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What Really Happens In a Liberal Arts Course

Take a peek into the life of a Liberal Arts Student…

Excerpt 1: Everyone is Overcompensating

Teacher: “Why don’t most shops have large windows?”


Teacher: “Anyone? Take a guess?”

Student: “Is it because windows remind us of the outside world? By showing us what lies beyond, they literally emphasize the all pervading disease of our consumeristic behavior? And our crazed participation in corporate capitalist culture? And manufacturers don’t want that? So they cut off our view to that larger world as we bury ourselves in a microcosm of our own material desire? Is that it?”

(You can tell someone is a first-year-student by the way all their opinions end in questions. They’re still recovering from the trauma of high school.)

Teacher: “Shops don’t have windows because they take up the space that could be used for stacking more products. Let’s keep reading.”

Excerpt 2: Everyone Owns At Least One Expensive Accessory In The Name Of Art

If you’re a hipster, this can be an acoustic guitar and/or a film camera. If you consider yourself a modern day intellectual, it needs to be a bass guitar and/or a DSLR. Also a plus if you have alternate Instagram and Facebook pages to post abstract pictures and/or covers with cringe-inducing quasi-sentimental captions and spam your friends and family to the extent where they begin to consider if there are any positive aspects to continuing their relationship with you. 

Via Flickr

Excerpt 3: Political Correctness

Teacher: “We’re going to be discussing East Asian Politics today. To start off, let’s name the East Asian countries!”

Student 1: “Japan!”

Student 2: “Korea!”

Student 3: “China!”

Student 4: “Taiwan!”

—deathly silence—

Student 5: “Hong Kong!”

—deathly silence—

Teacher: “….well, then.”

Excerpt 4: Privileged people Write pretentious poetry 

i have 


for in that lonesome


i woke up drenched



and hopeless


but when


reached over to touch

the place

that you left

your mark on

i found that




my very own


        ____your classmate who goes on mid-semester Europe trips. 

Excerpt 5: Multiculturalism Isn’t What People Think It Is.

You’ll realize this when you can fluently swear at strangers in three different foreign languages, courtesy of your diverse friend group[s], but find yourself unable to hold a basic conversation in the target language you’ve been studying for two years. 

Excerpt 6: You Will Become Vehemently Political, Either By Self-Motivation Or Through Peer Pressure.

Hushed whispers of “Be careful around him, he’s a communist!” probably wouldn’t have made you shudder in revulsion as a high school student, but college is a whole new world. 

Also scrolling through someone’s Facebook page to make sure they’re not a Nazi is a matter of common sense. 

Finally, be prepared to have your favorite celebrity destroyed and abused thanks to some well-read fellow liberal arts student or aspiring activist who knows everything foul or problematic that everyone from obscure politicians to the stray cats around campus have done since they first appeared on the scene. 

Via Flickr

Excerpt 7: Your Social Networking Sites Are A Battlefield Of Clashing Values

Friend 1: #gym #positivity #selflove #body #fitness #workingout #imhappy #carbsarevil

Friend 2: #nihilism #lifeistragedy #existentialcrisis #darknesstakesover #igiveup #sodone

Friend 3: #godwilldeliver #blessings #prayerhands #lightformyfollowers #holyquote 

Friend 4: #fuckpolice #fuckestablishment #longliveche #communism #downwithprisons

Friend 5: #lookatmycovers #checkoutmyotherpage #followforfollow #imapro #really


Excerpt 8: You Find Your Place on THAT Spectrum

It ranges from ‘I-have-my-student-and-love-life-in-flawlessly-perfect-order-and-the-world-is-at-my-feet’ to ‘my-graduation-thesis-is-due-in-two-weeks-and-I-still-don’t-have-a-topic’. 

Other real life examples we’ve heard include ‘can-I-just-buy-new-clothes-instead-of-learning-how-to-use-the-washing-machine’ and ‘this-food-has-fungus-growing-on-it-but-I’m-too-broke-to-afford-anything-else’. 

Excerpt 9: Everyone Wants to Have Intellectual Opinions

To the fish served in the cafeteria: “A very…experimental concept.”

About someone’s poetry submission: “It elicited a…strong physiological reaction.”

At someone’s baby: “The…quintessential amalgamation of its parents.”

During a family member’s wedding: “…death is imminent and marriage is a failing social institution.”

Before an exam: “Our professors are looking down on us….from a place of privilege.”

Excerpt 10: There Are Two Kinds of Adults

Type 1 is an adult by a purely technical accident. They happened to turn eighteen or twenty or twenty one, or whatever the legal age of the country they’re living in. That’s their only qualification. 

Type 2 is an actual adult. Usually around twenty five or older, they have life firmly under control and exude confidence, mental balance, emotional stability and the sexiest thing of them all: basic competence. 

College is just about taking the unforgettable journey from Type 1 to Type 2. 

That’s all the wisdom you’ll need to make sense of your sometimes surreal academic journey. And definitely more useful than the -isms you’ll meet in your introduction to philosophy course. 


Via Flickr

[Cover Image Via Courtesy of Flickr]

22, INFJ, Sahana is an aspiring investigative journalist and writer studying at Waseda University. She loves reading, film photography, martial arts, writing fiction, debating, vanishing on unplanned hikes, listening to music and planning day trips. When she's not scribbling away, you'll find her searching Tokyo for the perfect cup of coffee, haunting the darkest part of a forest removed from humanity, or lost on the University campus and imploring seniors to decipher kanji for her. The average person has a 10/10 chance of getting into an argument with her.
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