Our society places the left side of the brain on a pedestal. Students able to teach Maths, Chemistry and Physics receive a grant – getting paid to gain the teaching qualification whilst everyone needs to pay for the same course. Universities often offer more research projects in these areas – and those that are able to offer more research are considered leading institutions. Students excelling in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, Medicine and Maths) are seen as the “brainy kids”.
Considered “brainy” even though the other subjects require just as much “brain power” – but perhaps require the other side. For instance, not many STEMM students can paint, write poetry or even an extended essay.
I enjoyed almost every subject in school and really struggled having to drop some during GCSEs. I liked writing, I liked hard facts, I liked debating. The only subject I didn’t like was PE but at GCSE level you were graded on improvement – not ability – and the content was heavily science based so I coped.
At A Levels I had to pick again – this time only 4. I ended up picking 3 “hard sciences” and Psychology, a “soft science”. The reason – I thought these subjects would give me a better chance at picking my degree at university. I was still unsure about what I wanted to do, but I knew I could still do a humanities subject at university with these A Levels but the opposite would not be true.
I chose Engineering. But, I still enjoy working my right side. Writing, doodling, colouring, sewing, knitting, scrapbooking. I’m not saying I’m very good at these things – I just enjoy them.
It got me wondering, would I have been better at these activities if society had given them value? What if art was compulsory, just like Maths, Science and English?
Studying “hard” subjects is meant to skill you into useful and well paid careers, whereas anyone with a humanities degree is predicted to work at Mc Donald’s. I say hard in quotation marks since I would fail at a language or history or fine art degree. Yet, businesses are always looking for creativity and innovation – what better way to ensure they’re hiring the best people if our students have worked both sides of their brain!