THE BLOG

A Liberal Arts Education

26/01/2015 15:28 GMT | Updated 26/03/2015 09:59 GMT

I have always been horrendously indecisive. I find it difficult to choose what to eat for lunch. I'm the kind of person who wants to sample a little of everything. So as you can imagine, the thought of deciding what to intensively study for three or four years at university was terrifying. Choosing four A-levels was hard enough! Thankfully, a liberal arts degree saved me.

A liberal arts degree, in essence, is a hang-on-give-me-some-more-time card. It allows you to explore the subjects you already love in greater depth and variety, and even sample new ones that perhaps you had not considered or even heard of. In my first semester I was toying between the ideas of majoring in International Relations or History. So, I took a class in both: International Politics and the Third Reich. Both were fascinating, the former introduced the application of game theory to the political world stage, and the latter provided a more inquisitive perspective to a subject we had just briefly scratched in school. I loved that I could jump between these two varying topics in a day. This semester I'm taking Intro to Computer Programming, Web Design and French - a whole different ball game. Once again, I imagine I will love spending one lesson learning Python and the next studying subjunctives.

There are drawbacks of course. For me, this is the core curriculum - the set of classes that all students are required to fulfil. If you're lucky you will have tested out of some with your previous exams, but if not, then there is a long list to fill. Unfortunately, having rejoiced post-GCSE at the thought of never touching another science or math book again, the obligation to now complete such courses fills me with nothing short of dread. Some are eye-openers. For my freshman seminar, a required class, I studied the First Amendment and the Supreme Court, which was brilliant. Who knew that the Amish were sanctioned to take their children out of public education at the age of 14? This semester I'm taking a class on Islamic Culture and Society, which I hope will prove equally illustrative. Undoubtedly, some requirements are a hassle, but really they are intended to give a breadth of knowledge with the ideal that the core will equip you for most lines of study and later life. And honestly, it's true. During the fall I took the mandatory freshman writing the essay class, and although intensive, it was rewarding. At the end, I felt like I had made progress. But even if you're terrified of ruining your GPA with a detested subject, fear not! Universities recognize that a student isn't strong in every discipline, and so they provide way to circumvent the nitty gritty that really isn't necessary unless you're majoring in it. So thankfully, there are math and science courses designed for those who are not that way inclined.

Overall, the liberal arts degree is a godsend. Without a doubt, the positives outweigh any negatives. Sure, you still have to choose a concentration, but that added year or two, where you have a whole university's resources at your feet, makes all the difference.