Benefits of a Liberal Arts Degree

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The student who decides to pursue a liberal arts education in University often faces a discouraging reaction from family and friends. Everyone seems to know a B.A. in Philosophy who is flipping burgers at Wendy’s, or an M.A. in English who is clerking at Wal-Mart. Students who choose liberal arts hear the same remarks over and over: “What good is a degree in Medieval History, or Chinese literature, or Classics? Study something practical and get a real job!” In fact, however, no degree provides an automatic job ticket, since the market for employment is constantly in flux. The liberal arts offer education, not training, and thus prepare students for a wide range of possibilities in both work and life. By developing their minds through a liberal arts education, students benefit themselves, their eventual careers, and the culture at large . For anyone interested in personal and intellectual growth, the liberal arts offer immeasurable benefits. Studies in such fields as English and Philosophy introduce a student to the great writers and thinkers whose ideas have shaped our culture. By working through the dialogues of Plato, students see logic in action; by studying the plays of Shakespeare, the poetry of Wordsworth, or the novels of Dickens, they realize the power of language. Without knowledge of the great writers and thinkers of the past, people operate in a vacuum, unable to see beyond their immediate world. How can they gauge the validity of ideas if they know nothing except the present moment? In a media-driven culture of instant celebrity, students need to experience truths that have endured over hundreds and even thousands of years. These truths expand their thinking beyond their immediate limitations, and they discover new insights into their own minds. The benefits of a liberal arts education, however, go beyond personal growth into longer-term career skills. Every liberal arts course from Art History to Women’s Studies requires proficiency in...
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