Highlights of Alumni Who Majored in Philosophy or Great Books

Meet some of the Saint Anselm College alumni who graduated from the Philosophy or Great Books program!

Hi, everyone! My name is Amelie, and I graduated with a major in Great Books and minors in English and Music in May of 2022. In my time on the hilltop, I was actively engaged in a number of activities, particularly Road for Hope, work at C-Shop, the Philosophy Department, and Academic Advising, and as a frequent participant in whatever random discussion was offered on campus. 

Now, I work as a Financial Service Associate at Fidelity Investments in Merrimack, where I assist the employees of our customers with their 401(k) related questions and transactional needs. I NEVER saw myself doing ANYTHING like this. I had always been decent at math, sure, but money? Finances? You've lost me. I can't say I really knew the difference between a 401(k), a mortgage, or the IRS before I started working here. Yep, it was bad. As a result, when I was hired here, I was super terrified and vowed to stay no longer than a year. I could fake it a year, right?

Amelie Crowe '22

Now, though, I love my job. The finance stuff worked out through the excellent training Fidelity provides. I do see, though, all the ways my Great Books major, and general exposure to the philosophical life in my time at St. A's, has helped me with the other skills that are so crucial to my day to day activities.

Much of my role is participant-facing, so I spend my days communicating different topics, options, regulations, and the like to these participants. They come from incredibly diverse backgrounds with equally diverse needs, and it's my job to help explain everything to them in the most effective manner for them. In order to do so, I also need to know what I'm communicating–no matter how much training you receive, there are always exceptions, and much of my time also goes into trying to decipher confusing plan rules and IRS regulations, and then immediately explaining that same thing that I just figured out myself 2 minutes ago to the participant in a comprehensible and individual way. 

Here's where that Great Books major comes in–I'm able to figure out what I need to read, read it, decipher all the confusing jargon in it, then relay it to the participant effectively. And I need to do this while they're still talking to me at the same time. All of those Great Books seminars that required superior reading comprehension to succeed and that demanded that you make your point clearly and succinctly have genuinely given me an advantage in something that, frankly, a lot of my coworkers struggle with. 

I suspect I've learned that technical knowledge related to a career can be picked up fairly quickly if you apply yourself, but that those other skills–reading comprehension, effective and individually-tailored communication, empathy, resource utilization, and the like, are universally valuable and can't be taught in a simple 3-month training program. 

My parting words, then, would be this: if you're starting that job search and it's absolutely daunting because you suddenly feel unqualified in all those hard skills, take a deep breath. Focus on getting an interview. Your overall poise and intelligence and ability to communicate is going to speak volumes, and the right employer will value those skills and want to train you in any others you may not have. Your time here has been spent gaining much more rare and sought-after commodities than what you'll see on LinkedIn or Indeed. Pitch those!