As a liberal arts major, I often get asked if it’s a real major. You may think this is a question posed by ignorant relatives. It’s not. Most of the time it’s by fellow students.
Day one of my first class of my final semester at UMKC found me sitting next to a history major. While we politely chatted, the usual questions came up: What year are you? Have you taken classes with this professor before? What’s he like? What’s your major? I proudly answered, “Liberal Arts with a minor in communication studies.”
He was confused. “That’s a major?” he asked. “Most definitely,” I replied. “It allows me to take pretty much any class I want.” He then cracked a joke about liberal arts sounding like a major in “undecided.”
If this had been the first time I had heard such remarks, I may have been offended. However, many students express similar opinions about the liberal arts degree. Most do not even know the program exists.
For me, majoring in liberal arts was the perfect decision. I began here as an American Studies major, soon switching to English, and then to Education. When I decided teaching was not for me, I did not want to start from scratch. After all, I was a senior. My brilliant advisor suggested Liberal Arts as a way to keep all of my past credits but still graduate in a reasonable amount of time.
This major has allowed me to take classes which I did not even know were available — everything from film to history to journalism classes. My only regret is that I did not begin my college career as a liberal arts major.
Maybe my problem was the pressure. As soon as I began college, I knew the “major clock” was ticking. I was told remaining undecided too long would hurt me in the long run. So I jumped too soon (a few times) into majors that really weren’t for me.
Next fall I’m jumping again, this time into the Interior Design program at Johnson County Community College. I feel good about this choice, but I know I’ll be okay if it doesn’t work out. I have all of the skills I need to be successful.
So, maybe this is the perfect major for the “undecided” student. To me undecided was always a dirty word thrown around by the kids who had nailed down their career goals in the fifth grade. Unfortunately, that was never me. Maybe this is for the kids who want to be something different every day.