A Liberal Arts Education, part 2: The real beginning of my journey

“The monoculture of the mind is the disease that blocks the creation of abundance on our small farms.” ~Vandana Shiva

Although Vandana Shiva, Indian environmental activist, is referring to the current global industrial agriculture system, her quote resonates with me and my own reflections. After sharing my first couple of blog posts with Dr. Blythe, my advisor, she was quick to point on that my journey to dietetics did not begin with my current independent study but started several years ago. Actually, to re-pinpoint the beginning of my journey, I would say it began my senior year of high school, almost 5 years ago. (Wow!) It was during my senior year as I was applying for college and trying to “figure out the rest of my life” (still working on that) when I realized how much I enjoyed health and nutrition. Up to that point I had thought I was going to study math and become a math teacher in school. Although that still sounds cool, I realized my true passion was in food. Pretty much everything food related interests me: cooking, food politics, agriculture, social experiences related to food, food as medicine… I could keep going. I feel so fortunate that I have been able to spend half of my time at Berea studying all about food and health. The other half of my time has been committed to earning the “liberal arts” part of my degree.

Receiving a liberal arts education has required that I take all the general education classes that most students take, plus a few extra (?) electives (from what I can tell). This has included several writing courses (which helps me feel confident that what I write on here is at least comprehensible to most), social science, mathematics, basic sciences, international studies, history, etc etc. However, where I feel like my experience has been different than most other college students is in the diversity of my class choices. My writing classes weren’t just about writing; I learned about food systems, identity, religion, and global agrarianism. My international classes weren’t only language, but I also learned about Buddhism and studied abroad in Utila, Honduras. Many of my “general education” classes have been quite unique and interesting. They have given be the other half of the education I needed in order to be an educated individual not only about food, but also with the skills needed to communicate with others, to explore my interests, and to relate to people from all over the world despite our differences in language, culture, religion, etc. Honestly, I feel like my classes have given me the respect I need for education and learning. And it is a good thing since I will be learning new things for the rest of my life. I have come to accept that I am forever a student. The best part of this is that I get to share with others what I know and feel confident that what I am sharing is accurate and helpful.

I know how lucky I am to have received an education at Berea. I also need to keep in mind though that my journey to dietetics has been ongoing for years now and will continue for a long time (or so I hope and expect at the moment). As well, I get too excited sometimes about “trying to figure it all out” that I don’t take a few moments to embrace the current situation I am in. I have been desperately trying to figure out my plans after graduation these past few weeks. I have been job searching online and talking to individuals wiser than I about the whole job-realm. I feel like I am forcing it though, instead of letting myself be led to where I need to be. It is not me to just “let things happen” though… however, when I look back on some of the best things that I have experienced, they did “just happen.” I definitely attest that those experiences were blessings from God. Maybe I applied for this or that, but the actual giving was from Him. The same should be done for post-graduation plans. It has been a test of faith and will continue to be. But it is all part of the journey.

~Lauren

 11004251_10204543217353350_1935603438_nA gorgeous picture of Berea’s campus this past week after our big winter storm. Hopefully this is the maximum snow Kentucky will see this winter! (Photo credit to Zane McKinney, aka my loving boyfriend)

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