Embracing a Liberal Arts Education: Confessions from a Pre-Med Student
I know, I know, I’m pretty late to the game. Why am I just now writing this post? If I’m being completely honest, during my whole freshmen year I did not stray from classes for the pre-health track, classes for my planned minor in global health, and ones that fulfilled requirements (Writing 5 and First-Year Seminar). But finally, I am taking a class that falls in none of the above categories, aka a class I signed up for just because I’m interested in the topic.
This class is called Gov 19.01 – Applied Multivariate Data Analysis. Intriguing, right? The nuts and bolts of the course involve statistical models, multivariate regression, maximum likelihood models, etc. (don’t worry if you’re confused, I’m also not sure what some of those mean). But these methods are used to study things like voter turnout, gender bias in employment, poverty and income, and other societal issues that interest me. Moreover, all students produce an original research paper on a topic of their choosing.
I’m particularly excited because I will be taking Gov 19.01 in conjunction with Anth 3 – Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. The social sciences (psychology, sociology, anthropology) have always fascinated me, and this is the first time I’m going to be taking on a cultural lens. It’s also important to note that I took Anth 41 before an introductory course, which is allowed in some departments. Introductory courses usually do not go as in-depth as the intermediate and advanced courses because they are supposed to provide a more comprehensive and holistic understanding of the discipline as a whole. But sometimes, as was the case in Anth 41, a class can both focus on a specific topic, and be appropriate for beginners in that field of study.
After all, one of the primary reasons I chose to attend Dartmouth is because I value a liberal arts education. I believe that college is about trying to learn as much as you can, and in the process, finding what makes you curious, and excited, and inspired. You have the rest of your life to really pursue that once you find it, but you got to do a little searching first.