The Value of a Liberal Arts Education
What do you want to be when you grow up? When I was little, I wanted to have an ice cream store. Not because I had an entrepreneurial spirit but because my motivation was much more straightforward. I liked ice cream and thought I would have free ice cream whenever I wanted. Since then, I have considered a few professions besides a Gelato Maestro, but as a college freshman, I am not sure what I want to be “when I grow up.”
At eighteen years old, in many ways, I am an adult. I am supposed to be grown up, yet I am still undecided about my future career. When I first arrived on campus, I was hesitant to say that I did not already have a major and graduate school picked out. Many students seemed confident that they were pre-med, history, or computer science students. However, as orientation began and I met with my advisors, I started to consider that not having a major and all four years of college mapped out may not be a bad thing after all.
As I looked at course choices, I remembered why I selected a liberal arts college. I did not have to know my major to select classes during freshman year. My first year of courses has all been classes that will fulfill GERs. The general education requirements (GERs) are fifteen courses from various departments. These courses are an excellent opportunity to try different subjects that may not be your forte but that, after one class, could spark your interest. Furman offers majors in forty-five subjects, and there are GER courses in all departments.
Before coming to Furman, I had never watched any subtitled films. Foreign films were not something I was interested in or knew anything about. During my first semester, I selected a Modern Japanese Society through Films course. It fulfilled a GER and fit into my schedule, so I decided to give it a chance. Surprisingly, it has become one of my favorite classes and piqued my interest in an Asian Studies major. GER’s are a great way to try things you have never considered or tried before because you will never know if you will fall in love with a subject you may not have thought about.
Maybe you already have a major picked out, and you know what to do with your life, or maybe you do not, and that is ok too. Picking a major can be very intimidating. Sometimes it feels like you have to decide your life in one moment. However, being at a liberal arts school gives me the option of not knowing exactly what I want to study and the opportunity to try things I may not have thought to consider.
Before coming to Furman, I thought I wanted a degree in Education. However, as I met professors in different departments during the summer and orientation events, I found professors in the Art and Communications departments that sparked my interest the most.
So my advice on college majors is to TALK TO PROFESSORS! Each professor I have met has been wildly enthusiastic about their field and, in turn, has made me contemplate subjects I had never considered. You want to enjoy what you are studying and who you are working with. Secondly, be open to things you may have yet to consider. Even if there is a subject that you may not have liked in high school, don’t count it out too fast. Try things you never have before; you may find it is something you want to do when you grow up!