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Pre-Life

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Autor:   •  April 19, 2017  •  Essay  •  1,131 Words (5 Pages)  •  27 Views

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Pre-Life

        Life has no guarantees. However, a quality education helps hedge your bet for success. When applying for college the ubiquitous question is “What is your intended major?” This question strikes fear in the hearts of most applicants because, for the most part, they simply do not know the answer. The essays Is College Doomed, by Graeme Wood and Necessary Edges: Arts, Empathy, and Education, by Yo-Yo Ma explore the merits of a liberal arts education using very different examples which ultimately lead to the same end. Higher education should train a student’s mind to think in ways which will most benefit the student for a lifetime no matter what specific path they take. Exposure to a thoughtfully curated, broadly based, liberal arts education reveals to the student which foundation to build their life upon. The goal of the undergraduate education should be to provide each student with a solid answer to the field of study question using the liberal arts model.

        The broad base of information that a university liberal arts program affords its students provides a great opportunity to sample a wide variety of paths to help students decide which one to pursue if the information is presented in an organized cohesive manner and not just a series of course for the student to put together. “There is nothing new under the sun,” “everything old is new again,” these popular quotes attest to the universality of ideas our world shares. Across all ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, and geographic lines people draw knowledge and inspiration from common threads. Shakespeare borrowed from the ancient Greeks to enhance his writings and to make them familiar to his readers as did J.K. Rowling in her widely popular Harry Potter series over 300 years later. Raphael a famous renaissance painter is widely known for his “School of Athens” fresco done in approximately 1509 A.D.  Its characters and themes date back more than a millennium and embody the ideas and ideals of art, music, science, and mathematics all working together to create societies of educated people and encourage new ideas and discoveries. These artists and their works are just the types of things that a classic liberal arts education exposes students to. According to Ma, “the values behind art integration-collaboration, flexible thinking, and disciplined imagination -lead to the capacity to innovate,” (258).  He goes on to say that “STEAM will help us get there by resolving the education problem. Kids will then go to school because it is a passion and a privilege, not a requirement,” (259).  Ma’s unique position as a successful, working, modern cellist makes a compelling argument for the merits of a structured liberal arts education. People like to see results. It is motivating for students to see real examples of what their hard work achieve. Ma’s writing offers a clear view for students looking for a course of action and a safe harbor in which to pursue innovating career paths that can advance society.

        Using a well thought out curriculum that offers students choices from a wide array of subjects teaches them to think, integrate, and innovate across traditional lines. Just as those who came before us borrowed from those who came before them, our society continues to do the same.  This creates a framework in which people can live and work together. Many students feel at a disadvantage is they are unsure what they want to study after high school, imparting the Miranda  idea that a “liberal-arts education is about developing the intellectual capacity of the individual, and learning to be a productive member of society. And you cannot do that without a curriculum,” (Graeme page 509) will help students that they do not have to be pre-med, or pre-law, or pre-business to be a productive member of society. However taking indiscriminate coursework does not provide the foundation required to pick a useful path, “General education is nonexistent. It’s effectively a buffet, and when you have a non-curated academic experience, you effectively don’t get educated. (Graeme page 509) Graeme goes on to say that a Minerva education ( a new style of online education addressed in Graeme’s essay) begins with “taking the same four “Cornerstone courses,” which introduce core concepts and ways of thinking that cut across the sciences and humanities.” (509)  This concept of the liberal arts education is what will best help college students to succeed in the future because it will teach them how to think in complex ways when working across multiple disciplines.  Ironically, while touted as new and innovative, it seems to be a new packaging for an old idea; an idea that worked for Plato and his teaching methods and continues to work in today’s world; proving that while there may not be anything new under the sun, innovative ways of presenting ideas in the context of the students’ current society foster’s innovation which opens the door to infinite possibilities. Additionally, since Minerva’s small, on-line school model is one that lends itself to rapid expansion, it could very well ignite a demand for structured liberal –arts courses of study.   This presents many exciting possibilities for education in a world that for many years has demanded that a student seeking higher education had to be pre-something.

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