A liberal arts education can be said to be an extremely well rounded learning experience. Not only does it introduce students to a wide array of thinkers through various readings and dissertations, but it incorporates the sciences, writing, philosophy, music, and technology in order to create important disciplines. It has been shown to foster creativity, teamwork and leadership skills alike throughout a variety of courses with a variety of learning goals. I’d say the freedom to take these array of courses is something only a liberal arts education from a selective and demanding institution can provide.

From what I have learned at Bucknell networking events and from soliciting donations from alumni of all ages,  graduates from a liberal arts education can be found in leadership positions in all fields of study. I’ve heard from many employers that liberal arts students tend to pick up on things faster. I would attribute this to the fact that a libarts education isn’t devoted to teaching students one specific skill, but rather a plethora of skills. Post secondary education is the place I find suitable to focus and explore one skill set to do one job. However the skills learned at a libarts institution seem practical as a resource to pursue continual learning, to make critical decisions, and to be a driving force in innovation.

That said, I do not believe the success gained from an individual is based entirely on if they have had a libarts education or not – or any education for that matter. I do believe however that if taken fully advantage or, a libarts education can provide wonders for those who are presented with the opportunity to endure the fast-paced and demanding curriculum. I do not believe success from this curriculum can be achieved online, or anywhere other than a classroom setting. A libarts institution prides itself on having invoking professors and intellectually stimulating students who are forced to think critically either on the spot in class, in a paper, or presentation. Professors force you to deviate from your comfort zone and to analyze situations you wouldn’t have considered before. With this level of critical thinking, society can greatly benefit from students with a libarts background who have an interest in finding solutions to everyday problems, including everything from voting and business creation, to personal issues at home and in the community.


About Steph P.

Business Government and Society

7 responses »

  1. Lindsey F. says:

    I definitely agree with your point about a liberal arts education being very helpful today but not necessary, and the fact that it needs to be done in person. Interacting with the professors and other students with different backgrounds simulates a real like situation. Because when you get a job, not everyone will be just like you. So experiencing the diversity in college will prepare you for what’s ahead.

  2. Matt says:

    The first sentence of your last paragraph is intriguing – ” I do not believe the success gained from an individual is based entirely on if they have had a libarts education or not – or any education for that matter.” I’m assuming you mean a structured education, like K-12? Or maybe college? I’m all about promoting individualism, but the odds of someone just learning everything about the world on their own are infinitesimally small. I truly believe education is the key for advancement, for success, for pretty much everything. Now, I’m not saying a high-school dropout can’t do well, but the odds are low. That being said, I think we need some serious education reform and we need to fundamentally change the way we think about education in this country, so if that’s what you were going for, then I completely agree. But to dismiss education as the gateway to success entirely seems a little extreme.

    • Steph P. says:

      I should have clarified more. When I wrote that statement I was talking about that 1% of people like Richard Branson and Bill Gates who drop out of their education yet are some of the most successful people in our era. I definitely agree with you that education reform needs to be evaluated. I know I bring up my parents and their country a lot, but it satisfies this point as well. In Trinidad, as well as many of the British-colonized nations, the education system is completely effective. In our system, we are taught one course per year. For example, say 9th grade you take Algebra2, 10th-Trig, 11th Calculus 12th-probably Stats or something like that. Yet how many of us actually remember specific topics in those courses? I know I don’t, and I’m pretty good at math. In Trinidad they teach Algebra 2, Trig, Calc, and Stats at the same time, every year. That way you’re not learning things just to spit it out on an exam and move on to the next class. You’re actually holding on to what you learn and using each concept to better understand the others. Both of my parents have reached different levels of education (my dad Phd, my mom Bachelors). However they can both remember formulas, concepts, and ideas from their high school years better than I can, and I’ve only been out of high school for 3 years.

      • Jordi says:

        How do you know they remember that material better! 🙂 Maybe they just pretend…

        Would not be the first parents too…

        Anecdotally, it does seem that post-British colonies have done a better job educating people, or at least getting a portion of native populations into elite levels of society, than the US education system has of undoing historical inequalities.

        In other words, Caribbean, African, or Asian immigrants or first born seem to do much better in education attainment…

        This may be a “not-PC” statement… oh well. It is not meant as a comment on biology…

  3. Charles says:

    Liberal arts education is not essential you will not be barred from the workplace if you have a degree from a regular college. But I do think it is the type of degree you learn to appreciate long down the road when you see how many instances the odd classes you took helped you in situations.

  4. Jordi says:

    If diversity of students and faculty is a key component of the learning atmosphere that L Arts depends on, as you suggest and Lindsey extends, then BU can and must do a better job of diversifying. I do not mean only on the usual dimensions such as race, class, geography, nationality, and religion. I also mean that the atmosphere should foster MORE diversity of thought both form each other, and, dare I say, from the crushing conformity of much of modern consumerist-careerist America in which a good life is equated with personal consumption.

    Conventionality of thought may be as much of a hindrance to diversity as the whiteness of one’s skin or the 000s in your bank account.

    • eric says:

      I can’t help but think that every group of people is already “diversified” by some classification or another…

      I think we simply need to do a better job of finding ways to help students share their diversity with each other. This means more on-campus systems that encourage thinking rather than conforming, and interacting rather than partying.

      Then everyone can realize how similar we all are.
      And from there, realize the diversity we all bring to the whole that is Bucknell.

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