Lifestyle

The Value of a Liberal Arts Degree

Our liberal arts degree has prepared us as young professionals gearing up to travel the world. Will and I both chose to acquire a liberal arts degree from a private, four year college. We are accomplished graduates that don’t currently hold jobs in our specific career field. Guess what? We still use our degrees everyday. Our individual degrees are just one part of the whole experience of our college education.

Kennady graduated from Converse College in May 2017 with a bachelor's degree in Art Therapy!

As students of Converse College and Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, we were encouraged to explore different areas humanities and social sciences as well as our declared majors. A liberal arts education fleshes out personal strengths and teaches transferable skills to an individual contributing to the world. This more generalized style of learning encuorages individual leadership, collaboration with others, and creative problem solving in addition to a degree.

Converse College adheres to values such as excellence, integrity, exploration, diversity, respect, community, and progress. In the entirety of my education, I was encouraged to “see clearly, decide wisely, and act justly.” Wofford College instills values such as “excellence in character, performance, leadership, service to others and life-long learning.” (Both of these statements were found on the individual websites of the colleges, and not written by me).

Will graduated from Wofford College in May 2016 with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor study in Religious Studies!

Benefits of a Liberal Arts Degree

Together, we have created a list of several benefits we have received from our liberal arts degree. We use these skills every day to make ourselves more marketable, more relatable, and more hirable.

  • Creative Writing Skills
    • In just about every course, Will and I were required to write seemingly endless papers and essays. Who knew this would be so handy later on? Now we use this skill to freely write about our passions through our blog in a clear and informative way!
  • Critical Thinking Skills
    • We were encouraged to approach the world with questions and create better opportunities both in the workplace and for ourselves. (Our writing assignments often included critical thinking of some sort). We value growth and adaptability. Critical thinking is key to widening your scope of success.
  • Problem Solving Skills
    • As a constructive member of society, it is important to be able to approach problems with emotional intelligence and a willingness to find a solution. We were encouraged to work collaboratively and openly with those around us. Our critical thinking skills go hand-in-hand with finding creative, new solutions to everyday and interpersonal problems.
  • Research Experience
    • Many hours of research were inevitable with our writing assignments week in and week out. We are experienced with gathering information from reliable sources, asking the right questions, and evaluating conclusions. We use often our research experience in job searching, travel planning, self improvement, and many more situations.
  • Leadership Skills
    • Colleges that offer a liberal arts education often have a small student body. Because of this, leadership and community involvement opportunities are easily accessible. We were encouraged to be a team leader and a team builder. Learning how to be emotionally intelligent leaders in our workplace has helped us advance to higher positions in our job fields and competitively raise our income. Consequently, Will and I have both had experiences being promoted to management positions in less than a year of employment.
  • We developed one-on-one relationships with professors and mentors.
    • We were known as a name, and not just a number, among our student body. Even our college presidents know us by name. Our tiny student to professor ratio allowed us to experience personal relationships with our teachers. Many of our professors knew us personally and were able to adjust our courses and adhere to our learning styles as needed. They were, and still are, readily available to us as resources. We still keep in contact with several professors, even as an graduates. 
  • Diversity and Community were at the core of our curriculums.
    • We learned about the world’s history, not western history, or just our history. Viewing the world from diverse perspectives has fueled our passion for travel and built up our faith in humanity. We learned how to understand our perspective of the world, and how we can use it to build the world around us. We are determined to use our experiences to create a more inclusive environment in our communities across the globe.
  • We explored several diverse interests through academic study.
    • Numerous studies have shown that the average person changes careers up to seven times in their lifetime. We had the opportunity to study various subjects beyond our declared majors. This has shaped us into well rounded humans with multiple passions. We recognize this and use it to provide us with opportunities for success and growth.
  • Dialogue is encouraged in the classroom.
    • Our professors cared about our opinions and often used them to prompt classroom dialogue. We learned how to healthily disagree with, learn from, and collaborate with peers different from us. This experience helped us acquire strong oral skills in the professional workplace and improved our emotional intelligence. We value communicating with respect and integrity, always.
  • We educated ourselves through passion and interest, not by necessity.
      • As adults we continue this thirst for education because we were shown that it doesn’t have to be a chore! College was an experience that shaped us as individuals with a mind, not just a number in the workforce with a steady income and a 401K.
  • We were given out-of-the-classroom experience with real people, solving real world problems.
      • Will and I were fortunate to have multiple experiences in volunteering, internships, and community excursions. Will went on study abroad trips that took him to places such as Vienna and Israel. These opportunities helped us learn more about what we value and how we want to contribute to the world around us.
  • We were taught that individualistic thinking has value.
      • We were encouraged to communicate our ideas clearly and learned how to cultivate those ideas into reality through leadership and exploration. Being able to recognize your individual worth and potential is a vital part of personal success.
  • We sharpened our interpersonal skills by practicing empathy and teamwork in almost every environment.
      • This goes hand-in-hand with our leadership opportunities and classroom dialogue. It makes us valuable employees in the workforce and sets us apart from the typical individual.
  • Creative writing, public speaking, and group collaboration were required in every class.
    • These skills are used in almost every workplace environment. We practiced them so often in college that it is now a breeze as adults. Thanks to our liberal arts education, we know how to use our sharpened social skills to succeed and accomplish our professional and personal goals.
In the summer of 2015, a Wofford study abroad program allowed Will to participate in an archeological dig along the Sea of Galilee in Northern Israel. (Photo by Haapanen Photography)

For many work environments, someone with a liberal arts degree can be the key to success.

Through this course of education, you gain the ability to bridge business structures with a personal touch. As a result, this creates the opportunity to expand your network, encourage staff morale in the workplace, and provide a more positive experience with clients and employees overall.

To some, it can be overwhelming to have an educational experience that leads to so many open doors and possibilities. If you are like us and haven’t started your career in your field of study, we challenge you to change the perspective of your situation. What we see is the freedom of choice and the opportunity to cultivate a work environment that is meaningful and rewarding. Thanks to our liberal arts degree, we have the tools to build our own path of success, market ourselves to our advantage, and find success in the little things.

Art Therapy is one of Kennady's greatest passions. While at Converse, she had hands-on experience working with children, elderly folks, adults with severe mental illness, and county jail inmates.

Disclaimer: We recognize that many of the things we listed can be obtained in other educational revenues and are not exclusive to a liberal arts education. Our points work cohesively to create one large, wholesome, educational experience.