Student space

A Breath of Fresh Air

During my time at a small liberal arts college, I heard plenty about the value of a liberal arts education. Although I’ve spent three years trying to create breadth in my schedule, I often find myself not taking advantage of the available humanities classes. As I tend to place more importance on classes I take that are related to my neuroscience major, I let my other interesting and important classes fall on the back burner. Therefore, when given the option to study abroad, I had to make a choice: did I want to continue taking science classes (that I do love) or did I want to take the chance to fully immerse myself in the classes I otherwise never would. I chose to come to Siena, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Siena is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve visited, and being able to stay here has given me the opportunity to fully explore its maze of city streets and the life it has to offer. It is truly like living in the modern renaissance, and it is an experience everyone does not get to, but should, have. The most valuable thing from this experience, though, has been my time in the classes at the school. The professors are absolutely incredible, and the topics discussed in class are equally interesting. It was, however, initially a hard adjustment for me. Two of the greatest adjustments arose in my creative writing and photography classes. Putting my writing and photography out for others to judge felt as if I was exposing a very intimate part of myself and my creativity. A part that I then had to hear what believed to be wrong with it. But, naturally, over time I learned to accept it, and I learned how to hear constructive criticism without letting it affect my own image of myself and my capabilities. I think this is something we have lost sight of in fields of science, when everything is often right or wrong, it is hard to accept when you are wrong. It is hard to listen to others’ input because you want your research to be a product of your own creation, but we need to learn, as a community, to accept help and criticism in order to move forward with innovation.

Siena has given me a breath of fresh air, a break from quantitative reasoning. It has given me a new way to think and process information. So if you’re concerned that taking a semester off from the sciences means you’re giving up, I want you to know that it isn’t; it is a time to work on yourself and build upon your perspective of the world.

Becky Correa

Siena School for Liberal Arts student