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Are Liberal Arts Still Alive

After our lecture on Monday I began to think about the ideals behind a liberal arts education. Originally the liberal arts were considered to be logic, grammar and rhetoric. Eventually the liberal arts evolved to include quadrivium, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music. After learning about the origins of a liberal arts degree I began to think about how it applies to a Colby College education. In thinking more about life at Colby I realized that there is in fact a clear divide between the two cultures. However, I do believe there are some exceptions to the cultural divide which has helped to keep the liberal arts alive.

When looking at colleges my search focused on liberal arts schools exclusively. Coming into college i believed that it was important to be well versed in many different concentrations rather than a single subject. While being at Colby I have taken a wide array of classes ranging from classical civilization to extraterrestrial life. While I consider myself to be a more science based thinker, I have still found all of the classes which I have taken to be interesting. However, many people here at Colby take classes which only focuses on the field in which the plan to pursue post graduation. While Colby encourages student to explore new fields and discover new interests many students would rather take classes which only count towards their major or minor.

While students at Colby are often determined to quickly get through their distribution requirements many students never experience a distribution requirement. There are many colleges and universities in which students enroll directly into their desired career path. However, I find it hard to believe that freshman students fully know what they want to pursue a career in without exploring all options. By opting out of taking courses in various departments it prevents students from potentially finding new passions or interests. The ideal of specializing in a single subject seems unrealistic. The reason being that every idea and thought in the world is not a stand alone issues. However, the greatest issues in the world require dynamic thinking and creative problem solving. It is for this reason that students should not be restricted to a single subject but rather should have the chance to learn about various subjects and their effects of society. However, todays education system puts more focus and importance on getting a job after college than becoming a well-rounded individual.

However, when I began to take classes in the Science, Technology, and Society field, I realized that not all students are focused on checking off boxes. In the two STS courses which I have taken during my time at Colby thus far I have found students who interests vary. In the course in which I took over the fall semester, Origins, there were computer science majors interested in creative writing, biology majors interested in refugee resources, and many more insightful students. Students who seek out STS as a field of study often understand that the world cannot be looked at through a single lens. What I began to realize through the courses I have taken in the STS department is that interdisciplinary fields allow for the liberal arts culture to survive.

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