Liberal arts education

There’s no point in denying it; every student that passes through this school has a feeling of relief once they finish up their core classes. When we envision coming to college, we’ve got this image in our heads that we’ll finally be done with the subjects that we detested in high school and can move on with the subjects that we actually care about.

While some of these subjects might not high on our list of favorite classes, there is value in taking them. That realization just might take some time.

For me, natural science is not a field I’m interested in pursuing. Be that as it may, I see the value in studying science. Despite the fact that it covered broad subjects, I was still able to study different topics that I either hadn’t studied in depth or studied at all.

I have a similar case with the required foreign language classes. I took five years of Spanish before I got to college, and I figured I was done studying it until I looked at the core curriculum. Although studying foreign languages can be tedious at times, it’s exceedingly obvious why students need to learn them. Our world is more connected than ever, and it isn’t all about the United States. Even within our borders, there are a vast number of different cultures each with their own language. Learning about different cultures and studying their languages not only expands our worldview, but it helps us reach out to people we formally wouldn’t have been able to communicate with.

Don’t get me wrong. As a junior, I love diving deeper into my majors, especially considering that these subjects are the reason I chose to go to college in the first place (and the jobs available with a college degree don’t hurt either). However, because I chose to go to a liberal arts college, I’m not only knowledgeable about the subjects that I’ll eventually get a degree in, but I’m also familiar with a plethora of other subjects as well. Going to a liberal arts school gives me the ability to not only talk about the Bible, but also art, math, philosophy and so on.

Not only does this benefit my own understanding of the world, but it helps me understand why someone else might find a specific subject, which I believe to be unbearably boring, fascinating. I can take a class that might help me understand why my friend wants to become a doctor someday, or they might understand why I find studying the Bible to be so interesting. It takes us out of our own little worlds and introduces us to one another’s.

Likewise, there may be a subject that I didn’t have the opportunity to study in high school that piques my interest in college, such as sociology. I came into college as a Christian studies and mass communications double major, but I found that I really wanted to try a sociology class after a semester here. While mass communications is a great field, I found that sociology was a better fit for what I wanted to do in the future (besides, I have the best of both worlds with my job for the Signal anyway).

Liberal arts colleges get a lot of flak for giving its students a “surface-level” education, but I don’t see it that way. They allow us to study a variety of diverse subjects outside of our areas of interest. They allow us to learn more about why our friends may be passionate about theatre or business. They expand our worldview, allowing us to see outside of our myopic bubbles, and I for one think that’s important.

 

By Katherine Carter, Editorial/Opinions Editor

One thought on “Liberal arts education

  • November 19, 2016 at 9:27 am
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    That’s a smart way of thinking about it.

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