Going into the college search, there were a lot of things I didn’t know. There seemed to be a whole new vocabulary of words and terms that applied to college that I didn’t have prior knowledge of. One of those terms was liberal arts. From the word itself and how it was used I began to build my own understanding of it, but it wasn’t until I was at Hope experiencing Liberal Arts for myself that I began to really understand and appreciate a Liberal Arts education.
I was always told that liberal arts was essentially a school were you had to take classes that weren’t for your major. That is all I really understood though. It didn’t make sense to me why anyone would choose to take classes that weren’t for their major or why someone would choose to go to a school that required them to do that. I remember talking to many friends who all had different views on liberal arts schools. Some preferred them, and some were avoiding them. This all just made me more confused though and harder to make up my own mind. I ended up deciding on Hope with that still confused idea of what a Liberal Arts education was.
Specifically, for me as a psych major, I feel that the way the Liberal Arts education has benefited me the most is through allowing me to explore a little to see what it is I am passionate about. I came in as a Psych major thinking I wanted to get into child psychology. I began to hear more about Social Work though and became really interested in it. I took a few Social Work classes but in the end, I decided that Psych was still a better fit for me, and I wasn’t even setback for having tried those classes. I was very conflicted before I took the classes though, and I think that, had I not been given the chance to explore, I would have continued my major with doubts about whether or not I was in the right place. Thankfully, a Liberal Arts education has allowed me to be confident in my decisions.
I’ve been at Hope for two years now, and it has become a lot clearer to me what a liberal arts education is and how it can benefit me. A Liberal Arts education primarily works at giving me a well-rounded education. I feel more confident in my abilities in all different areas and disciplines and not just in my major. A Liberal Arts education has shown me the connections between different disciplines helping me to get a broader and more creative view of my own major while also helping me to understand others and what they are working towards in their majors. I am grateful for having fallen in love with a liberal arts college even though I didn’t know what that meant at the time. I am only half way through, and I already see the rewards from my decision.