According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the idea of a liberal arts education includes “areas of study (such as history, language, and literature) that are intended to give you general knowledge rather than to develop specific skills needed for a profession.
As liberal arts students ourselves, we know that it is even more than that. We know that it includes being involved in things beyond our simple academic lives. We are involved on our campus, involved in our education and involved in our futures.
In my first semester of college, I chose to forego direct involvement in organizations on campus, simply because I thought things would fall into place as I continued my post-secondary education. I, for the first time since my freshman year of high school, had the chance to have an open schedule.
Now, as I look back on the first semester at Baker, I think of the experiences that I ultimately missed out on. Do I regret not fully diving into the multitude of opportunities? Absolutely not (because free-time is considered enjoyable, too). But as I find myself even more involved during this second semester, I have realized the numerous benefits of having a schedule that is busy beyond belief.
Recently I was having a discussion with a high school sophomore about the advantages of choosing a liberal arts college. Although many points were running through my mind, the best argument I could provide her with was the idea of being “well-rounded.” Of course, there was much more that I wanted to say, but I simply didn’t want to overwhelm her with the idea of liberal arts being equivalent to a life that is stressful and busy.
Later on, as I continued the discussion with her – now with her mother involved – I found the answer that I had been searching for during our previous conversation. Her mother, who had attended a liberal arts college herself, brought to the table the idea that “it’s better to be a big fish in a small sea than the other way around.”
As a whole, the idea of a liberal arts education at small schools is underestimated. My personal experiences during the first year of college have already outgrown those of my four years in high school. It wasn’t the fact that I wasn’t involved nor busy, but rather that the organizations offered at Baker are more beneficial to my overall growth. They have prepared me for future leadership positions and have helped me develop my time management skills.
I believe that when I look back years from now, I’ll be extremely happy with the decision to pursue a liberal arts education because I’ll truly know what it means to lead a fully-involved lifestyle while balancing a full-time job, which currently is my education.
I’ll look back and thank the liberal arts education concept for making me who I will be.