Why choose liberal arts? A music major--and future doctor

Author: Carol C. Bradley

Lee Haggenjos

Lee Haggenjos arrived at Notre Dame as a freshman knowing he wanted to major in music—and intending to go to medical school.

Haggenjos, who graduates in May, grew up in Portland, Ind., near Muncie. “I started playing guitar at 5,” he says. “I knew going forward I wanted to get a more formal education in music history and music theory.”

So while taking the science classes necessary to prepare for medical school, he majored in guitar. “I wanted something to force me to work hard at improving quickly. With an instructor and classes, you learn an instrument much more quickly than on your own.”

Haggenjos has already received offers from five medical schools and is waiting to hear from two more. He plans to enter a field of medicine with patient contact—primary care, pediatrics or internal medicine.

While the skills he’s acquired as a guitar major may not be directly transferrable to medicine, “The fact that you’re a music major sets you apart,” he says.

“College is important preparation for the job market, but it’s not a technical school. Choosing a major from the point of view of what you think your future career will be is not the best way to choose. College is formative for critical thinking skills, creative thinking skills and breadth of knowledge.”