Elsie Cunliffe fights the corner of Sciences in the Stem vs Humanities Debate.


I admit, I am potentially bias towards science, which anyone who knows me would confirm within a heartbeat. I feel like I need to step up and defend S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects under fire from the enclosed article I came across.

The article is very pro humanities and arts, but what motivates me to respond is that individuals taking S.T.E.M. subjects are portrayed, as lacking; whether that is in creativity, ability to express themselves in writing, or to connect to more moral and philosophical levels throughout everyday life.

I, clearly, disagree.

S.T.E.M. may be built up of ‘linear’ subjects but not everyone taking such subjects are correspondingly ‘linear’.

Personally, I love the thought-provoking aspects of STEM and yet, maybe wrongly so, I consider myself quite creative. So, I find this blatantly unrealistic divide between those who do humanities and those who do STEM offensive and unrepresentative.

A truly creative thinker is willing to evolve, adapt and without sounding too like Bear Grylls, challenge. This skillset is not limited to one branch of any profession it varies from individual to individual. To me this article fails to comprehend this, and I think the conclusions thrown by the author were not deeply thought through. This STEM stereotype is neither correct nor, in some cases fair.

I am aware that a lot of maths-based subjects lack people with wild creativity due to the nature of the subject, it favours a logical methodical brain. One doesn’t need to be able to craft unscripted answers in the form of a 4000-word essay, arguing their point with strong evidence and persuasive language. But this doesn’t mean that it isn’t within the average science student’s ability to think creatively.

On a global and history-of-humanity scale I believe it is those who are great in their chosen area of expertise are successful. But those who have a bit extra, dominate.

By this I am trying to say we shouldn’t segregate the two pathways. When asked what you take for A level, a mixture science and humanities shouldn’t be met with a pained facial expression of someone labouring to understand such a decision. A mixed choice of A levels, I believe, would result in greater long-term success and versatility. Before I get shot down for hypocrisy, I must excuse myself; my all science A levels have not stunted my love of writing, merely hidden it. But I understand university requirements and courses demand specific combinations which make it difficult to choose a variety of options. This shows that people don’t always chose certain subjects because that is how they think, but maybe because it leads them onto a career they want to follow or maybe they simply find it fascinating. For this reason, I disagree with this article’s way of categorising people purely by what they study.

Personally, I love STEM subjects but would be comfortable going, ‘off-piste’, outside my comfort zone, even though this article suggests that I wouldn’t. This is due to my personal disposition. For this reason and the ones listed above I challenge the article to consider the individuals involved not the subject’s norm.

Elsie Cunliffe, Year 13.