When most Mines students hear the word “art,” they turn around and run in the other direction.
Many Mines students view the liberal art class requirements as repulsive. However, I think most Mines students have this view because it has been engrained in their brains from the common belief that art is a whole world separate from anything STEM related.
Many think as our world becomes more and more technically focused, the arts are becoming irrelevant; however, liberal arts are becoming all the more important as our world becomes quantified and calculation-driven.
Art provides transcendence into moments of greater understanding, moments of seeing beyond the self, moments of glimpses into greater things, moments of wonder, and moments of knowing there is more than math and science can explain. Put plainly, art is healing.
What our liberal arts classes at CSM try to provide is pathways to developing skills of critical thinking, a sensitivity to culture, and an understanding of economic, societal, and political differences—all of which success in any career requires.
Engineering really will accomplish nothing if the ethical foundations are missing.
The value of the classical understanding of “art” is also mistakenly disregarded by some at CSM.
This includes music, poetry, literature, painting, drawing, etc. It is often initially easier to push back our emotions; if only engineers would embrace the power of art, they would find it is a way to express the things we cannot in words. Art allows us to experience the emotions of others, or to more deeply understand our own.
In fact, art therapy is increasingly being used to achieve optimal mental health. An increasing number of studies are showing the benefits and the curing capabilities of art.
Art therapy helps to provide an avenue to self-expression and self-exploration and is a positive coping outlet for negative emotions.
It allows for the communication between the left and the right brain—something that can actually help you become a better engineer.
To tap into your inner artist maybe try an art class or pop into a meeting of one of the multiple art groups on campus.
Try going to your liberal arts classes and your STEM classes with a different perspective, realizing the potential your creative side has to improve your technical side.