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Finding the Liberal Arts

December 4, 2012   

I spent the weekend desperately reconfiguring my once-perfect schedule for the spring.  A new plan for my German course had huge, unforeseen ramifications—mainly, that I could no longer enroll in a physics class.  Thus, I set out in pursuit of a new scientific exploit.

On this search, however, I soon encountered road blocks.  Course registration was weeks ago; the entire Hamilton student-body has had its pick of classes, filling seats in many intriguing classes.  Most of my initial searches were in vain.

“Try environmental science,” my older sister suggested.  Full.

“Try chemistry,” suggested my father.  The one section which fit in my schedule—also full.

My mother eventually asked, “is there anything in business or marketing you could take?”  Well, technically.  While Hamilton doesn’t explicitly offer a course in business, there are more economics courses than I will have time to take.  My experience with business and markets will be by no means limited in the years to come.

In fact, despite my apparent difficulties, there were myriad classes still available to me.  There were some college courses that caught my eye—one that analyzes the American food-system and another that studies the history of Adirondack State Park.  Of course, this is to say nothing of the countless English and history courses that have piqued my interest….

It would have been easy to enroll in one of these courses; my satisfaction would have been all but guaranteed.  But I didn’t.  Ultimately I found a computer science course that fit my schedule; though I am considering enrolling in biology. 

Intellectual curiosity is probably the most rewarding trait a person can have; if you can find satisfaction in simply learning, you will never be bored.  However, sometimes it is incredibly difficult to satisfy.  You will do cartwheels and backflips, you will bend over backwards just to find something new.  I won’t select another course in the humanities because there are so many other fields I want to research.

But isn’t the point of a liberal arts education to probe your intellectual horizons?  I think my schedule will ultimately be worth the hassle.