I'm now approaching the end of my first year at Emory University, and on the way, I've realized something that might be Emory specific but I suspect is not. First, however, I want to discuss my home life.
My parents have always been extremely supportive of me. Sure, they joked about me being a lawyer (because they say I love to argue) or a doctor (because they say I'm smart) but they never pushed me towards a path that I didn't seem interested in. They've always supported me being a writer ever since I started mentioning it years ago. I am lucky enough to be supported by my friends and family while I am home.
That changed when I came to college.
Sure, I still have the support of my family and friends. I even have the support of my new family. However, I've learned that when you are surrounded by people who are constantly worrying and talking about things and planning that are very different from you, it can take a toll.
During orientation and beyond, it is common to hear about how easy it is to double major, how easy it is to be STEM or pre-med or pre-law or go into business while having another major that's in something like Music or Dance or some other kind of major that falls in the arts or the humanities. It is wonderful that students have this opportunity, but what if you want to just do arts and humanities? Where is the encouragement for those students?
I felt lost and was second guessing everything I'd ever thought about my future.
I've known since I began applying for college that I was going to be an English and Creative Writing major. For the longest time, I felt like I was surrounded by people who were doing everything but something that was considered to be in the arts or humanities, and it was so frustrating. I was worrying that I was making the wrong choice, that I was at the wrong school, and that I was ruining the opportunity that I had to attend a school like Emory. All of this was because I wasn't seeing or hearing anything about support for pursuing the arts and the humanities. All I saw and heard was other people pursuing the sciences or being on the pre-law, pre-business, or pre-med track while scoffing at the idea of just going into the arts or humanities alone, because how is that marketable! How will you get a job? I just want to ask my school this: where is your support for the students who just want to go into the arts and humanities?
I don't mean to say that I have no support at my school or that I don't like it. I love Emory. I have found support within the departments that I am majoring in as well as from my bosses, and their support has really made the difference. However, I think that more incoming first-year students, as well as the entire student body, could stand to be reminded at least once of all available options rather than to continue to have the same things pushed upon them.
I am going to double major in two humanities courses, and I wish that I had the support and reminders from my school that what I was doing was okay and encouraged. Emory University should embrace their arts and humanities students further, and realize that the talent and the passion that their students have is something to be proud of and to brag about beyond discussing the selling points of the college. The arts and humanities aren't just things to throw at prospective students who like having creative outlets and traditional humanities class. The arts and humanities are a vital part of Emory, and I think that they should be treasured the same way the STEM departments are on campus.