Joshua Buck

Major in Classical Studies, 2013

Let me begin by saying that if there is one thing I learned by studying Classics it is that it is a way of life; you don’t just study Classics for a time and then move on to something else, but rather Classical Studies penetrates every aspect of your world. I have many friends who studied things like International Relations, Political Science, Anthropology, etc. and I have come to the conclusion that all such ‘Arts’ and ‘Sciences’ derive from Classics and are merely shadows or offshoots of it. Studying Classics allows us to critically analyze the social behaviours of our society, to solve problems, to assess the wisest decision before us, to learn from the greatest minds of the past in order to grab hold of our present and future, and to give us insight into the moral foundation which is right and just for our free society. Studying Classics teaches us about the origins of our freedoms and democracy and enables us to understand where our great Western nation came from.

I am one year out of University and was able to land a job immediately after graduating. I am currently working as a personal assistant to one of our federal government’s foremost ministers, briefing him on meetings and ensuring that his job runs smoothly. The attainment of my job was a liminal process which studying Classics helped me to navigate. Virtues learned through reading Thucydides and Seneca shaped my self-awareness and confidence. Classics gave me the foresight to see whom to associate with, how to associate with them, and where to most effectively spend my time. I have been able to apply what I learned in my courses and in my extracurricular readings in every day contexts of right and wrong—or more aptly, right and more right. Classics gave me the mental awareness and assertiveness required to provide practical advice in a timely and professional manner, as well as to receive criticism and apply it immediately. What is more, I have been able to communicate on an intellectual level with my colleagues in a way that I observe is much weaker for my peers from different disciplines. Many University programs equip you with theories, but Classics equips you for life. A wise man once said, "Education is not preparation for life; it is life itself." One could easily substitute it thus, "Classics is not preparation for life; Classics is life itself."

Where I recognize the tenuous nature of the business of politics, I believe my education in Classics has equipped me to succeed in any walk of life. I appreciate your taking the time to hear our stories and to help raise awareness of the gem that studying Classics is. It is a shame that so many students grow up these days without knowing a single thing about the Classics, whereas up until the mid-twentieth century an education in Classics was an essential part of everyone’s lives.

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