I bet you’ve heard the phrase “the value of a liberal arts education” a few times. To most this simply means learning many disciplines, taking courses in every subject, learning to think from multiple perspectives. While all of this is true, I think my Holy Cross experience, particularly through my major, has helped embody this phrase in a unique way.
When i tell people I am a Studies in World Literatures major, the first thing I get asked is that even a real major? Did you self design your major? To clarify, STWL is in fact a real major, which consists of reading, analyzing, and comparing literature and texts from different societies and cultures. Not only do I read literature, but my liberal arts experience at Holy Cross has allowed me to expand my knowledge of literature and the human experience far beyond words found in a book. I’ve learned to analyze the human experience and gain insight into human psychology in ways far deeper than I ever imagined. The courses I have taken have given me such a profound depth of knowledge about humans and the literature we create. Essentially, I am learning about the deepest parts of human psychology and experience as literature exists as an expression of human emotion.
I’ve studied Muslim and Christian art through out history, read ancient Russian fairytales, studied French Cinema, delved into the depths of the Philosophy of Literature, studied Feminist Literary criticism, listened to opera and musical stylings of literature through the Romantic Movement, taken studio art and printmaking bringing literature and expression into yet another artistic form.
I can honestly say my educational journey through my four years at Holy Cross has been a completely transformative experience. I am not the same person I was as a freshman. I have gained so much insight and knowledge by studying these different literatures, forms of expression, fictional characters, and societies and cultures. I’ve learned to question my own beliefs and think about who I am as a person. Instead of viewing a situation simply from my own personal point of view, I’ve learned to think outside the box, ponder situations from multiple perspectives and through the influences of art, music, film, and literature. I’ve also learned a greater sense of self expression for myself and I’ve become an excellent communicator.
Furthermore, Holy Cross has afforded me the opportunity to take my liberal arts and STWL education beyond the classroom, into Worcester, and into my own life. I think most importantly my major has taught me about the different facets of human experience. I have learned to understand people, sense how they feel, and why they are compelled to do certain things. This translates everyday into my life and I consider this one of the greatest gifts Holy Cross has given me for I feel I have become a better person. I have become a better friend, a more caring daughter, a nicer stranger. I have become a people person and my studies have allowed me to feel greater compassion for others and become more aware of my own actions and how they affect others. I now find myself wanting to understand others so I can help them in their lives. The Jesuit ideals of men and women for others comes to my mind.
Compared to myself as a freshman, I have made tremendous personal growth. I am so thankful for everything Holy Cross has given me, my liberal arts education and STWL major being just one of them.