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The Human Aspect of the Humanities

Posted by on Friday, February 9, 2024 in Blog, RPW Fellows, Undergraduate.

Armani Dill is a 2023-24 Humanities in the Real World Fellow. This year’s undergraduate cohort are blogging their interviews with professionals who majored in the humanities.

As one of the first students to graduate from Vanderbilt with the interdisciplinary major of Law, History, and Society, Zachary Buchta is no stranger to uncertainty and unconventional paths to success. Due to the newness and unique nature of his degree, Zachary was unsure what he would be able to do professionally—and whether he would even be able to find a job. But he knew he was interested in law and government work, and luckily for him, he was able to follow his plan and go to law school after college.

This transitional period of uncertainty showed him the value of leveraging what one has with where they want to go. Furthermore, he argues that, when navigating uncertainty, any humanities education will prepare an individual to seek out what best suits them because “it is broad and flexible and gives a lot of perspective on different kinds of social sciences and different approaches to real world problems.” 

Despite having left the classroom, Zachary still uses the skills he developed as a humanities major daily. As a government lawyer, Zachary regularly uses skills like critical thinking, analytical problem solving, and writing. In his new role as the Appropriations Attorney for the US Government Accountability Office, one of the skills that Zachary specializes in is looking through history and its application to the present day. This allows him to put his interdisciplinary history degree into practice regularly and tangibly. As for his French major, he does acknowledge that it is not every day that he is able to practice the language, but his experience using it and traveling abroad has been invaluable in fostering his growth despite discomfort in all areas of life. 

Furthermore, Zachary let me in on his perspective on the financial dilemma that many up and coming humanities students face, which is, “how will I make money in this career path?” For Zachary, and many other humanities alumni it was no secret that when they decided to go into government work, it would not be for the paycheck, but many of them, including Zachary himself, acknowledged that there are still benefits to going into work that is enjoyable and rewarding in other regards. For Zachary it was the monetary stability, benefits and opportunity for a real work-life balance that won out over the paycheck, not to mention the opportunity and desire to work for fulfilling causes he genuinely believes in. 

The key piece of advice that Zachary mentioned that resonated most with me, was not to forget the human aspect of the humanities. As humanities students it is important to “make connections with professors, even if it’s just to talk.” Professors are not just scholars, experts, or academics, they are people too. The majority have chosen their careers because they enjoy working with young, brilliant minds who are ambitious and seeking out guidance. Forming connections and relationships that are genuine will not only enrich your college experience, it will also provide wisdom, insight, and maybe even tangible opportunities that will allow you to grow not only as a humanities professional, but more importantly, as a human being. 


Armani Dill is a sophomore at Vanderbilt, studying the French language. She primarily lives in the suburbs outside of Atlanta, and her experience mentoring others inspired her passion for the humanities. This took her to the College of Arts & Science, where she complements her French studies with perspectives from law, history, society, and politics. An eclectic thinker who is deeply intrigued by how language and culture affect our engagement with reality, she hopes to gain the skill to navigate these complexities and educate others.