In my two years of college, many people have asked me questions on why I study history as my major. On most instances, I usually respond with some form response dealing with how I have always had a natural affinity for remembering the small details of history, something that nurtured my appreciation for the subject. This ‘form letter’ of an answer always seems to satisfy those who have asked the question, and they often continue on to create other small talk. However, the value of the question cannot be seen as limited. The question holds a great deal of power as it makes us think back and simply focus on what we do as young historians, but much more importantly why we enjoy this process so much.
I have had many people tell me that they too, enjoy the details of history and committing them to memory. This helped me realize the difference between enjoying history and enjoying it as your major field of study, while also seeing how I have grown academically. This difference, and subsequently where I find the true joy of studying history has many parallels with my childhood (and current) love of LEGOs. History is made up of countless small details, events and themes that all fit together to help show us how both things occurred in the past, and subsequently how we came to be in our current situation. Those who only enjoy the topic (rather than the study) are merely satisfied and amazed by looking at all of the content laid out before them. As history majors, we are taught how to construct the smaller parts of history to better understand a bigger portion or the entire picture. The LEGO parallel is easily continued here, as just as we cannot throw bricks together and honestly say it looks like a truck, we as historians cannot throw unconnected details together and say that they point to a conclusion that is far from reasonable. All together, I am and enjoy being a history major, because it allows us the freedom to assemble positional and persuasive pieces from the details from all of history. These pieces can easily help us draw better conclusions and understand the entirety of history on a deeper level. However, just like LEGOs, if we do not use all of the right bits and do not do our work properly, our end result will turn out ill-constructed. That is why I am a history major.