Hello dear readers!

This semester, in addition to three required CS classes, I am taking a class called the Classics of Social and Political Thought. In it, we read texts from ancient Greek philosophers to contemporary sociobiologists in an effort to answer the most crucial questions plaguing the human psyche from the beginning of time.

Apart from being completely fascinating, the class is a required part of a Core Texts and Ideas certificate I am completing through the Jefferson Scholars Program. Other classes in this program include ones such as The Bible and Its Interpreters, which I took last semester; Satan and the Idea of Evil; and In Search of Meaning, among others. What really drew me to this wonderful program was the variety of interesting classes I got to take, and were even reserved for me through the program, that I would never even have heard of otherwise.

The lectures are really not lectures at all, but are discussions based on the texts we read. This is normal for most liberal arts classes but since taking so many CS classes, I was so unused to it and it felt like a breath of fresh air. Don't get me wrong, I love CS, but sometimes I need a break from all the technical stuff and think about something else.

Getting a minor or certificate in any liberal arts field in conjunction with CS is extremely beneficial. For one, it shows potential employers that you're dedicated and hard-working enough to take on the extra challenge, and that you're passionate about another topic that is so different from CS. Additionally, taking classes in liberal arts, a field that is designed to make you question everything you believe in, will guarantee that you will never have "occupational psychosis," a term coined for when one is steeped into one particular way of thinking because of their profession. With classes like these, you will learn how to stretch your way of thinking into numerous paths, which is significant for CS in order to solve a variety of problems creatively and effectively. Also, liberal arts classes focus a lot more on effective communication through writing and speaking, something that's kind of glazed over in CS classes. These skills are essential in every field, and taking these kinds of classes will most definitely prepare you for the real professional world of CS.

Nowadays, it seems like science and the arts are more and more being divorced from each other. But it wasn't always like that. Leonardo da Vinci himself was a connoisseur of both. His curiosity and passion for painting, writing, engineering and biology helped him excel in both art and science; his study of anatomy and dissections of corpses enabled his incredible drawings of the human figure. Which just goes to prove that science and the arts are not to be separated, but rather are all the better when studied in conjunction.

In today's technological era, what computer scientists do affect a lot of people very quickly. This means that we have to think very carefully and thoroughly about the consequences our products have on the entirety of society. and I believe this is the primary reason we as CS students should be taking more liberal arts classes. So try taking a couple classes in a liberal arts that interests you and round out your education, and in turn, yourself!

Comments

I really enjoyed this and happen to have your same opinion about lib-arts + STEM! I was a photography major at Parsons and decided I was better suited for a CS major. My liberal arts and creative training has helped me approach problems from a different angle. As you said, lib-arts make for a well rounded education. Hopefully, I can transfer to UTCS next Fall!

Add new comment


The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of UT Computer Science, The University of Texas or any employee thereof.