Kudos to Giovanna Giampa for her fine article “Students contemplate the core courses” (Mirror 2/6/13, p. 2). It was particularly praiseworthy to get the opinions of recent alumni, who effectively answer those current students who complain that the core is too large, that it has “unnecessary classes”, that it “didn’t help me pick my major,” and that its wide diversity of courses is “ridiculous.” Quite apart from helping to develop discerning and caring citizens, the Fairfield core’s size and diversity fulfill practical career needs.

What too many students do not understand, but will understand once they get out into the real world, is that firms and corporations do not want narrow specialists who follow cookbook, paint-by-the-numbers approaches to problems. Those firms are looking for people who think outside the box and who have the creativity to deal with unexpected changes in the economic climate. Alumna Jessica Harrell ’04 said it best in last week’s article: “I am more comfortable in a variety of situations than I would have been without the experiences of my core classes.” (Mirror, p. 2).

Successful professionals are those who make connections and think of possibilities that no one had thought of before. To make such creative connections you must have a broad range of knowledge. The broader the range, the greater the number of possible connections, and hence the more imaginative and productive the professional. When you are interviewing for a job following graduation, tell your potential employer about the core that you went through here at Fairfield. Chances are that he or she will be thinking “Thank God! At last, someone who is not a narrow specialist and might actually come up with some new ideas for our firm!”

Sincerely,
William Abbott
Department of History

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