Most people who say that they are a history major immediately get asked the question “are you going to teach?” While they may answer yes many times, other aspiring historians will reply with career aspirations such as wanting to be a lawyer, librarian, businessperson, CIA intelligence analyst, or all sorts of other careers. These students chose to be history majors because they love the subject matter, know that it will help them communicate orally as well as in writing, and want to strengthen their critical thinking skills.
History majors love the subject matter and know how important it is to our society. They choose to study history because they can actually be passionate about the things that they are learning. They see their friends who are studying things like mechanical engineering and see how much they can barely stand their course work. History majors can actually get excited about going to class and see each new day as a chance to learn something new and exciting. They also understand how important the subject matter is and how understanding it and learning from it can make our world a better place.
History majors become excellent communicators over the course of their educational career. History is a field that places a heavy emphasis on written works, and students typically have to write several essays in each of their courses. These essays become progressively better with each year, and by graduation they are extremely effective writers. Writing well is a skill that is critical in many fields, and well written memos and reports can mean a promotion or raise for such capable writers in the work force. They can even use this writing skill to craft reports that can influence corporate policy for the better.
Oral communication is also a skill that history majors gain. Many history courses are smaller and often foster considerable time for classroom debates and discussions about subject material. Some professors even take note of how often each student asks insightful questions or contributes to class discussion. This helps students become effective communicators and express their opinions in a way that can influence others. This skill is essential in teaching, business, sales, and almost any other career field.
The study of history is also an incredible exercise in critical thinking skills. History is not actually about dates and names as many people think. It is about reasons. History is about linking facts with the reasons that they happened. This ability to link cause and effect is essential for leaders in all fields. Businesspeople must be able to identify what is working in their company and what can be improved on. Government leaders need to be able to examine what policies are actually making a positive impact on their nation and which ones need revision. Salespeople need to be able to identify ow to approach each potential buyer and how to get them to close the sale. These skills can all be learned by studying history and examining why events transpired.
These are the biggest reasons why someone should study history at the university level. A history degree can pave the way for success in many fields and can provide a rich and rewarding educational experience all at the same time.