Springboard your career with a liberal major


By Minju Park

In my experience as a creative writing major, many peers and adult figures have questioned and muddled over my decision of choosing a major that may seem difficult to apply in the workforce. But more liberal majors such as linguistics and religion are just as suitable, or even more so applicable, in aiding students to succeed in the career field.

In high school, it was more simple to go through our day without contemplating what interests us as a career potential. Rather, it was a robotic sequence of eight periods, filled with vigorous classes with the sole goal of becoming accepted into a prestigious university. In college, many of these students revert back to this philosophy that we utilized in high school — when lacking individual direction, following a structured blueprint leads to success. In high school, this was the overloaded coursework of AP’s and IB’s while in college, it may be compared to the pre-professional programs such as business, medicine or law. It isn’t necessarily that these directions demote creativity or free thinking in the slightest. On the contrary, many students pursuing these programs have a true interest in the topics that they’re studying. The problem arises when students believe that simply holding a major in a pre-professional track will guarantee their future success.

In the professional field, employers search for a broad variety of skills, not just technical capability. The Association of American Colleges & Universities cites that the criteria employers are sought after in college graduates includes “the ability to write and speak well,” “the ability to be creative and innovative in solving problems” and “the ability to think clearly about complex problems”. This can incorporate a variety of majors, not just pre-professional ones.
The Creative Writing department here at our University states the major “develops students’ analytical and creative skills and prepares them for work or graduate study in any number of fields.” This is a strong component of a job applicant that employers claim to search for. Students need to realize the vast amount of choices in majors that are available, many of which are just as capable as pre-professional majors in spring-boarding them into a career that they are interested in.

Students may want to consider a double-major or a minor in certain subjects to supplement their interest and to learn new skills. For example, the communications department states its major prepares students to “become critical thinkers, avid consumers of information and effective problem solvers in both their personal and professional lives.” These are extremely useful skills to have in a vast variety of fields and can be applied to nearly any career. For example, when working with a marketing or a graphics team, an individual with a communications background will be able to provide the necessary skills to actively and successfully convey ideas to the general public. In addition, majors such as philosophy can be utilized to create a strong foundation of logic and reasoning for a future career path in law or public service. Even a major in Latin can aid a student in biology, as many medical terms often utilize Latin root phrases making the process of memorizing and understanding the terms an easier experience.
In fact, it was precisely this mindset that led me into pursuing a major in creative writing, as a stable foundation of writing skills will help me into prospering in a variety of fields — whether it be writing as a journalist, applying for medical school or conducting research in a lab.

Liberal arts majors aren’t just topics of interest that are pursued out of the flippant excuse that they’re “fun”. Instead, they allow for the exploration of creative thought and innovative problem solving, while also laying down valuable skill sets that may be applied to a multitude of professional careers. These students are often what employers are searching for, holding criteria that surpass the lines of a typical résumé.

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    Minju is a freshman in LAS.

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