Coming to Mount Union, I don’t think I fully understood what it meant to study at a “liberal arts” school. According to the dictionary, the definition is as follows: “the academic courses of instruction at a college intended to provide general knowledge and comprising the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences, as opposed to professional or technical subjects.” Mount Union tells students that the terms liberal arts comes from the Latin phrase “artes liberals” which can be translated to mean “the education of a free person.”
I remember when I was still looking at schools trying to decide which one to go to, and I really liked Mount, someone told me not to come here because “they make you take a bunch of useless classes.” I basically ignored that comment and did what I felt was right and came here. I wondered to myself, “why would the college make you take useless classes? There would be no point to that.”
The liberal arts studies really does relate to the definitions in the first paragraph because they require that students take classes not only in their major, but in a variety of areas to ensure that we are getting the most well-rounded experience while being in classes. It doesn’t give students just one point of view, but instead helps students to gain perspectives from all fields and departments.
All students are required to have at least one major and one minor. I guess the school was talking recently about making minors optional but they decided to keep them when it was put to a vote. I have at times dreaded the classes that are outside my major, specifically science. I’ve thought at times that these classes seem like a waste of my time since I won’t be going into science for my future career, but after all is said and done, they have been really interesting. I took a biology lecture and a geology lecture and lab. Geology is all about the earth and its layers, reading maps, volcanoes, lakes, oceans and rocks. It’s actually interesting though, who knew?! It makes me appreciate the work that geologists do on a daily basis in their careers and it makes me think a lot more about things that we all take for granted. And although I’m not a history buff or a big fan of geography, it is useful to know certain things and there is such a variety in classes you can take.
My favorite class that I’ve taken at Mount in the past three years is definitely Intercultural Communication. If you are planning to go to school here or if you already are enrolled, you should take this class. It consists of half American students and half international students. There are students in my class studying at Mount from Japan, Ireland, China, Vietnam, India, Russia, Germany and Malaysia. The reason I love this class so much is because studying abroad was something that I always wanted to do. But once I got to college, I never wanted to leave the campus. Although I do understand this is different than being completely immersed in a culture … being in this class, hearing all of the different accents and being able to learn first-hand about all of these cultures, is so fascinating.
Every day in that class, we have group discussions and are able to speak with different people and talk about their experiences growing up in other countries. We talk about what it was like to learn English and other aspects of the culture. Ahhh, I loooove it! Today, we had a discussion about the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was interesting to hear the perspective that people from other cultures have on this very heated topic.
I’m sure I will have more to say about this class in the future because it really is so interesting. I have met so many great people and made really cool friendships. I would not trade this class for anything and as I said before, I highly suggest you take it, whether you are a communication major or not!
-Shannon : )