Arden Bastia ’20 on Cultivating Self-Confidence and Communication Skills in the Humanities

How could pursuing the liberal arts better your self-confidence? Arden Bastia ’20, a former double major in English and Writing and Rhetoric, feels the two are undeniably related as she reflects on her undergraduate experience in URI’s College of Arts and Sciences. As a lifelong lover of reading and writing, Bastia says she gravitated towards English for her love of literature and Writing and Rhetoric for developing strong foundations in writing fundamentals. “There was a good balance,” she recalls. “What I really loved about Writing and Rhetoric is that there was emphasis on sharing stories.” Her love for storytelling would land her in her postgraduate job as a journalist at Beacon Communications where Bastia found that her humanities education could go even further.

Bastia notes that her humanities studies gave her confidence in her writing and her work, which she finds to be instrumental to her success as a journalist. “If you’re going to be putting your writing out there you want to feel good about that. Within journalism you’re presenting data and facts and I felt that URI really prepared me for that,” she says. She thinks that liberal arts programs hold importance alongside STEM programs because they are fundamental to building the interpersonal skills necessary for countless careers. She emphasizes, “As much as we need bridges, we also need good writers and communicators.” As such, Bastia’s cohort in URI’s College of Arts and Sciences was pivotal in helping her to foster those people-oriented skills.

Looking to the future, Bastia sees the landscape of journalism and storytelling evolving as primarily digital. Subsequently, she has the goal in mind of jointly pursuing travel, photojournalism, and documentary work. Bastia is currently enrolled in a graduate program at Northeastern University for journalism with a focus in media innovation. She encourages those both considering and currently undertaking an education in the humanities to just go for it. She firmly believes, “You will land where you’re supposed to land.” Citing the breadth of opportunities out there for humanities majors, Bastia ensures, “You’re going to get out of a humanities major or program more than you would expect.”

~ Written by Sabrinna Fogarty, philosophy and political science double major