“A liberal arts education provides perspective and raises the “why” question along with the “what” question” (Ruscio, 2012). In today’s society it is becoming more apparent that employers are looking for new employees to learn certain skills for the job more quickly than ever before. Ottawa University offers many degree options for students to learn and advance their careers with. There are various reasons why it is beneficial to go to a liberal arts university Ottawa University teaches students written and oral communication, critical thinking, and self-evaluation through self-assessment and exploration. Ottawa University's four breadth areas are Art/Expression, Social/Civic, Science/Description, and Value/Meaning. These areas are the areas students will work through and gain the knowledge needed to work, communicate efficiently, to think critically and learn quickly.
Art/Expression Breadth Area:
“Your real education at college will not consist merely of acquiring a giant pile of facts while you are here; it will be in the skill of learning itself” (Harris, 2010). As a child I always enjoyed music but when I learned to dance to all my favorite songs and create choreography in my spare time that is when I truly fell in love with music. I enjoyed watching music videos on the television and turning around and creating my own dance moves I wanted to the music the choreographed steps involving my legs and arms coupled with my facial expressions allowed me to create art. Through my teen years I continued to dance hip-hop and in high school I was part of creating a hip-hop club with other students who enjoyed music and dancing hip-hop as well. It was the best time I had learning from others and being involved in school programs and activities involving dancing. Hip-hop required my body to move in all sorts of ways such as bending, kneeling, and staying strong in my body expressions. Although dancing required hard work and dedication hip-hop provided me the capability of being physically fit mind and body I found it entertaining and fascinating to of entertained others even for just a few minutes with the art of hip-hop.
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Growing up my parents both knew and spoke five languages whenever they would be talking to friends or family and depending who they would be talking to depended on what language they would use as a child I found it fascinating to be able to hear so many different languages around me. By the time I had gotten to the third grade my teacher had realized I was reading English spoked books in one of the languages I spoke to my family at home instead of the primary language used which was English. As a child I felt I had done wrong and was not as smart as the other children spending my lunch hour with my teacher and understanding the difference between languages spoken at home and the language I had to speak at school. Although I had caught up with the other students in class and excelled in my class I had this self-reflecting thought of realizing I was different than the other children in my class I spoke different languages then they did. As I grew older I didn’t feel as if speaking other languages or being different was a bad thing I felt empowered by my knowledge of knowing them and feeling thankful to my parents for teaching me and always speaking them around me enough for me to always communicate with them.
Social/Civic Breadth Area:
While I may have believed I excelled in this area on the contrary my actual experiences tell me otherwise. While I was attending courses at my local community college I was able to enroll in many Social/Civic courses such as psychology, sociology, economics and history courses although I was able to advance my education my personality required more experience. Typically, I was more of a quiet and reserved person I didn’t talk or give my opinion much unless asked to do so. Thankfully, when I first started college I was a part-time volunteer at Banner Health and I was able help out where I was needed, stocking inventory stock rooms, helping clean rooms, and directing family members to where they needed to go. Working as a volunteer helped me talk to strangers better it showed me I didn’t need to be this quiet reserved woman who didn’t need to speak unless spoken to. It gave me the confidence I needed to discover I am a smart hard-working woman who could excel at any task that was thrown my way as long as I was willing to learn. Beneficially what I learned by volunteering my time at the hospital was to communicate effectively and I gained the experience to resolve unexpected issues on my own.
Science/Description Breadth Area:
Admittedly this breadth area is my strongest in my education history my strength has always been in math and science courses. My associate’s degree is in Science and although I wanted a career in the medical field it just didn’t work out for me but I enjoyed taking calculous courses and upper division science courses even organic chemistry even though its considered one of the toughest courses in science. When it came to Math courses I loved problem solving knowing there was only one correct answer it intrigued me to always work through formulas and get to the correct answer. Through all the science courses I have been able to take depending on the course I learned a different topic in each science subject from anatomy, biology, and chemistry. These courses strengthened my ability to learn about the human body, nature, and chemicals and together I was able to take what I learned at school and apply it to the jobs that I had in the past. By nature, I enjoy fixing things and resolving problematic situations which is why I do well in math and science courses. Although I don’t know if I will be using much of my science-based knowledge in my career I know I will definitely be incorporating math into my career when it comes to using equations and working with excel spreadsheets.
Value/Meaning Breadth Area:
Although I have been through some really trying tough times in my life it has molded me into who I am today. These past couple of years I didn’t think I would be able to do better in life for myself I assumed that because my father passed away I wouldn’t have it in me to go back to school and finish my degree. Still through it all the person I am today I feel empowered, determined, and willing to work hard and get to where I want in my future. I don’t believe our current situations in life have to be our forever future I believe with hard work and the determination to do and have better I can accomplish what is in front of me. My life doesn’t end here I will continue to seek meaning and faith into this breadth area and only hope I will continue to have more experiences beyond who I am today.
Through each breadth I have learned more about myself and the skills necessary to becoming a productive member of society. As humans we never stop learning and growing in our personal development I can only take what I have learned up to this point and continue my values in my future experiences. While I reflect on what I have written I realize I have some valuable skills and they are essential to my personal and professional growth. I am aware however of some of my week shortcomings I only hope I can strengthen those areas with my time at Ottawa in my liberal arts program.
Harris, R. (2010, October 15). On the Purpose of a Liberal Arts Education. Retrieved from https://www.virtualsalt.com/libarted.htm
Ruscio, K. P. (2012, September 19). Why a liberal arts education is the best job preparation. Retrieved from https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2012/0919/Why-a-liberal-arts-education-is-the-best-job-preparation
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