When I first arrived at the University of Cape Town as a fresher in the summer of 2012, I don’t believe I had the faintest idea of the stigma surrounding a general Bachelor of Arts degree.

A BA – at least to my uninformed opinion, represented a strong field of study, which both demanded generous input and dedication, and returned wisdom, knowledge, and an awareness of one’s own surroundings and society. Since then, my beliefs have changed little.

However, I have found that other students’ accommodation of these sentiments have been met with tepid response at best.

My outside perception of the Faculty of Humanities would most likely conjure the stereotypical image of mountain-gazing culture shamans – my inward perception as a humanities student knows otherwise.

Bachelor of Arts students are not the spaced-out underachievers of legend; rather, it’s a realm inhibited by forward thinkers, visionaries, and future leaders.

I myself find the prospect of studying engineering or accounting dull, and uninviting; and before I’m volleyed with assorted power-tools and calculators, allow me to elaborate why: the issues of our times are social problems.

Were you to quickly glance at any news media, local or international, I’d place a fair wager that current headlines would predictably be centred on the unrest – in whatever form – that permeates societies across the globe.

BA students deconstruct the iron curtain of civilization, be it through the development of thought in philosophy, examination of the trends of history, or the illumination of humankind through anthropology.

While the societies of the globe undoubtedly requires the talents of the future doctors, accountants and engineers who now study and graduate alongside us, humankind as a whole desperately needs the mustered thoughts, dreams and empowerment provided by the students of the Arts.

If the old saying that culture creates progress is true – the development of culture through studies and careful cultivation should be a greater goal.

Bachelor of Arts students fight different battles to those in other faculties or degree plans; our arena is a world stage, our weapons are our thoughts, and we aim to live in and shape our world.

A BA degree is undervalued; it’s students’ struggles unappreciated. However, the knowledge and wisdom gained in a simple three-year study out-rivals a lifetime of self-driven introspection.

Our world has entered the era in which the necessity of thought-driven action is paramount; and around me, in lecture theatres, tutorials, seminars or lunch hour, I never fail to be astounded by the quality and quantity of potential social icons who stride across UCT’s Jameson Plaza.