The Noble Pursuit of Art History

By David Soltis

One of the biggest decisions one must make while in college is what major to pick. It seems as if, in today’s academic world, the goal of college is to graduate with a degree for a major one enjoys, or at least believes is best for him or her, and then to get a job in the field directly correlated to that major. College is seen as an investment one pays today in order to make a sustainable income throughout life. This can be seen in student views on education: dragging their feet to go to classes outside of their major, or always saying the classic line, “when will I ever use this.” Students are mostly only in the things that seem  important for them to be their version of successful. It even seems that colleges have this belief. They accept students who they believe will be successful with that hope that the university will benefit from successful students, preferable in monetary ways.
Success seems to then interfere with what major one will pick. People seem to want to take majors in fields like business, management, or engineering that seem to provide jobs at a relatively easy access and with a certain standard pay and security. Possibly then even limiting many to picking a major one truly does not enjoy. Maybe college should not be for this goal. College is about a pure pursuit of knowledge. Especially in a liberal arts college such as CUA. Part of being in a liberal arts school means understanding parts from all facets of education. This should mean that History majors should still be able to understand math. And then with this idea maybe snickering at the more obscure majors such as Art History or Medieval and Byzantine Studies should end. If liberal arts education was more about  pursuing knowledge and not the end result of competing to be successful in the work world, we would be more united as scholars and not separated by majors. This then would also help to create a professional world that allowed people with all different sorts of majors to hold any type of career. Allowing good, intelligent people to hold good jobs, not just people who have a certificate that says they have studied numbers. Then throughout growing as scholars together, we can find what truly interests us and discover what we truly want to do.
The days where college was for people to pursue academics is over. The whole idea of studying in order find personal enlightenment in order to become a more fulfilled person. There seems to be a limited scope that one can only work in the field.  This concept seems in part to disregard parts of the college liberal arts. This however almost seems to defeat the point of a liberal arts education. Now I know that here at the Catholic University of America there is definitely an emphasis on partaking in many classes outside of ones major.  It is great that college and education is available for so many more people but it seems that this influx of people makes it even more important for people to monitor how they learn, and learn so that they can achieve true academic enlightenment.
So I am going to keep my Art History major. I am going keep my Art History Major because I am doing something that I enjoy and something that I think will make me a better person once I am done with school. This does not mean that I do not think math or science is a good thing and worth to pursue. I encourage everyone to pick something that interests them and something that they will enjoy and understand that success will come from hard work, regardless of what field you are working in.

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