Regarding the article “Is that liberal arts education a practical investment?” (Sentinel, Jan. 25/26):

You bet it is. In my first two years at a liberal arts college, I considered majoring in art (painting, ceramics, sculpture — that kind of arts). But after hanging around with working artists, I decided that if I were going to be an artist myself, I’d better major in something else so I’d have something to say.

After dropping out of college, I majored in real life until finally enrolling in art school 26 years later. There, a representative of an advertising agency came to address an illustration class I was in. He said, vindicating what I had thought for 26 years, that he could always tell which illustrators who came in to show their work had had a liberal arts education; “they were the ones with the best ideas,” he said.

In itself, a liberal arts education won’t make you rich, but it will make your life more interesting. Knowing a little about a wide range of subjects gives you ammunition for conversation with a diversity of people (if you know only enough to ask questions, people think you’re brilliant!).

It gives you lots of raw material for metaphorical thinking, which often leads to creative problem-solving (advertising art, for one), and helps you understand what that philosophy major is talking about.

It is likely to give you an understanding and appreciation of history and civics, necessary for effective citizenship. And after hours, it enables you to finish the Sunday crossword puzzle before Wednesday.

And if you can’t afford college, one of the blessings of liberal arts is that you can arm yourself with a pencil and a public library and educate yourself.


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