Onward and Upward

The following post was written by Andy Nelson, one of the Humanities Center’s Snow Fellows.

As graduation approaches—just over one month away—I have had several questions on my mind. Have I made the most of my four years as an undergraduate? Do I really want to spend two more years doing graduate work? Will my degree in Portuguese and Latin American Studies land me a decent job? In the midst of my angst, I found solace in a study posted on the BYU Humanities+ Blog. This study, released by the Association of American Colleges & Universities, seeks to “understand which learning outcomes employers believe are most important to acquire to be able to succeed in today’s economy” (1). The association concluded, against popular belief, that the skillsets most commonly sought by employers are not found only in technical and STEM majors, but also include those that can be developed through a Humanities education. Their findings are summarized in the following graph:


While reading the report, I remembered President Kevin J. Worthen’s inaugural address when he invited students and faculty to “go to the mountains”, for, as he explained, they are “locations where people can be enlightened, uplifted, and changed.” My undergraduate education has been an overwhelming mountain at times, but it has also led me to elevated levels of thinking and has afforded me experience in each of these seven categories.

President Worthen has also put an emphasis on the university’s Mission Statement. I have been drawn several times to the paragraph that states: “all instruction, programs, and services at BYU, including a wide variety of extracurricular experiences, should make their own contribution toward the balanced development of the total person. Such a broadly prepared individual will not only be capable of meeting personal challenge and change but will also bring strength to others in the tasks of home and family life, social relationships, civic duty, and service to mankind.” These words lead me to remember the scripture, “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30). From the mountain peak that President Worthen invited me to climb, and with this charge in mind, I can clearly see that these past four years have prepared me for all that is to come. Now, any angst I felt earlier is no longer an issue. With this renewed faith, I optimistically move forward into the many unknown variables ahead, beginning with graduate studies, and progressing towards a career and a life of service. I thank the College of Humanities for preparing me intellectually and spiritually to “go forth and serve” and help others ascend to this same mountain peak; it’s a beautiful view.

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