The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC. Ellie McQuaig.


by Sarah Fenton

Reasons to pursue a degree in history abound—some of them spontaneous, idealistic, and idiosyncratic; others carefully considered, pragmatic, and forward-looking.

The six essays that follow suggest some of the ways that decisions to study history overlap one another and deepen over time. History is a major to fall in love with and fall back on. The essayists tackle the reasons for (and results of) their chosen major from notably different angles—not to promote any one path but to convey instead a sense of the diverse roads leading toward, through, and out into the world from inside a history classroom.