In university, students of pretty much every major are required to take up a few courses like psychology, sociology or geography. It's natural to wonder why you, a science or business student, would need courses seemingly unrelated to your core syllabus. Read on, for this article will help you make sense of that very question.
Critical thinking skills
The graduates applying for a particular job already meet the CGPA bar set by the hiring company. So, what sets you apart from the fifteen other people who have applied to the same position? The answer is critical thinking. Employers don't just look for number-crunching minions, they look for people who can add value to the organization through intelligent insights and creativity. A 2014 survey by the Association of AmericanColleges and Universities shows that 93% of employers believe that a graduate's ability to think critically is more important than college major.
This is where liberal arts fit in. Unlike subjects where everything can be explained with specific formulae, liberal arts require you to evaluate things from your own perspective as well. This means that before reaching a conclusion about whether a major event in history had mostly good or bad impacts, you'll need to first understand the facts and then interpret them in your own way. You'll be equipped to develop multiple, unique perspectives, something very valuable to employers.
Individual university courses focus on only one area at a time. But once you start applying your learning in real life, you'll quickly realize that linear knowledge isn't enough.
Your knowledge of marketing tools is not useful if you don't understand how differences in cultural and social context require different marketing approaches. If you want to develop software, you first need to understand that user experience (UX) design is most effective when you know users' psyche.
Most of the time, you'll end up needing the things learnt from psychology, history or sociology to solve on-work and off-work problems.
Liberal arts teaches you this crucial lesson: people can have different opinions and still be right.
Self-reflection and improvement
The world is so small and diverse that you'll inevitably come across people whose views may challenge yours. How do you deal with such differences, especially if you're not a hermit and have to interact with neighbours and co-workers regularly?
If you ever study a history course, you'll see that historians often strongly disagree with each other on the same issue. Interestingly, most of them are right in one way or the other. Liberal arts teaches you this crucial lesson: people can have different opinions and still be right. There is more than one way of looking at things; learning this will liberate you and make you more open to ideas and constructive criticism.
In sum, liberal arts courses help you be better at life and work, even if they have seemed unnecessary to you at some point. As long as you can, do explore some of these courses in university regardless of your major.
Tasmiah is a senior at IBA, DU.