My earliest childhood dream was to be a doctor. I wanted to help people, and the only way that I knew how to do that was to major in science and become a doctor. The years of schooling did not bother me at all, and everyone in my family told me that becoming a doctor (and of course majoring in science) was a great choice and commended me on my drive and ambition.
And then I went to Russia. Going abroad for the first time is a life changing experience, and I came back knowing that being a doctor was not for me. I did not want to major in science; I had other interests that were pulling me in other directions. This was a shocking change in events for everyone around me, and not necessarily in a positive way. I cannot even begin to count how many times my decision making process and my decisions were questioned. *Disclaimer: Fortunately, I have since learned that it is totally possible to do pre-med as well as be a major in the liberal arts, I just happened to decide that I wanted a completely different career path altogether.
Luckily, I stood my ground, and came into college knowing that I would go into the College of Arts and Letters. That is not to say that I have not changed my major several times within the framework of the College: my declaration process has been long and multifaceted. Throughout it all, however, my advisor and the professors who I have sought out for guidance have been endlessly supportive in helping me discover what I want to major in, what I want to do with my life, and, most importantly, myself.
Which brings me to one of the many positives of the liberal arts: it forces you to confront who you are, what you believe, and why. I have learned so much about life and my place in it from each of my liberal arts classes, no matter which major I was currently declared as. I am constantly reevaluating my status as a citizen, as a woman, and as a human and what the implications of those definitions are.
I love how each of my classes complements the others, across requirements, majors, and minors. I love how I feel like my knowledge base is building upon itself, rather than starting at the beginning with every course. I love how my professors encourage the utilization of this knowledge base both in and out of class. I love how I can have three completely different classes in one day, that, while about different topics and ideas, have themes that enrich each other.
But, most of all, I love feeling like I am pursuing my true passions. I know that I have decided to pursue something that I truly love in depth, but because of the nature of the liberal arts, I am also encouraged to apply this knowledge to the world around me and apply the world around me to this in depth knowledge.
The liberal arts does not exist in a bubble. Instead, it is an exploration of the world, an acknowledgement of the beauty and pain that exists in the human existence, and an attempt to make the world a better place.