Why Classics?To Prepare Yourself for the World
“What do you do with a classical education?” This is a natural question, and the answer is, “Whatever you want, only better.”
There is a difference between education and training. Training teaches you to do a specific task well; education improves your life. You need both to be effective at any job and to have a good life.
A classical education can prepare you for the world of business by sharpening your ability to read and analyze information, by improving the clarity and persuasiveness of your speech and writing, and by making you a more interesting, flexible, cultured person.
Students interested in professional school — medical or law school in particular — should remember that their applications will be competing with thousands of others, most of which will look tediously similar. An undergraduate transcript that includes a number of Classics courses will show you to be an interesting, intelligent student, devoted to learning and unafraid of hard work.
To Make the Most of Your EducationEvery discipline, every subject taught at Furman owes a debt to the civilizations of Greece and Rome. By studying Classical antiquity, you will get more out of your other courses.
Art, religion, music, philosophy, political science, health and exercise science, literature, drama, communications studies, the physical sciences and mathematics, as we study them today, are heavily influenced by ancient Greece and Rome. Take classics courses to understand those influences.
Students of non-Western cultures — Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian or African civilizations — can study classics to find shared origins and significant points of difference.
To Master Your Own LanguageThere is no better way to master English than to study Latin or Greek. Studying classical languages will give you a command of grammar and expression that will serve you well, whatever you do in life.
A knowledge of Greek and Latin will broaden your vocabulary and refine your style. Greek and Roman authors were masters of rhetoric and persuasion. Students of those classical authors wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. The great presidential speech writers have all been indebted to Latin and Greek. Whatever you want to do in life, you will profit from a classically trained style of writing and speaking.
Even apart from studying the languages, your command of English will be well served by taking classics courses. A course or two in Greek or Roman civilization or mythology will lead you to understand what “ostracism,” is why you should “beware of Greeks bearing gifts,” and what it means to be “between Scylla and Charybdis.” And how else will you know whether or not you are “as rich as Croesus” (or even if that is a good thing!)?
Why Not?During your four years at Furman, you have the opportunity to educate yourself broadly, to pursue subjects that will enrich your life, regardless of the career you choose.In high school, you learn the basic skills necessary to proceed with your education and professional training. In professional school, graduate school or on the job, you learn skills specific to your chosen pursuit.