Liberal Arts

3 March 2017

Shayan AzizBaeigi Eng 100 A letter came in the mail reading, ‘congratulations on being accepted into the Engineering program of your choice! ‘ A close friend of mine asked me a question that got me thinking, why did I choose to major in Engineering? While growing up I always talked about becoming a successful engineer someday and here I was now, following my dream. Since being a kid I remember my parents always telling me to follow my dream and never let anything get in the way of it.? I remember being told and acknowledge that the sciences are for the smart students while Art subject are for the lazier students.

As a result, students are gradually becoming less interested in Liberal Arts. People have chosen Science subjects over Art subjects because they believe that less intelligent students study arts, getting a good job is difficult in the arts field, and they are not willing to commit the time and money needed to study arts.

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In the article “The Liberal Arts: Preserving Humanity,” Jennifer Urbanek talks about how Liberal Arts has lost popularity due to peoples’ increased interest in modern activities.

She also talks about how people want to get rid of Liberal Arts courses and focus on areas of study that lead to careers with a high paying salary. She then expands on what has lead to the decline of liberal art studies and it gaining a “negative reputation” (1-4). In Stanly Fish’s article, “The Last Professor,” he states that people are being na? ve to assume that the liberal art crisis is a short term discrepancy. He talks about how this has been happening for a long time and that we are unable to stop it from happening.

Stanley than goes on to talk about how timing is a great issue when studying liberal arts and how being born “too late or too early” is a factor (1-2). ??????????? The first reason that liberal arts have been decreasing in popularity and facing a disaster is due to the people being money-oriented. Therefore individuals are always trying to study a course that will enable them to get a well paying job in the future, which causes them not to follow their dreams. The “terrible stereotype of the starving artist” has lead to frighten people to do so (Urbanek 1).

In today’s world people value being rich more than having an education in a field of their interest. People generally go into fields that have higher salaries and not study for the sake of being passionate and interested in the subject. I had a friend who was actually planning to major in women studies but after doing research and communication she had change her mind as she was afraid of not having a “solid cushioning career to fall back on” (Urbanek 2). Even though woman studies help develop critical thinking and writing skills they still have limited job opportunities in the future. ?????????? The second reason for lost interest in liberal arts is the fact that it is more time consuming and expensive than majoring in other fields. People “no longer bother with” Liberal Art subjects such as Philosophy, Sociology and Dance (Urbanek 2). Those who gain a degree in humanities have spent more time and money than students who have achieved a degree in Science, and are considered to be “wasting time upon dead languages” (Carnegie qtd. in Fish). Also some liberal arts subjects require costly investments on equipments even before you can have any sort of education.

Therefore only people who “plan their college experience according to their own interest” are continuing with the study of liberal arts (Urbanek 2). ??????????? The last reason why liberal arts are being ignored is due to the fact that they are underestimated compared to other majors. Nowadays, people who study Liberal arts are assumed to not be as intelligent as students who are in science or business majors. For example, in my case, my parents and relatives were very proud that I was studying to become a mechanical engineer.

It always made me wonder if they would feel the same way if I had decided to major in humanities.? In Iran students have to choose when entering high school if they want to major in Science, Business or Arts. The majority of the students go for the sciences even if they do not have any interest in this field. This is due to the pressure the family exerts on them. This had lead to a lot of problems since majority of them end up not getting into university due to the high competition in this field.

Therefore many of them end up being uneducated even though these students have a special aptitude for liberal arts. ??????????????? In conclusion, the decrease in study of liberal arts looks serious even though “humanities professors like to think that this is a temporary imbalance and talk about ways of redressing it” (Fish 1). The recent education system has shown that interest in liberal arts is neglected even though it helps provide “intellectual flexibility, skills in self expression, and a universal understanding of diversity” (Urbanek 2-3).

Once upon a time notable scholars were studying the arts, reading and writing about history and sociology, understanding the world through education. We should be thankful for the developments Science and Business have brought to our world but is it worth loosing what was once important? Science and Business progressions have brought efficiency and effectiveness into our lifestyles which people are now incorporating into their education programs. Rather than devoting a life time to perfecting their understanding of subject students are choosing to study what they are not interested in to save time and money.

Those who choose to study Arts should not be looked down upon or seen as less intelligent, they should be encouraged. Without Liberal Arts, a big piece of our society will be lost as well as our ability to express ourselves and understand the diversity in our world. Work cited Fish, Stanley. “The last professor. ” The New York Times 18 January 2009. 25 May 2009 < http://fish. blogs. nytimes. com/2009/01/18/the-last- professor/? scp=1&sq=The%20last%20professor&st=cse> Urbanek, Jennifer. “The Liberal Arts: Preserving Humanity. ” Liberal Education : 42-43.

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