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What’s Your Major; History: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere

When what I loved the most was out of my reach, I jumped up to grab it.

By Chloe Bell, Beloit College

Like many young adults entering college, I began my freshman year with no idea what I wanted to do.  I was so jealous of my fellow classmates who seemed to have a direction and a goal solidified for years.  But for most, including me, knowing exactly what you want to do at 18 is not a reality.

So, there I was at college: in a new place, with new people, and no direction.  Or so I thought.  Until I met with my adviser to choose my classes for my first semester.  She told me with my high school credits and AP scores, I had already completed all of my History credits and only needed math and science credits to complete my general classes.  I was so upset!  English and History were the only classes I wanted to take!

Bingo.  I figured out what I was passionate about.  When what I loved the most was out of my reach, I jumped up to grab it.

Now here I am: three years later and a history major at Beloit College.  Was it the right choice?  Most definitely.  But why?  What makes your major the best choice for you?  Well, for me, my history major has developed the skills I love practicing every day.  I love to write; I love to read; and I love to make connections.  That is what my history major is all about.  My professors are incredible; they help me to expand my interests and skills every day and keep me challenged in my classwork.

I love my major because there are endless possibilities for me to discover new things.  Plus, where else would my innate, and sometimes annoying, habit of spouting random facts be accepted with open arms?  History allows me to jump into a different world and learn what it would have been like to live in a different era through architecture, novels, art, language, and culture.  What was it really like during the French Revolution.  Why did the Crusades begin?  What did it mean to be technologically advanced in the early 1900s?  These are the questions that have challenged me during my time in school.

I think the most important skill I have developed through my major is my ability to look at events through different perspectives.  Not only do I look at the larger questions, but I look at how people must have felt.  I like to look specifically at the human experience.  For example: what was it like to be a peasant woman during the French Revolution?  What was it like from the royal perspective?  What about a palace guard?  Did children understand what was happening?  What about other countries in Europe during this time?  There are truly endless questions to ask and more information than is possible to fully understand in a lifetime.

eiffel tower paris what's your major image

Was the Eiffel Tower as breathtaking to society as it is to millions of tourists every year? Did it shine as brightly in their eyes?

History has this wonderful power of showing us how people lived and reacted in the same way we do today.  We are all a part of the human race.  Sometimes we look at the past as if people were ignorant pawns in a chess game, but the reality is that people are people.  We have faults and desires.  We make mistakes and do heroic things.  We love and we hate.  We are embarrassed and we are proud.  Those things do not change.  So, rather than looking at the Crusades and thinking those Christian soldiers were brutal and unjust, I look at what they were fighting FOR.  So often we look at the right side and the wrong side.  The reality is, no one is fully right or wrong.  People have beliefs that motivate their actions.

Curtain at the Staatsoper vienna austria image

What was it like to attend the State Opera in Vienna during the 1800s? Was it as moving and entertaining as today? How was it different?

Christian Crusaders fought non-Christians because, for years and years, Christianity was brutally banned throughout Europe.  These soldiers and their supporters were threatened and decided they needed to defend themselves.  On the other hand, non-Christians were threatened by this new religion and were determined to sustain their power of the land and people.

So, you see, I obviously love my major.  Very few people in their right mind would think this argument is interesting.  I can tell you one thing, writing this article is making me love my major even more.  NERD!   Anyway, the reality is, I have found my passion.  I hope that one day I am able to help others find their passion and cultivate it into more than they ever thought was possible.  Until then I will continue to follow my passion and uncover more untold stories of the past.  After all, the past is the key to our future.

history major image

Chloe Bell

Beloit College | 3 stories

Chloe is a 21 year-old from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This past spring she studied abroad in Vienna, Austria where she became even more obsessed with opera, Austrian food and history, and the great outdoors. Chloe is often found reading a classic novel or taking a walk through the woods or around the city. She hopes to live in Vienna one day, but for now her goal is to continue her major in History and minor in German at Beloit College and dream of returning to Vienna very soon.

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