Work to Learn/Learn to Work

Work to Learn: Developing Skills

In American Studies, we are dedicated to supporting you as you explore American culture, as you learn about yourself and your values in relation to your general education, and as you prepare for your working life.

Much of the material in American Studies is challenging both to your analytical brain and to the field of assumptions that most people carry around with them. It is not easy to learn about policies, ideas, and theories about society and thought; and it is also not easy to raise critical questions about movies, music, and sports to find the cultural messages embedded in everyday life. We don't aim to give you easy work but to help you learn how to handle difficult work easily.

Learn to Work: From the Classroom to the Workplace

Some undergraduate education is geared to direct preparation for a particular job. American Studies and most liberal arts majors are not so directly vocational-but that does not mean that we want to make sure you don't get a job! On the contrary, we provide an education in a breadth of subjects, and we offer training in flexible thinking. In American Studies, you will not only learn about American culture and raise probing questions about the American past and present, but also learn how to learn, so that in the future you will be prepared to take on new challenges. Who knows what they will be? surely these challenges will be ones that none of us can even dream of now. Understanding how we have gotten to the present will be a good platform for dealing with the future.

In addition, you can't know every fact you'll need to learn, but if you develop good learning skills, you can learn new things readily. The multiple disciplines used to understand the varieties of human experience in the United States provide settings for thinking about the connections among different topics, the themes that show their relations, and the cultural diversity that gives them color and distinctive shape. Future flexibility begins with learning about diversity and the relationships that often lie just below the surface.

Here are guides to help you think about how your training in American Studies courses can prepare you for future work. Click on the links below: