In my search for other students blogging about their experiences at Wheaton, I came across the personal blog of Bond '14. In this post, Bond writes about the benefits he sees in receiving a liberal arts education.
As you new Wheaton students are settling into new schedules and routines, I’m sure your asking yourselves and others, “I’m a Business major so why am I in Art Survey? I’m a Philosophy major so why am I in Physics? I’m a Spanish major so why am I in Anthropology?” I know this because my friends and I asked the same questions, and we spent three years trying to figure it out. I do not wish the same on you. I want you to know the meaning and significance of a liberal education as you begin your time at Wheaton, so you can take full advantage of your opportunity. Liberal education presents students with at least 6 major benefits, according to Robert Harris from the book On the Purpose of a Liberal Education:
1. Liberal education teaches students how to think
Think of it this way: your brain is a muscle. A strong muscle needs to be worked out correctly. Its exercises cannot be repetitive for then the muscle will adapt and cease its development. Therefore, the brain needs to be drilled in different techniques for the variety makes the brain into a more useful tool for critical thinking and analysis. In return, these workouts aid you, the learner, to think for yourself by connecting dots throughout concepts and principles in various frameworks.
2. Liberal education teaches students how to learn
It allows students to develop the required skills to become lifelong learners, which will come in handy when absorbing new information and strategies needed to perform in your careers with excellence.
3. Liberal education allows students to see things whole
The opportunity to study outside of a specific major or path will advance your developing worldview. This concept is crucial to liberal education’s structure and purpose for the world’s majors and industries are not divided; all aspects in life affect how the world goes round. A broader view will allow you to live a systematic life with a wide range of understanding of different contexts.
4. Liberal education enhances students’ wisdom and faith
This is one of the most important aspects of a liberal education, for gaining wisdom is one of the highest callings from God. Throughout the educational journey you will learn to see who you are and what you need to modify to become a better human being.
5. Liberal education makes students better teachers
You may not be going into a teaching profession, but we are all teachers at some point. We inform daily by sharing our understanding and knowledge about life. Every time we communicate there is an exchange of teaching and learning.
6. Liberal education contributes to students’ happiness
Knowing more about life increases pleasure. As stated by Harris, “a cultivated mind enjoys itself and life,” and, “knowledge makes you smarter and smarter makes you happier.” It’s been proven that people who are highly educated have higher satisfaction in life.
At the end of the day, we should all know what we are doing here at Wheaton, which one of those reasons is to study liberally. We are all truly blessed to have the opportunity to be liberally educated, and I hope you take full advantage of its benefits as you learn, grow and develop.
To read more student's thoughts on the Liberal Arts, check out the winners of last year's Liberal Arts Essay Contest >