An old friend recently sent me a link to an article because he knew of my interest in higher education and in college students. The article talks about the growing trend of colleges and universities toward dropping many of the “soft” courses such as arts and humanities in favor of focusing on a more career based curriculum. Reading the article made me sad and was very disheartening.
I’ve had this debate with colleagues, friends, and students. Is it important to get a well-rounded education or should institutions focus on simply teaching students the courses related to their field of study? So often students lament, “Why do I have to take this class? When will I ever use this?” And I can understand where they’re coming from. Please understand that this post isn’t about lecturing you or putting you down. I’d simply like to take this time to express my thoughts on the matter to let you know my philosophy and where I’m coming from; I’d like you to know why I think a liberal arts education is so important.
It Teaches You How To Learn
Taking courses over a wide variety of subjects expands your thinking skills. You’ll learn ways of looking at things differently and gain new perspective. You likely won’t enjoy every class you’re required to take, but you’ll most likely gain valuable skills in thinking and learning such as critical thinking, reasoning skills, and analytical skills that you may not have had the opportunity to acquire if studying only a single discipline.
It Provides Skills Employers Are Looking For
These learning skills are important to your future employers. They don’t want to have to teach you to think things through and to analyze problems. Exposure to a wide variety of subjects will prove you with the interpersonal skills employers like to see on the job as well. By immersing yourself in various learning situations, you’ll be exposed to people of many interests and backgrounds.
It Teaches You About Yourself
Involvement in a liberal arts education can also lead to self discovery. For example, in my Freshman year of college, I took a class called American National Government. It certainly wasn’t on my list of top choices, but it fit my schedule and met a liberal arts requirement. It was in that class that I realized I had a completely different political ideology than my parents. If I hadn’t been “forced” to take that class, I’m not sure my beliefs would be what they are today. Who knows what you could learn by being open to the possibilities of learning for learning’s sake. You may even discover a new passion.
You can read more about the benefits of a liberal arts education in this article and in this one. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with me? Leave a comment or contact me. I’d love to hear your thoughts.