Friday, March 8, 2013

Life as a History Major at Bonaventure (Colin Bearer)

There is no greater joy than being a student. One can enjoy the independence of living away from family and experience the happiness of living in community with your peers, without many of the burdens and responsibilities that one must take on upon entering adulthood. With this in mind I chose to study history at St. Bonaventure University not with an eye on my future career, though that was certainly in my mind, but in the belief that I should study that subject which I most enjoy. I have never regretted this decision. Through my four years of study at university I have learned to appreciate new perspectives on topics that I once considered to be historical fact, have gained a wider knowledge of both American and World history, learned to appreciate the rigors and challenge of historical research, greatly improved my writing skills, and gained invaluable professional experience as an intern in the Friedsam Library archives. Studying history has not only been a fun and gratifying experience, but it has also allowed me to learn a number of professional skills which I can widely apply in either my future career or future studies at graduate school.

There are only two real requirement that one must fulfill in order to be successful as a history student. One must love to read and enjoy the topic that they are studying. Do this and everything else will follow. I have been able to press through the difficulties of conducting historical research through my enthusiasm for my studies, and I have had no greater teacher help me improve my writing than the countless authors whose works I have read. Love of reading is crucial because it will be the bulk of the class work, alongside papers and presentations. The library will become your second home, but if you love reading and studying history it will feel less like a prison and more like a sanctuary. The professors that will guide you along your studies are nothing but helpful. I think the greatest asset of St. Bonaventure is that since it is such a small school each professor in the history department will recognize you and know your name, which makes it much less intimidating to approach them and creates a friendly learning environment. In this environment you will find the subjects and areas of history that interest you the most, and once this is done one can study with the professors and sign up for the courses that best align with one’s personal interests. So study the subject that is closest to one’s heart and enjoy it, and along the way one will learn the skills that are needed for, and begin to see the paths that will lead to, a professional career.  

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