Why I'm CLA All The Way

It’s no secret that there is some level of competition among the seven colleges at the University of Minnesota. Students enrolled all think they’re in the greatest college for multiple reasons, even though we’re all Gophers at the end of the day.  It seems like everyone around me wants to label their college and their degree as “better” or “harder” than the next.  What bothers me most, however, is the idea that somehow, a liberal arts degree just doesn’t cut it anymore.

I am one of the few students on this campus who actually chose to enroll in the College of Liberal Arts, because I knew it would serve my goals and me best.  I love that I get to write papers and work on group presentations instead of conduct experiments and write lab reports.  I love that my classes challenge me to think about current events in an abstract way, and that class discussion is always encouraged.  I love the options I have as a liberal arts student; options that expose me to art, history, and foreign language, as well as science and math.  I’m certainly not limited by my enrollment in the largest college on campus.  Even though I’m #CLAalltheway, I won’t try to completely convert you.  There’s a place for everybody at the U, which is exactly why I chose to attend almost four years ago.  But, I wish more people understood the value of the liberal arts, and started a conversation with their CLA peers about what they’re doing, learning, and researching, rather than so quickly judging us, or assuming we’re going nowhere in the future.

No matter others’ opinions, I am proud to be in CLA.  My degrees have allowed me to travel abroad, to take coursework in a variety of fields, and to work with some of the most impressive faculty, staff, and administration on campus.  My degrees have opened a number of doors for me, and I believe without a doubt that I’m prepared to take on the world post-graduation.  For me, college has always been about so much more than the 13-15 credits I take each semester.  It’s about meeting new people, exploring diverse viewpoints and cultures, trying new things, and engaging with the campus community–whether at a Gopher Football game or theater performance in Rarig.  And that’s exactly why the College of Liberal Arts is the perfect place for me.  It not only allows, but it also encourages me to be my full self, however strange I may be.  No one is dictating what my future will look like except me, and that’s pretty epic.

-Erika Voeller