Summa Cum Laude

HEADSHOTI recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in History and a minor in Anthropology, and I did so with a perfect 4.0 GPA. I do not write about this to brag, but because since graduation, I have been struggling to find employment for the last five months. I wanted to break down in greater detail what a Summa Cum Laude graduate with a History and Anthropology degree is capable of because it might not be apparent at first glance.

Firstly, I am a History major. History majors are really good at research and writing. Their discipline is based on the ability to read information, find the most relevant parts of it, and communicate it to others in a written form, hopefully a form that others want to read. The deeper nuance that differentiates history from other research is the exploration of trends, dates, facts, and motivations that fueled the events, but the main task is the processing of information from it’s raw form into something easily accessible to others. This is a valuable skill for several companies in the business world. To graduate Summa Cum Laude with a degree in history means that you are very good at doing this.

Second, My minor was in Anthropology, and I am only a year short of another Bachelors in this discipline. The anthropologist studies culture, and understands the stimulus that creates culture. They approach this study with what is called cultural relativism, which is the attempt to understand a culture on its own merit and not in a comparative way or a judgemental way. Anthropology teaches people to approach another culture with an open mind and to check baggage and preconceived notions at the door. Most companies have Human Resources departments, and what human resources department couldn’t use a person who is trained to think in this way? Anthropology trains people to be a sort of cultural liaison. What HR department would not want to take advantage of that skill set?

Lastly, Summa Cum Laude, with highest honors. This means that in every case, in every class, this person exceeded expectations. Let me unpack that for a minute. A history major does not just have classes in history, though that is the word printed on the paper. A college graduate is required to take classes in several fields of study. In my case, I received an A in math classes, science classes, speech classes, english classes, computer classes, art classes, spanish classes, and on and on. What’s more, I did it between three institutions (four if you count a culinary degree that I also achieved a 4.0 in getting). This is a person who was able to impress several teachers (bosses), across several disciplines, who make living assessing the work of others. To achieve this requires adaptability, critical thinking, good work ethic, attention to detail, excellent communication skills, calmness under pressure, the ability to meet deadlines, the ability to prioritize, flexibility, the desire to do things correctly, and determination to achieve goals. To what company are these not marketable skills? Not to mention the specific software skills (MS Office), teaching skills, writing skills, and other various skills that I have personally gained in the process. A Summa Cum Laude graduate is a sure bet for any company. They have proven themselves as having the skills necessary to be successful in life and business. These are people who are not limited in what they can do or achieve. These are the people who can figure out the best way to approach a situation, problem, or deadline and maintain exacting standards while doing it. It is strange to me (for obvious reasons) that a person with these honors could struggle to find a job in this day and age, so I just wanted to take some time to shed light on the underlying realities that accompany this distinction.

Thank you for reading,

James Pegler  

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~ by JPEG on April 5, 2017.

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