By Ester Latifi
With the new semester underway and the deadline to add and drop classes officially behind us, we’re all beginning to get into the groove of things and figure out a daily routine. Hopefully we’ve all built our schedules in a way that works in conjunction with commitments such as work and extracurriculars while also leaving us at least a bit of downtime each day to clear our minds!
If you’re a new student, welcome! I can say with confidence that Concordia is an excellent environment to be in as far as post-secondary education is concerned. Our small class sizes make it extremely easy to interact with not only fellow classmates, but with professors and other faculty members as well. Coming into my first year, I was so scared that I’d have problems approaching professors for help, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that that was not the case. As an English major, I want to specifically talk about the Faculty of Arts and what it has to offer!
I actually started out as a Biology major when I began classes my first year, but after taking English 100 with Dr. McNamara, I quickly realized I was in the wrong program. I’ve always loved reading and writing, but I absolutely fell in love with English that year; I loved how engaging Dr. McNamara’s class was, how exciting the class discussions always were, and more importantly, how amazing it felt to be exposed to everyone else’s points of view on a work of literature and all the different ways one piece of writing could be understood. I’m not writing this to advocate that everyone switch to an English major, but there is definitely something to be said about how open-minded the Faculty of Arts is and how, even as a science student at the time, I found myself drawn to how inclusive it all felt. My second semester, I took a music history course as well as a class on eastern religion, and by then, I knew that I needed to make the switch. The Faculty of Arts is the biggest faculty at Concordia, and as such, there’s so many different topics to explore within it.
For those of you who may not know this, the Faculty of Arts is made up of five departments: Literature and Languages, Social Sciences, History, Fine Arts, Philosophy and Religion. So many fields of study fall under these five departments, and whether you’re someone who thrives in the theatre or if you’re a history buff, there’s something for you! Once you pick your major and minor, there’s plenty of room in your degree to take electives, so you aren’t restricted to just one or two areas of study. It goes without saying that this makes for an extremely well-rounded education, which I think is important to have. I’ve taken courses in Psychology, Music, Religion, History, Creative Writing–I even took six credits of German last year–and I still feel like there’s a world of information out there for me to explore.
I’m sure we’ve all had at least one awkward conversation with someone who asks what we’re taking in school, and when they find out we’re taking a degree in Arts, they immediately assume that we’ve doomed ourselves to a future of unemployment. I want to assure you right now that, in our generation, any Bachelor’s degree–be it in Political Science or Chemistry–will not get you extremely far on its own. Most of us need to take an after-degree or a Masters in order to find a lifelong career. With an Arts degree, you can go into law school, become a speech therapist, go into education, work for the government–the list goes on. I know this is something I was initially terrified of, because growing up, I had always heard that English majors end up jobless and starving. I want you all to know that this idea is just not true! On that same token, being in Arts does not make you less (or more) intelligent than being in Sciences. One faculty is not superior to the next, as both fields require an enormous amount of effort and attention; they simply focus on different parts of the brain as well as different topics. I hope none of you Arts students ever feel discouraged! Study hard and you will find success.
The last thing, yet possibly one of the most important things, is to get involved as much as you can. We have a campus that is thriving with all sorts of clubs and unions–from clubs that meet and play board games to the Model UN, there truly is something for everyone. It’s also important to take a break from a heavy course load every now and then and meet other people in your faculty! There are so many ways you can get involved, and I’ve found that the student body here at Concordia is extremely welcoming and approachable. In my four years here, I’ve had the opportunity to expand my writing (and editing) skills here at the Bolt, and last year, I was privileged to be voted in as one of the Arts Representatives for the 2018-19 school year. A misconception I had coming into university was that I’d have no time to fit both school and a social life into my schedule, but I couldn’t have been more incorrect. I would go as far as to say that combining a social life with academics here on campus has helped me on an academic as well as social!
As a fourth-year student, I’ve developed relationships with both faculty members and students alike, and it’s truly been a rewarding experience that’s helped me throughout my degree. I want to encourage all of you to talk with your professors and go to the office hours they provide; every professor I’ve talked to has been extremely willing to help! While classes can be stressful and all of us are hyper-aware of our GPAs, I also encourage you all to find some time to get involved socially as well. Mental health is important, and having friends on campus takes so much pressure off the day-to-day list of things to get done.
For those of you who are new to Concordia and even to those of us who have been here for awhile already, there’s so much for us here in the Faculty of Arts, and I hope we all jump on the opportunities that arise and take advantage of what Concordia has to offer! University can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
- S. Faculty hoodies for Arts will be on sale on Wednesday from 11-1 in Tegler, so be sure to stop by and order yours!