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Securing America’s Future:

The Power of Liberal Arts Education

Alison Matas

Reporter, The (Canton) Repository
Marietta College (OH), Class of 2010
Alison Matas covers education and government for The Repository, a daily newspaper in Canton, Ohio. She graduated from Marietta College in 2011 with her bachelor’s degree in journalism and earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 2013. She has also worked for newspapers in Chautauqua, New York, Charleston, West Virginia, Columbia, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland.
Every May during my time at Marietta College, I traveled across the country with my choir, spending a week on a tour bus filled with 40 other singers.
 
I did not major in music. But in the four years I spent at Marietta, I sang with both the school’s premier touring group and its jazz ensemble. I had two years of voice lessons with the chair of the department of music, and I took juried performance exams in front of a panel of professors.
 

The administrators and faculty at Marietta understood I wasn’t attending college simply to pursue a career, but also to develop my interests and talents. They worked to teach the whole person, not just the journalist I would become.

 
My experience with the choral program exemplifies the value of my liberal arts education. The administrators and faculty at Marietta understood I wasn’t attending college simply to pursue a career, but also to develop my interests and talents. They worked to teach the whole person, not just the journalist I would become. 
 
The lessons I learned through my participation in the college’s choral program weren’t limited to notes and rhythms. When I served as president of my choir, I learned how to manage a group of people who didn’t always want to listen to me and how to plan fundraising events. I learned how to balance the work I needed to do for my classes with my rehearsal schedule. And I learned what it means to make time to pursue your passions.
 
I now am employed full time as a reporter for a newspaper, and every day I use the skills my four years with Marietta’s choral department taught me. I routinely speak with people who aren’t happy to hear from me, but I’ve figured out how to work with them anyway. And because I’m consistently juggling several stories at once and have to find time to fit in interviews, research and writing, it’s helpful that I’ve had practice managing a busy schedule.
 
Perhaps most importantly, I’ve remembered to carry the liberal arts mindset into my adult life. I still sing with a choir several nights a week, and I landed the lead in a musical that opens this month.
 
Being a student at Marietta College showed me how to cultivate a life that is full, happy, and not solely career-driven. I’m thankful for the formal education I received there, certainly, but it was the focus on experiences outside of the classroom that has made me proudest to call Marietta College my alma mater.
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