As an aspiring journalist, I’ve been asked (and I’m sure I’m not the only one!): “Why didn’t you major in something more practical?”
Other questions/comments don’t have to be said, as they are explicitly implied:
“How on earth are you going to be able to find a job after college?”
“I thought print media was dead… I hope you know how to use Twitter.”
This is what I wanted to talk about, something I read on the UCLA Department of Spanish and Portuguese website, can be viewed here.
So, what’s the purpose of this liberal arts degree I’m going to receive in the Spring? Should I have majored in accounting, or biology? I would have struggled to pass my classes, but I might have a better chance of getting a job that pays well after graduating from college.
Well, according to these guys:
A liberal arts education teaches you how to think critically. Its goal is to nurture the growth of human talent in order to prepare individuals for a fulfilling and meaningful life in a free society.
In short, a liberal arts education is aimed at teaching you how to think. It helps you to develop strength of mind, and an ordered intellect. To exercise the mind, any relevant discipline can be utilized – literature, sociology, or biology. The idea is that training the mind in one area will prepare it for learning in other areas as well.
Think of a liberal arts major as a gym for the mind.
So, if you are questioning the value of your degree, and how far it will get you, think about what you’ve gained as an individual from going to college. My experiences these past 4 years have given me wisdom and helped me grow as a person.
Ask yourself these questions: Do I have the ability to think critically? Do I have an enhanced sense of myself and my position/duty within society? Can I appreciate beauty and creativity? Will my life be more meaningful and fulfilling now now, with all of the knowledge I can apply to any situation I encounter? Am I a well-rounded and gifted person?
These are tough questions to answer, and you probably can’t answer them quite yet.
But when people ask me for the hundredth time why I didn’t major in something more practical, I think back on this explanation of the liberal arts degree, the qualities I value as an individual and who I am as a person today and I tell them…
“Actually, I’m afraid you are mistaken. I did major in something practical.”