have so much dedication and perseverance, are restricted and the kids who just want to get there diploma and have a comfortable life in suburbia are endorsed. That just isn’t right.

We’ve told kids that these dreams aren’t realistic, that these ambitions are narcissistic and that they could be doing more useful things with their time.”

Arts programs specifically take the most heat as teaching kids to strive for goals they can’t attain to. However, arts programs not only encourage students to dream bigger and work harder, art programs also have been proven to benefit students in reading, math or social studies. Arts programs have also been proven to increase student’s standardized achievement test scores.

We’re taught to expand our minds as wide as possible, to be friends to everyone and the people who constantly make the extra effort for others are most often put on the back burner. With the push for a college education, a 4.0 GPA, perfect attendance, top physical fitness, and so many other pressures it’s no wonder kids don’t want to try. Constantly telling kids that they’ll be enough once they have reached so many accolades is ridiculous. Every person should know that they are enough just as themselves, doing the best they can with the opportunities and abilities given to them. And even then, so many kids are still restricted in the opportunities provided to them. We shouldn’t hand kids everything on a silver platter but we should allow students the opportunity to know that they are enough at that their dreams can be accomplished with determination and persistence.

In recent years there has been a big push for STEM careers and to get girls, especially, to stray away from careers that have been typically seen as compliant with gender specific roles, and that any girl who decides to become a receptionist over an engineer isn’t aware of what else she could aspire to, but with a push for STEM fields comes a decline in arts programs across schools nationwide. We’ve told kids that these dreams aren’t realistic, that these ambitions are narcissistic and that they could be doing more useful things with their time. However, it has been proven time and time again that arts programs help student performance in academics. Also, without art, music or even industrial arts there would be no progress in civilization. Without the arts humans wouldn’t be around anymore.