This semester, even though I’m not technically a senior, I am fulfilling my final general education requirement: Senior Seminar. As a freshman, Hope College requires students to take First-Year Seminar, an introduction into life as a college student, Then, as a senior, students take senior seminar, which is an opportunity to reflect on life before, during, and after college.
Each senior seminar class has a different focus – mine is focusing on Christianity in the marketplace. So far, we have disclosed the role that Christians are to play in helping the poor.
One really interesting assignment that we had was writing about our definition of a liberal arts education. I thought it would be interesting to share what my definition has become throughout my time at Hope. The following paragraphs include just some of my thoughts on a Liberal Arts degree.
As a freshman, I had an inaccurate view of what a Liberal Arts Education would involve. I understood that I would take classes in different disciples; however, I did not fully grasp the implications of my General Education classes. My understanding was that in attending Hope College I was required to take General Education classes, but I did not understand that they would help shape and mold the person that I was to become.
My views of a Liberal Arts Education have changed throughout my time at Hope. As a freshman, I believed that a Liberal Arts degree was simply familiarizing myself with different disciples. Now, I see Liberal Arts in a different light. Throughout my classes at Hope, beginning with FYS and concluding with Senior Seminar, vocation and calling are two heavily discussed topics. Taking classes in the differing studies and fields has helped me understand more what the Liberal Arts degree is about. The Liberal Arts degree is not about forcing students who dislike math and science to take those courses. Instead, the Liberal Arts degree encourages students to learn and grow in every facet of life. Leaving Hope College, I will have the foundational tools to be successful in any vocation or calling that I pursue. Because I have taken classes in art, music, English, literature, I am able to hold intelligent and meaningful conversations with those I come into contact. In addition, if I am asked to write reports, reflect on ideas, or just hold a professional meeting, I have taken the classes, through my Liberal Arts education, to do all of those successfully. And this is what a Liberal Arts education means to me: providing the foundational tools to succeed not only in my business life, but also my personal life.
I cannot imagine choosing another college. My time at Hope could be considered a rollercoaster. However, the lessons that I have learned here have changed my life. Who I am today is a result of what I have learned and been through at Hope. As I said in my FYS reflection, “High school taught me so many valuable lessons and gave me a taste for what learning was really like but in no way could it completely prepare me for what I have experienced so far in college.” No statement could more accurately reflect how I feel about my college experience. While I learned so many valuable lessons previous to arriving at Hope, the spiritual foundation, values, relationships, and skills in my major have been irreplaceable lessons.