And that, ladies and gentlemen, was a sweet lyric from one of my ‘SCHOOL’S OUT!’ playlist songs, “Graduation (Friends Forever)” by Vitamin C. Brings me back to every last-day-of-school celebration ever. You should listen to it as you read this because that’s what I’m doing and it’s really bringing on the reflection vibes. So let’s get to it.
So why did I take this professionalism course nicely titled “Liberal Arts at Work”? Honestly, at first I signed up because I thought it was going to be a simple course. I’ve applied for jobs! I have a resumé! I know how to be professional and stuff! I thought as I enrolled.
But I learned so much more than I thought I would during my time in this course (even though it was dreadfully at 8 am every Tuesday – it was only once a week, so it was not that bad – I still went to every class but one). I learned how to make a much cleaner resumé than I had before, and now cover letters are not as daunting. And I learned proper interview skills.
Coming into the class, I did not understand the value of it, but liberal arts and humanities majors like myself should definitely get professionalism training before they graduate because along with the professionalism knowledge gained, the students in this class will also get a bit of an ego and confidence boost.
Well what makes you say that, Julia? Aren’t English majors already confident with themselves because they chose a major they get to show off their skills in?
That’s funny you think that, dear reader, because that’s not necessarily how it is day-to-day. Sure, as an English major myself, I know that my strengths are shown through my writing, but going through my undergraduate career, it was not uncommon to hear negative comments coming from my peers who weren’t on the same track as I was. Their comments had to do a lot with future income and life success, which is not necessarily something I focus my career goals on (I’d rather look at happiness and money that comes with it).
Taking this class reaffirmed my decision in becoming an English and journalism major with a minor in theatre. It renewed my confidence in what I am choosing to do with my life – which might end up somewhere not at all related to my degree – and proved to me that my choice in undergraduate programs is making me a flexible worker for the future. I will not be stuck in one field where the work is repetitive for the rest of my life. Instead, with this degree, I can use the skills I have acquired and revised over the past three years to make my career great.
This course makes total sense to have for liberal arts majors because throughout other coursework, we are trained to believe that we will live a life of being a teacher or lonely starving author stuck in a cold studio apartment in New York City (which really doesn’t sound that bad… But there is so much more than that for us!).
I recently came across this article in USA Today. The headline is: “Millennials will take a happier workplace over better pay.” While I find on occasion I don’t really fit in with “the millennial stereotype” present in today’s day and age, I definitely belong to the statistic found in this article. I mean, I just wrote a couple paragraphs ago that happiness was important to me when it comes to a career. I believe that if you aren’t happy where you are working, what’s the point?
Here’s an excerpt:
“Even though most Millennial employees are happy at work — 86% — nearly half are actively looking for a new job, or at least open to new opportunities.
The data point out just how far the country’s largest workforce is willing to go in pursuit of a meaningful career over a cozy paycheck.”
This is totally true! And it continues with a personal story:
“Which means that if one job doesn’t have what Millennial employees are looking for, they’ll move on. That’s what Laura Arnold did in 2011 after growing tired of the ‘soul-crushing’ environment she experienced working as a paralegal at a real estate foreclosure law firm. The 31-year-old ended up leaving for a job in advertising and marketing that paid her the same salary as her paralegal gig, but offered a more positive workplace.
‘I look for a role where work actually gets done and I’m challenged,’ says Arnold, who lives in Cincinnati. ‘Getting new skills and things you can take with you if things go south or you wanted to leave is really more valuable than an extra couple thousand dollars.'”
Arnold’s story captures this movement perfectly – I know that after graduation next year, I don’t want to end up in a job as a 22-year-old where my days are repetitive and unchallenging. Instead, I’d like to work somewhere like Arnold, where “work actually gets done and I’m challenged.” In this class, I have learned how to take my strengths and skills as a liberal arts and humanities major and apply them to tasks, whether through schoolwork or jobs.
Oh, and I also found this article, which makes me connect to my age group of Millennials even more. I think it is safe to say that this will come in handy with my future career as well, but at least when I hit stressful situations, I can remember this class and “all the times we spent together” to get me closer to success.