In a few months, I’m going to graduate from MCAS with degrees in English and Communication. But that wasn’t always the plan. I had been accepted into CSOM, and freshman year I was concentrating in Finance. But one week into sophomore year, I did what few ever do: I dropped all of my CSOM classes, picked up the most appealing ones still open in the humanities, and submitted my application to transfer into MCAS.
I’d like to say that I’ve never looked back, but that’s hard to do, and not just because I pass Fulton every day on my way to Stokes. I’ll admit that when I was in the business school, I didn’t attend a single event, information session, or career/internship fair. I accidentally stopped by a Dean’s Coffee once because I saw free cookies, and I left as soon as I realized what it was.
Even though I had little interest in taking advantage of the opportunities offered to me, and had ignored emails urging me to apply for internships and jobs, part of me missed that structure and pressure. I felt like I was falling behind as my friends interviewed and figured out their summer plans far before I had even begun thinking about my own. Two years later, I still get that feeling, especially as people line up post-grad jobs with the firms they interned for the summer before. It felt like there weren’t the same opportunities for me in MCAS.
It’s a common complaint that CSOM often feels like the favorite child, that the rest of us are left trying to catch up. And even though it’s easy to compare ourselves to CSOM students, it’s a fruitless exercise—CSOM and MCAS are apples and oranges. Sure, we all want to graduate with a job; we worked hard at Boston College, and want that hard work to pay off. It’s frustrating when it seems like there aren’t as many opportunities, when it feels like we’re not taken as seriously. It’s easy, then, to not take ourselves seriously, to doubt whether or not liberal arts was the right choice.
When I think back to freshman year, sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had attended some of those events, had stayed at that Dean’s Coffee. Maybe I would have been more invested in CSOM, and maybe I’d have a job lined up at a consulting firm or a bank. But it occurs to me that I didn’t avoid those events because I was unambitious—it was because I wasn’t interested.
I wanted college to be more than another step along a career path. I wanted to learn as much as I could about as much as I could. I wanted to explore. I wanted to challenge what I knew, rather than accept what I was told. I wanted to read a book, and then talk about it. I wanted to figure out what I was passionate about, and I wanted to pursue it. I think that’s what the liberal arts are all about. And to me, that’s worth any summer internship or post-grad job.