How the Humanities Found Me at Drury

Given what has been happening on campus lately, I feel compelled to write about what the Humanities, here at Drury and in general, mean to me.

As a child, I abhorred reading. I though it was a waste of time, so I never took the time to read like I should have. I regret having that attitude when I was younger, but I am glad I am finally catching up. During my junior and senior years of high school I began to enjoy the study of literature in my English classes, because the dissection of symbolism, figurative language, and themes opened my mind to what literature could accomplish. The discussions I had in my English classes are what most fondly remember about my high school years. However, I still hadn’t taken it seriously as a field of study. I think, partially, because my fondness for books was so new and also because I had been told over and over again that there’s no future in studying English or books. “It wouldn’t make much money,” they said. I know now how short-sighted that view is.

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During the first year or so of my college career I thought I was going to study science, probably physics. After my high school graduation I had this ridiculous notion that the only noble thing I could pursue in life was the sciences. I had always been interested in them, and thought I wanted to contribute to that area of study. But, on the first day of my second semester taking a math class here at Drury made me realize that I do not want to do math for the rest of my life. When the professor was explaining the syllabus I realized I dreaded the whole semester, and realized I might have similar feelings my whole life if I stuck with this.

What I really enjoyed were my humanities classes. I found myself thinking about them more and more than anything else. Particularly, my ethics class with Dr. Titus and my British Literature course with Dr. Gilbert. These reading and discussion based classes were what I craved with my education. I realized, what I like about science and math are the ideas they produce. They’ve given us countless contributions throughout history, certainly. I wanted to work with ideas, and I realized words are what allow us to have ideas. Words give us the power to convey complex emotions or ideas, and implant them into the minds of the person with whom you are speaking. I found English and Writing to be the perfect fields of study for me because they give me the access to work with ideas.

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I also considered studying Spanish, mostly because of the classes I took with Dr. Robbins and Tony Smith. Their classes were really the first time I enjoyed taking a Spanish class. I had been taking Spanish since middle school, but I was never quite satisfied with how they were taught. I still plan to learn Spanish because of how I felt during those classes, even if I can’t accomplish a minor in it. I find language infinitely fascinating, so it only makes sense I learn another.

I think it would be a shame if future students do not have the opportunity to explore the humanities as I have. If it were not for the humanities department here at Drury, or the great professors in charge of the classes, I would not have known how much I really love this area of study. I wouldn’t have decided to work with this for the rest of my life. Rather than sitting here in the dining room of the humanities house writing this blog post right now, I might be hunched over a notebook of graph paper doing complex equations and hating my life. The humanities found me here at Drury, and within them I found myself.

I would like to conclude by thanking the humanities professors that I’ve had here at Drury, and the ones I haven’t had, who keep this field afloat, and share it with the young people who come through this university. Dr. Titus, Tony, Dr. Van Arkel, Dr. Henderson, Dr. Meidlinger, Dr. Gilbert, Dr. Backes, Dr. Blunk, Dr. Robbins, Dr. Schur, Dr. Ingwerson, Dr. Patton, and everyone else working hard in the humanities, thank you. You all are the Drury Difference.

 

-HG

 

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2 Comments

  1. My favorite line: “The humanities found me here at Drury, and within them I found myself.”

    Well said, Hayden. You might know that a long time ago I made the decision to return to the humanities after thinking that I could leave them and do something else. I couldn’t. See, the humanities had found me, too. Their impact on me had been profound, and had deeply and forever changed the course of my life. Later, during the many long years in graduate school I would often think about the future and I would wonder whether others would have the same experience I had, and whether I would even know if they had.

    This is story I would dream about hearing, Hayden. I do so much of what I do so that I might one day hear a student tell a story like this. This is a great day. Thanks for writing.

  2. Hayden, We are so very lucky to have you as a student at Drury! Thank you for such a thoughtful post!

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