Prof. Daniel Schwarz, English, praised the value of the humanities while advising students on how to capitalize on the college experience at a lecture Wednesday.
Referencing his new book, How to Succeed in College and Beyond: The Art of Learning, Schwarz discussed balancing “the joys” with “the practicality” of learning.
“Among the most important ingredients for success in college are The Three Rs: resilience, resolve and resourcefulness,” he said.
Schwarz urged students to challenge themselves in college but also cautioned them to be prepared for inevitable disappointing moments which demand reliance on the “The Three Rs.”
He also advised students to start early and be “shrewd” in finding professors who could potentially write their recommendation letters.
“Every semester you should try to get to know one professor,” he said. “If you only get a 50 percent grade in that pursuit, you will have done well and you will have four referees when you graduate which is probably more than you need.”
Before graduating, undergraduates should take classes in economics, computer literacy and the humanities, according to Schwarz. He stressed that these classes are not only necessary for any occupation, but also important life skills.
“The humanities help us understand ourselves and the world in which we live,” he said. “[The humanities] helps us respond wisely and judiciously to human behavior in our everyday interactions with colleagues, family, friends and public figures.”
The lecturer also pointed to the diversity of the student body as offering students the opportunity to compete in a marketplace of ideas and communicate with others who think differently.
“Everything we read is not true,” he said. “Each person is telling [his or her] own narrative, so we participate in democracy and we learn to test ideas.”
Schwarz labeled the classroom “an opportunity,” reminding attendee that even professors still learn new things every day. “There is nothing more fun than our minds working, driven by passion to know and by curiosity,” he said.