Why Study Religion?
Hear From Our Alums
Being a Religious Studies major enabled me to understand the human condition and people from different cultures because I focused on comparative religion. The conversations and experiences I had in RS just became a part of me. Small discussion-based classes helped me talk about hard topics with people. I also learned how to self-reflect and care for myself which has helped me navigate life in general. I wrote my thesis on Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey and Soul Retrieval Therapy and when I ran therapeutic groups at my previous job, I used to refer back to my thesis for ideas and materials! I’ve realized that a Bates education is so valuable because I just really see a difference in people who have a liberal arts or Religious Studies education and combining that with medicine because medicine is an art in itself too, especially when it comes to mental health and you just see a difference in the quality of care that gets done and the willingness to think outside the box and help their patients make choices that fit with their lifestyle. – Kelsey Pearson ’17
There is a degree to which you get something from studying RS that is so difficult to put into words but that becomes this inner compass that helps you navigate everything else that unfolds. As an RS major at Bates, I learned how different religious traditions conceptualize mental health and that has made me open to alternative treatment options.
I also wrote my RS thesis on the Buddhist practice of Chöd and I now work in suicide prevention so its been really interesting to think about chöd as sort of the antithesis to a western perspective on self-harm. – Olga Revzina ’18
Religious Studies taught me that we contain multitudes and conflicting feelings and that’s okay. You can have faith and question it at the same time. The community engagement projects I worked on as part of my RS courses were so meaningful that I knew I had to have a service component to my work post-Bates. – Phoebe Uricchio ’10
Religious Studies has influenced the kinds of professional and personal conversations I’ve had with people in that I’ve been able to teach people something about a culture they’re not familiar with or just share my passions outside of medicine. It has affected my relationships in powerful ways. Thinking back to my time at Bates, I loved how small my classes were. You couldn’t hide in the back or not do the readings and I was able to build close connections with my RS professors. I loved the intimacy of the department. I wrote my thesis on Jewish humor and Jewish identity in the 21st century and everyone, even in interviews, always wants to chat about it! – Wendy Goldman ’16
My Bates education encouraged me to pursue multiple lines of inquiry at the same time and that influenced my graduate school choices since I became interested in programs that would allow for scientific research as well as bioethics. – Joshua Moise-Silverman ’18