By MARIA CECILIA O. PAGDANGANAN
It is always the same comment, just phrased differently.
You would tell an older relative that you are pursuing an AB degree and they would probably berate you because to them, there is no money in the liberal arts. Scroll through social media and you would most definitely see posts claiming that the Faculty of Arts and Letters is inferior to the other colleges in the University. After all, what is the point of chasing your dreams when there is no money in it? It is almost as if it is shameful to call oneself an Artlet, especially since it is a label that bears such a stigma.
I remember visiting my senior high school earlier this year when I ran into my former teacher. Since I studied Accountancy, Business, and Management (ABM) during senior high, he was surprised when I told him that I am taking up journalism. I remember that encounter so vividly. As I began to talk about what I was learning, he raised his bushy eyebrows and disdainfully scowled at me. He could not seem to comprehend why I chose to leave behind my studies in ABM in favor of a career filled with uncertainties. I went home feeling dejected, my dreams invalidated.
It has been months since that encounter and since then, I have come to realize the beauty of being an Artlet. More importantly, I have also become more fervid in proving the value of the liberal arts. After all, they show us the importance of diversity, beauty, and humanity. What is there to be ashamed of? If anything, we should wear the Artlet badge with pride.
With 13 distinct programs under its name, the Faculty of Arts and Letters offers various perspectives on viewing the world. For example, political science students may have a different understanding on the issue of contractualization from economics students. This diversity broadens our horizons and helps us understand the complexity of the society we live in.
The liberal arts also remind us that there is still beauty in an ugly world. Literature and creative writing students, in particular, have a knack for turning something absolutely revolting into an exquisite work of art. Their creations appeal to our emotions and innate love for all things beautiful. They encourage us readers, too, to act in order to restore beauty in our society.
Most important of all, the liberal arts is a display of the intricacies of humanity. In fact, the various programs under the Faculty gives us a unique outlook on the individuality and identity of each person. These encourage us students to be aware of who we are and to be fearless in speaking our minds. There is also a strong emphasis on human connection and the need to further cultivate it.
The very existence of liberal arts is a testament to the saying “No man is an island.” They help us acknowledge that we are all indeed a part of the bigger picture, therefore planting the desire to serve in all of us.
So chin up, my fellow Artlets. No other college in the University does it quite like the Faculty of Arts and Letters. To call oneself an Artlet is to carry the title of nobility and integrity. Speak yourself and wear that Artlet badge of honor with pride. F
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in Vol. 55, Issue No. 1 of the Flame. View the entire issue through this link: https://issuu.com/abtheflame/docs/the_flame_vo._55_issue_no._1?fbclid=IwAR2a6lRhIqbWS0O29KnkGuhOGutDrqFfoPGkXUOeyaApRGmi_gFdWj0V4js