Well, I guess it’s finally that time of the semester, where everything we learned in all of our classes is finally coming together, and we begin stressing about finals or life beyond an educational setting. It’s the time where we begin to look back on the semester and (hopefully) grasp the full understanding of what our professors, teachers, and educators were trying to drill into us all this time. For some it’s only a time to say I’ll see you next year when classes start, while others will be thinking to themselves, “Well it’s finally that time where I step out of an institution that has been a big part of my life, and step out of the world of education and into my chosen career path.”
As a graduating senior I have taken many memorable classes, which have changed the way I have looked and thought about things. However, one course really stands out, because it wasn’t about what to do when I have a job, instead it covered what to do when I applied for a job.
As liberal arts and humanities majors we are taught how to be expressive, and how to be adaptable in almost any setting we find ourselves, but the one thing we don’t get much practice in is how to start our careers, and apply for the jobs we want when we graduate. Often times for liberal arts majors there are different requirements that must be fulfilled to begin work in specific fields, in some cases a portfolio is needed to showcase the previous work you have done, while other times the only thing it takes is some amazing networking skills and an impressive résumé.
When I first signed up for this professionalism course it was because as an English major I actually never learned how to really write a résumé or cover letter (not to mention I also needed another elective to be considered a full time student). I mean I had some crash courses on how they were supposed to look, but was never really taught the intricacies involved in actually developing a résumé or cover letter that was tailored to specific jobs and positions.
Students starting out and enrolled in the humanities and liberal arts majors should be encouraged, and possibly even required to take classes like Dr. Szwydky’s “Liberal Arts at Work: A professionalization Workshop”, because it’s a good way to show students there is a world of opportunities awaiting those that chose a major in the humanities and liberal arts. Classes like this help tear down the stereotypical thinking that there is nothing out there for us except teaching (Even though I have chosen to become a teacher), but rather it teaches us to expand our horizons and tailor ourselves to the job we want.
Dr. Szwydky’s class taught us not only how to prepare for interviews, network, and write résumés and cover letters, it also taught us how to reflect on our different experiences in order to set ourselves apart by discovering skills and interests we might have never known we had. It is one of those classes where you are expecting to learn only certain professional skills, but come out of it almost as if you are a completely new person.
The humanities and liberal arts prides themselves on creating some of the most well rounded students there are, because we are not taught to follow one specific career path, instead we are taught to find what interests us and follow our own path. It is my belief however that to be truly well rounded we do need training on how to be professionals, because when we combine that with traditional liberal arts courses we not only create free thinkers, but we create a working force that is ready to accomplish anything. As liberal arts majors we don’t work for our careers, we make our careers work for us, and we do it in a way that can change the world.
So as I finally begin edging closer and closer to the date of graduation I can finally answer the question on what am I going to do/be with my liberal arts major when people ask me, and the answer to that question is this, “Hello my name is Joseph and I can do almost anything I set my mind to with my liberal arts degree.”