What Do You Need?
Sometimes in life, you bump into exactly what you need to at the time you need it. As many of you know, I’ve gone back to school to finish something I started 40 years ago – a university degree. After balancing my options, I decided to take the ENG2RW6, the one required course, and then, after being a good girl, I would stuff my scholastic tummy with creative writing electives and science fiction. Nom nom.
I kinda expected it to be a bit of a slog (required courses can be like that) but, instead, I have really been enjoying myself. Not only did I get, last semester, a solid reminder of the basics of essay writing and a much-needed reminder to slow the f— down while I read and work and think but, also, this semester we are working on advertising, propaganda, and assessing the world through various lenses, looking at established norms and assumptions, and breaking them down. Through this process, we have the opportunity to build a better world out of our clearer understanding.
And the course is going further. Just yesterday, Sheena Jary (that’s Sheena in the pic) introduced our class to the power of values-driven leadership and the necessity of self-care in resilience. Jeepers, would have loved a bit of this when I was first studying back in the day.
We were asked to think about and discuss what a Humanities education can offer. I immediately thought of the popularity of speakers like Brené Brown and Simon Sinek and the relief and insight they bring to folks who are searching for meaning in modern life. Their style of insight is exactly what is being taught right now in courses offered by McMaster Humanities. How much would the average person (and society in general) benefit from learning how to think about what matters to them? Not what to think. How to think.
People need the Humanities because skills aren’t enough to give our lives meaning. Skills can be learned fairly easily. But what makes a fulfilled life outside of our families? Fulfilling work. Meaningful pastimes. A Humanities education can help folks discover what matters to them and can help them express their core values in their everyday life. What if we were led by politicians who understood what really mattered? What if we loved going to work? Or what if we expressed ourselves in a meaningful way, giving our lives the purpose we all crave? What then?
A Humanities component could be a part of the study of all disciplines and maybe should be. These ideas really were what I needed to hear at this time in my life. I expect I’m not alone.