Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2011 - (Page 5)

big questions Why Study Classics? In these economic times with increasing emphasis on the practical and financial value of certain majors, it may seem risky, perhaps even reckless, to suggest that students study classics. Aren’t classics majors just setting themselves up for that awful question: “What are you going to do with it?” The more relevant questions are rarely asked: What would you like to do? What resources would you like to draw upon as you approach complex problems in your career and in life? How can you apply the lessons learned from a classics major? A classics major represents a body of knowledge and a way of thinking. Encompassing language (Latin and Greek), ancient history, mythology, literature, philosophy, and cultural studies, the life-enhancing knowledge of a classics major is both rooted in history and timeless. The knowledge attained through studying ancient Greece and Rome—far from being obscure or irrelevant—can be applied to our everyday experience, whether it’s understanding the foundation of our government and Constitution, translating the language on our currency, or understanding that a Pyrrhic victory isn’t much of a victory after all. A classics degree is a good starting point for any career. Let’s say you’re interested in a career in banking or business. In their book The Classic Touch, John Clemens and Douglas Mayer draw from the classical world (Homer, Plutarch, Plato, Pericles, and Sophocles) for lessons relating to everything from corporate mergers and acquisitions to the need to adapt in the fast-food industry. In 2009, Forbes Magazine interviewed successful leaders in several fields to uncover how they were influenced by their study of classics. Author Robert Greene explained how his study of Julius Caesar led him to select a course of action in his career that looked risky, but ultimately resulted in a best-selling book. Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, described himself as deeply influenced by Aristotle. Author Rita Mae Brown relied on lessons gleaned from Horatio to pull herself through tough times. Adobe Systems co-founder Charles Geschke drew from Leviticus for a guiding principle for the company. Not to mention all the by Katharine S� Brooks, EdD scriptwriters who rely on the Hero’s Journey to craft their next Hollywood blockbuster. Instead of thinking of how your major might draw a line between college and a job, focus on how your classics major will help you think and act in whatever career you select. If you build on the mindset and skills you’ve acquired by completing internships, volunteering, and acquiring interesting experiences, you’ll find that a wide range of opportunities will be available to you. After all, you will have several careers and many jobs over a lifetime, and that classics education in your head will follow you everywhere. As a classics major, you will be unique in the hiring environment. You will have pursued a rigorous curriculum that requires mental discipline and hard work, which is worth describing to an employer. You will bring many strengths with you to the interview and to your career: strong communication (vocabulary) skills, logical thinking, problem-solving skills, critical analysis of complex information, perseverance and patience with details and difficult tasks, and critical listening skills. Classics majors are intelligent, and colleges know this. Studies by ETS show that high school students who study Latin generally score higher on the verbal portion of the SAT than those who don’t, and classics majors have among the highest scores on the GRE. Intelligent people end up in all sorts of careers, often as leaders. Some classics majors become teachers and professors; others become doctors, lawyers, corporate CEOs, bankers, and consultants. Given that, if you’re thinking about future career plans, the real question may be “What won’t you do with a classics degree?” Katharine S. Brooks is Director of liberal arts Career services at the University of texas at austin and the author of You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career. she also writes the Career transitions blog for shUtterstoCk Read the entire Forbes “Leaders on Classics” series at imagine 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2011

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2011
Big Questions
In My Own Words
Latin Geek
Latin in Rome
Made in Greece ... or Was It?
Classics for All
Pillaging the Past
The Aqueduct Hunters
What’s Old is News
Selected Opportunities & Resources
Girls on Ice
Nurturing a Passion for Science at the National Youth Science Camp
Off the Shelf
Word Wise
Exploring Career Options
One Step Ahead
Planning Ahead for College
Students Review
Mark Your Calendar
Knossos Game

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2011