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Post-Grad Life: Having A Liberal Arts Degree

I realized I am writing this eight months after my college graduation. There is much to say about this, so this is going to be a long post. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and I simply would like to write about people's perceptions on having a liberal arts degree and being a psychology major.



ON BEING A PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR

To be honest, psychology was not my first choice. It was dentistry. I had my heart set on inheriting my parents' clinic but alas, it was my very own parents who discouraged me from taking up that course. They said it in a manner which felt like it was so easy to find something else?? And so it took me months and many trips to the guidance counselor's office to try to figure out what I really wanted to do. It also made me think that what if dentistry was not really what I wanted, but I was just limiting myself with my options? I figured that if I wasn't decided with which course to take yet, I could try to focus on which school I wanted to get into.

I took daily visits to my preferred university websites to see what kind of courses they offer. It's good to take note of which courses they specialize in. It was during this time that I chanced upon the psychology program of DLSU. It seemed to be the most appealing program to me at that time, and so I placed it on my first choice.

It also took me sometime to do some introspection. At that time, I did not see myself as someone who was good with people, although I knew I had the genuine interest in people. I did not know whether this was enough, but it sure did prove to be the deciding factor in my decision to pursue psychology. Whether I am good with people or not, I knew I was going to learn a lot during the next years in college.

I saw psychology as a flexible course wherein it had different fields I could go into. True enough, it was! I think that is what I like best about psychology. You can choose to specialize on one field later on in graduate studies.

I chose psychology precisely because of those two reasons that were highlighted. This says much about my character, though. Truth to be told, I wanted to be good with people. When I say this, I mean that I wanted to know how I can deal with them, motivate them, and engage them positively and meaningfully. Also, I could say that three years ago I may not have been sure about what I specifically wanted out of psychology, although I am glad that since it is flexible, I could see how best I can be of service to others while staying true to my personality. I always think of what I can give in return from all the things I have learned and am learning.

Food for thought: What is your personality like? What do you think you can offer to help others? Where do your interests lie? 


ON GETTING A LIBERAL ARTS DEGREE

There are two tracks for psychology in my university, mainly the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science. When I applied for AB Psychology, I had my questions about its difference with BS Psychology. Both have the same equal chances of entering any fields desired, whether it may be Industrial, Academe, Clinical, or Counseling, although BS Psychology focuses more on preparing the student for Med School. 

During my time as a college student, people had the preconceived notion that AB was inferior to BS. That is not the case. I see Liberal Arts students as those who are challenged into critical thinking and have more exposure to research (lots of papers!) opportunities. I personally enjoyed all my research classes. I love writing, whether it may be academically or just simply writing this blog, I found that my interests in writing increased even more when I took my major research classes. I learned how to cite references properly and how to format my research papers. I also got to access the academic articles from various sources which expanded my knowledge in different research studies conducted across the globe. I know for sure that a Liberal Arts college student would have these opportunities as well.

Those who took up Liberal Arts were also seen as people who had more time in their hands compared to those who took up Engineering or Accounting, because those two courses were always viewed to have heavier workloads. While that could have some truth in it, belonging to the Liberal Arts college allowed me to participate in various organizations within the campus. It honed my leadership and communication skills. It gave me the chance to be a well-rounded person who actively sought her passions and excel in her academics at the same time. 

I have to admit though, there are people I've met that weren't too sure about why they were taking it up. I think for a person to succeed with Liberal Arts courses, they must know how they see themselves in the future, or if this is the stepping stone that will surely help them for further studies. Because if not, it would be as if going into uni and getting a degree "just because it's needed" or "because it's what everyone needs to do in life". Truly there is no easy way out of college, because all courses have its own difficulty.

But if you are someone who is entirely unsure about where to go in life with your Liberal Arts degree, do not fret. Life is not a race. Even if it takes long for you to figure it out, that is the beauty of having that degree; you are not limited nor are you defined by your Liberal Arts degree. What we do about our Liberal Arts degree says much not about our decision to take it up, but our decision whether to grow in it or not. 

I challenge you, if you are someone who is contemplating on getting one, or if you're shifting, to love your Liberal Arts course passionately, whether you are (or planning to) taking up History, Communication Arts, International Studies, and the like. Indeed there is a wealth of knowledge to be discovered. And if you are someone who graduated with a Liberal Arts college degree, I admire you. Wherever you choose to be in life, we have been prepared to challenge ideas for whichever field we choose to pursue.


LIFE AFTER GRADUATION

There is still so much stigma and stereotypical posts I see online about being a Liberal Arts graduate. It's true, that while we all have the noblest intentions as we took up our course, it still does not change the fact that the world is highly competitive. There are many psychology graduates every year. It took me a long while to land my first job. While it's great that having a Liberal Arts degree offers so much flexibility, it can also be overwhelming.

But then I think it's normal to spend time finding what we really like to do. I learned that it's better to spend time knowing what I really wanted rather than entering a job that I knew I would dislike after a few months. In the end, I chose a Liberal Arts degree because I knew I had the passion, and I knew I wanted to grow that passion. It may not be specific as other courses such as Engineering or Accounting, but I am enjoying the process of taking things one day at a time with the future in mind.

But I'm happy whenever I see my batchmates who have ventured on to their different paths in life take control of their next step in life. Some have gone to the corporate world, some are preparing for the upcoming licensure exam, and some have gone to graduate school. I believe that what we all went through in the college of liberal arts helped to shape and challenge us for the next chapter of our lives.
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Writing this post makes me want to go back and do my thesis all over again. 


This post first appeared on Hello Anna Jo, please read the originial post: here

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Post-Grad Life: Having A Liberal Arts Degree

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