I read an excellent article today on Forbes about Steve Jobs and how his education made him who he was.
I would like to send this article to all of my science-major friends who say that my field of study, history, is useless – because, according to this article, there is value in a liberal arts education. There’s nothing wrong with loving science, but it is not the be-all, end-all. Jobs went to Reed College for one semester, then he stayed on for a little while longer attending classes even though he was not a proper student. He famously attended a calligraphy class, one that had no practical use for him at the time. But that calligraphy class is the reason why computers have lovely fonts now.
Jobs also loved music, which led him to have Apple make the iPod and open the iTunes store, both of which revolutionized the music industry. Would Jobs have understood the music business if he did not love music so much? Probably not, the author concludes, since you can’t fake passion.
I love that quote because it’s so true. It’s the reason why I chose to learn the Russian language, not Chinese or Arabic, which are billed as “critical” or “important” languages nowadays. There’s nothing wrong with learning Chinese or Arabic – I would love to speak them both fluently someday, but at this point, I love the Russian language. Over the past three years, the Russian language has become one of the great passions in my life. Learning it has been, at times, incredibly frustrating, but I would not trade the experience for anything.
It’s also the reason why I chose to study history, and not something like English (I don’t like literature nearly enough) or business or engineering or a scientific field. I’ve loved history for as long as I can remember and I cannot picture myself studying any other subject. My passion for history enabled me to gain recognition in my department: I was nominated for my study abroad program and I presented a paper at an undergraduate conference. Now I’m writing an honors thesis. If I did not love history, I guarantee none of those things would have happened.
I’m terrible at writing conclusions, so I’ll just stop here. I ought to go to bed anyway, as I think I’m getting sick. I must have picked up a cold from all those people coughing in one of my history classes….