In about a month, thousands of Knights will walk across the stage and receive a piece of paper proclaiming their mastery of a dying field. I will be one of them.
As you may have guessed, I'm a journalism major. And this fandangled thing you're possibly holding is called a newspaper — they're not doing so hot.
In fact, I'm just one of the students who will graduate from UCF this semester without a degree in a STEM-related field. Those who graduate with STEM degrees are estimated to make $65,000 annually on average, compared with those in other fields who bring in about $49,500 per year, according to the Associated Press.
So the STEM field isn't just poppin'; it's pop, lockin' and droppin'.
But even with this in mind, coupled with the fear of one day living out of a cardboard box, choosing journalism as my major is still one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life.
I love it. And saying that you shouldn't do anything for money doesn't just apply to back alley deals and stranger-danger situations. Like the old adage goes, "If you do what you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life." In my case, and for those majoring in philosophy and humanities and what not, the literal translation may hold true.
But turns out, not even STEM majors are safe. This semester, as part of my digital media minor, I've been taking a class called Evolution of Video Games — one of the best classes at UCF that you should definitely get an override to take.
Last class, we talked about how some of the big-name video game companies, such as Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, aren't collecting as many coins as Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog. My professor Nathan Snow — one of the best professors at UCF — explained that, for Sony, the PlayStation 4 is the only thing that brings in any money.
As someone who's only owned a GameCube and has yet to finish cleaning the city in Mario Sunshine, I had no clue the video game industry was struggling.
But here's the kicker: Every industry goes through its ups and downs. Through this class, I've learned that there have been golden ages of video games along with the Great Video Game Crash. Journalism is no different. According to the paper "The Video Game Censorship Saga" by Clay Calvert and Robert D. Richards, in 2005, the New York Times had 16 staff members devoted to an editorial board. Over the years, that number has probably significantly decreased, if not been completely wiped out.
Right now, the STEM field is going through an immense growth, and therefore hiring graduates like crazy. I'm not an economist or an expert in the job market by any means, but in a few years I could see it becoming oversaturated and overstaffed. And maybe — hopefully — artsy fields like journalism will experience a renaissance, where the skin-and-bones staffs aren't enough anymore and a flood of new hires is needed. It's wishful thinking, but you never know.
Newspaper subscriptions and video game sales may not rise in time for graduation — in fact I know they won't — but that shouldn't deter us from following our passions and choosing a career we're going to love. And hey, maybe I'll go buy an Xbox if some of you digital media majors go sign up for a newspaper subscription — just saying.