In our day, college and university education is associated with specialized preparation for a career – and as lucrative a one as possible, in order to pay off the high cost of education! Most students today, with good reason, are concerned about one thing: “What should I major in? What program of classes will get me the farthest in life?” Here, “the farthest” is usually defined in terms of finance and sometimes also in terms of personal job satisfaction and social belonging. There is nothing wrong with this kind of reasoning – in fact we encourage it at Belmont Abbey College by our goal to have you “succeed professionally, and be a blessing to yourselves and others.” But this is not the whole story: we have other goals as well: to have you “lead lives of integrity and become responsible citizens.” This goal points to areas of life known under the names of ethics, politics, and theology. Are these real subjects that can be taught and learned, or are they strictly matters of individual or family-inherited opinion? There are also the Fine Arts (drama, music, creative writing, etc.): does anybody really need to understand them if he is not trying to be an artist himself? What about mathematics – should they be studied by those who “hate” math? Should English, world literature, or history be forced upon those who “hate” to write papers? Should a young adult be required to learn more about fields that will probably never contribute to his or her future income?
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