Why Humanities Courses Truly Matter
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Student Life

6 Reasons Why Humanities Courses Truly Matter

What taking humanities classes has taught me about the real world, and helped me develop skills for life.

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All human beings hands together painted in red.
Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

After taking several humanities courses in high school and college, I realize now how much learning philosophy and Latin and the arts helped me learn about the world in a big picture; when at the time I thought they were pointless. Here are some reasons why humanities could be beneficial to you, whether you are interested or just curious why classes like these are taught in institutions


1. Humanities courses help us understand our neighbors:

a wall with a sign that says love your neighborPhoto by Derick McKinney on Unsplash

Most of us come from parts of America where the demographics constantly change. Humanities courses allow us to know something about peoples and cultures that are different from our own. And it's a lot easier to deal with things we understand. Besides, we can all stand to learn something from other people. There are good reasons for cultivating an understanding of other peoples and cultures. Those who come from diverse populations tend to be more well-rounded human beings, are generally more highly developed morally and confident in dealing with the world. They find it easier to move about in the world beyond the United States, an increasingly important skill in a global economy.

2. Humanities courses give us ideas of where we've come from.

human evolution crossing the streetPhoto by Eugene Zhyvchik on Unsplash

Humanities courses give students all the benefits of history courses. But rather than focusing on the battles, dates and names, humanities courses give students a sense of how things fit together in a bigger picture. They trace the development of architecture from the construction of Stonehenge to the increasingly elaborate columns of classical Greece to the arches of Rome and the Gothic middle ages and finally to the reinforced concrete and steel skyscrapers of today. They study the origins of the world's religions, how they came to be as we encounter them today and where they might be going in the future. Knowing where we've come from gives us a good sense of who we are, to whom we owe our current way of life and where we might be going.

3. Humanities courses discuss ideas we've often wondered about but were afraid to discuss.

people discussing about artsPhoto by Antenna on Unsplash

One of the advantages of a humanities course is that it allows a very intentional discussion of the things one is never supposed to talk about in polite company - like politics and religion. Humanities is more than learning facts and figures -the "what?" of learning. There's much philosophy involved. It's the chance to raise questions about mysteries we've wondered about, sometimes for a long time. It's a chance to hear how others respond to the same questions we answer but with very different ways of answering them.

4. Humanities courses give us tools with which to understand and appreciate the world's art, literature and music.

A frame of Vincent Van Goh self portraitPhoto by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash

If we think of the expressive humanities - art, architecture, literature, music, dance, film - as the expression of a particular language, a humanities course serves as a crash courses in speaking those languages. Many students find that they are able to appreciate being in an art gallery when they actually know something about what they're seeing and its significance. There's a lot to know about our world and the human beings who created and continue to create it. Courses in the humanities are a good starting place for that journey.

5. Humanities courses develop skills we will need in almost any work we do.

A sticker on a locjker that says Education changes the worldPhoto by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

The critical thinking skills taught in a humanities course are readily applicable in law, nursing, engineering, international relations and hospitality management, to name a few. The abilities to reflect upon one's understandings, to be open to the other, to express one's ideas verbally and in writing in an informative and interesting manner are all major plusses in rewarding careers in virtually any field one could name. Learning to work together is a key skill for any career one might enter.

6. Humanities courses are fun.

youg people having funPhoto by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

New ideas, new cultures, discussions of otherwise forbidden subjects, coming to understand yourself and the world around you and using your imagination... Sounds like an awful lot like fun.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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