When I describe my educational background to people, they are often puzzled. They want to know why, after completing an undergraduate political science degree from SUNY Geneseo (go Blue Knights!), I followed up with a master’s degree in liberal studies at Nazareth College. “Don’t people usually get more specific, the further they go?” people inquire.
It’s true—most students’ studies get more specific as they pursue higher degrees. When I chose the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program at Nazareth College, I knew I was looking for something, but I didn’t know what. Did I want to go to law school? Maybe earn a degree in library science? When I found the MALS homepage, the program and course descriptions really resonated with me. I loved the interdisciplinary nature of the classes, and the flexibility that night courses offered me (I was working a full-time and a part-time job). Why not? I asked myself. And then I enrolled.
Five years ago, immediately after graduating from Nazareth, I moved to Fairbanks, Alaska. I wasn’t thinking about what to do with my degree—I was thinking about keeping warm, learning to drive standard, and not hitting a moose with my car! I followed up three of the most fun years I ever spent in a classroom with another three years in the biggest, most beautiful, most inspiring classroom in the country—Alaska. As I embark on my third year here in Houston, TX, I’m still learning new lessons. I went from living in the biggest state in the country to living in the biggest state in the Lower 48; I live in the fourth-largest city in America! If you had told me in 2006 that by 2012 I would have butchered a moose, climbed mountains in Denali National Park, driven across North America, and begun a career as a freelance writer and social media consultant, I probably would have laughed—right after I asked, “What is social media?”
MALS creates an atmosphere which encourages students to strengthen their ability to think outside the box. Other master’s programs might prepare students for “what is” but MALS students prepare for “what’s next.” It’s like getting a master’s degree in possibilities—and the possibilities are endless.
MALS graduate, December 2006