Have you ever asked yourself what major you wanted to study after high school? And what did you want to be? Of course, everybody wants to choose the major that he/she likes or the major that makes tons of money. But how many people choose to study liberal arts? What is the purpose of studying liberal arts? And if you major in it what job could you do?
500 years ago in the southern part of Europe, there was a huge change in many aspects of society and people’s beliefs we call it the Renaissance.
During The Renaissance, people believed that studying about humanities and liberal art was an essential part of their life. People during The Renaissance studied both physical remains of the Roman Empire and classical Latin texts. (McKay, 412) Medieval writers studied ancients in order to know more about God. However, people during the renaissance considered that the studying of classics would lead them to understand human nature. According to A History of Western Society, They studied Latin grammar and rhetoric, Roman history and political philosophy, and Greek literature. People thought that these kinds of subjects were important skills for future development to become successful lawyers, military leader or business man. (Mckay)
Nowadays, some public leaders disagree with the value of liberal arts education. According to what I found, Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, believes that liberal arts degrees aren’t useful, we don’t need them and it wastes government money to support them. He wants more students to get college degrees but only if the majors are useful and where they can get jobs.
He said “You know, we don’t need a lot more anthropologists in the state. It’s a great degree if people want to get it, but we don’t need them here. I want to spend our dollars giving people science, technology, engineering and math degrees. That’s what our kids need to focus all their time and attention on. Those type of degrees. So when they get out of school, they can get a job.”(Rick Scott)
Scott said he hopes he could shift more money to STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math) programs. He considers the programs from liberal arts such as psychology and anthropology will not create more jobs for students.
On another side, Florida’s liberal arts professors claim that liberal arts are very important and it doesn’t matter a lot in long-term.
“First, he ignores a host of recent research that shows college majors don’t matter as much in graduates’ long-term earning power as is often assumed. Second, “soft” subjects like anthropology (and philosophy, and history, and psychology, and English) serve their students pretty darn well”.(MotherJones)
They also claim that many liberal arts students become successful business people “Take a look at the surprising list of notable Americans who majored in them… including Dubya, Carly Fiorina, Clarence Thomas, Billy Graham, and Ronald Reagan”(MotherJones), they all had studied liberal arts and finally became successful business people.
But what is the value and benefit from studying liberal art? So, I did a research on what is the real purpose to study liberal art. According to a David Brooks article, the liberal arts help you develop your emotion and develop important skills to be successful in society. People forget the importance of society and emotions because we focus only on individualism. For example, Students focus only on the SAT but not character and how to build relationships with each other. We are social animals, we can’t live alone and we are getting smarter as we develop our emotional skills.
In my opinion, I disagree with some people being opposed to a liberal arts education. Even though I want study STEM subjects, it doesn’t mean that the liberal arts aren’t important. People should major what they like and what they want to be. We can’t guarantee that if you study in STEM field you will get a job. We need professionals from every branch and every job is important as the next one.
“Florida Governor: Anthropology Not Needed Here | Neuroanthropology.” PLoS Blogs Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2012. <http://blogs.plos.org/neuroanthropology/2011/10/11/florida-governor-anthropology-not-needed-here/>.
Weinstein, Adam. “Rick Scott to Liberal Arts Majors: Drop Dead | Mother Jones.” Mother Jones | Smart, Fearless Journalism. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2012. <http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/10/rick-scott-liberal-arts-majors-drop-dead-anthropology>.
“Liberal Arts at the Brink – Victor E. Ferrall, Jr. | Harvard University Press.” Home | Harvard University Press. Web. 13 Feb. 2012.