Why are the humanities important?

Happy National Arts & Humanities Month! This month-long celebration, begun by the Americans for the Arts, aims to showcase how important the humanities are in “promoting individual wellbeing, addressing trauma, connecting cultures, highlighting inequities, and making our communities healthier and stronger.”

Few people know the importance of the humanities better than students studying them in the College of LAS. We asked a few what they have gained as humanities students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Here’s what they had to say.

TallulahAs a humanities student,
you learn how to learn

Tallulah Trezevant, Junior in classics

"The most important thing I’ve learned in the College of LAS is how to learn. Studying the languages and literatures of familiar and foreign cultures is fundamental to the humanities. As a result, I’m constantly pushed to confront internal biases, develop a keen attention to detail, sharpen my analytical skills, and cultivate a deep sense of empathy for others. These skills make learning–both inside as well as outside the classroom–a profoundly enjoyable endeavor."

IzzyYou gain skills to make sense of the world

Izzy Sauer, Junior in history

"I have found immense value in the versatile skills I have learned as I pursue my degree in the humanities. While studying the things I’m passionate about, I’ve learned critical thinking, research, and analytical skills that have been invaluable in formulating opinions and arguments and being able to effectively communicate them to others. Study of the humanities not only allows us to reflect on the world around us, but also teaches skills that are applicable to daily life!"

AidanYou discuss pressing issues—
and learn from others

Aidan Sadovi, Sophomore in history

"Everyday in my humanities classes, we are each assigned the same reading. When we come back together to discuss, however, we return with an infinite number of responses and thoughts on what we read. This is why I value the humanities. I enjoy hearing other people’s thoughts and opinions—the “eureka” or “a-ha” moment when somebody has seen something you missed, a perspective you were blind to. To truly appreciate the humanities is to see that big and challenging ideas are never formed in a vacuum."

CaitlinHumanities students are prepared for a lifetime of success

Caitlin Niesman, Junior in teaching of Spanish

"Being a humanities student prepares you for a lifetime of successes. The skills I have learned throughout my time at Illinois are transferable to my future career and real-world situations because of its emphasis on interdisciplinary problem solving, communication, and critical thinking. The College of LAS creates dynamic and well-rounded students."

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LAS humanities students