Polar Bear Nation scored a surprising and feel-good victory this fall, and no, it wasn’t on the gridiron. The educational review company, Niche, ranked Bowdoin as not only the best liberal arts school, but also the nation’s seventh best overall higher education institution. Students and alumni celebrated the news on Facebook—not only had we finally dethroned Amherst and Williams, but were also ranked ahead of schools such as Columbia and UPenn, Ivy League universities. As a senior, it’s reassuring to know that my future liberal arts diploma is appreciating nicely in the public eye. But upon the publishing of the rankings, I couldn’t help but think back to my Admitted Students’ Weekend visit in the spring of 2013. All the talk of the “Bowdoin bubble” was a scathing, 360-page critique of Bowdoin from the National Association of Scholars accusing the College of embodying everything wrong with a liberal arts education. The “findings” of the report, entitled “What Does Bowdoin Teach?,” were a slap in the face for thousands of students and professors who have found personal fulfillment, moral purpose and career success because of their Bowdoin journey.

Bowdoin and other elite liberal arts schools offer an extensive list of distinguished alumni as leading figures across a wide range of professional fields. Yet, I cannot think of stronger testament to the liberal arts’ power to shape a life than Reed College dropout Steve Jobs, the Apple and Pixar mastermind who passed away five years ago this past October.

Steve Jobs’ contribution to the liberal arts through his loyalty to innovation and the unconventional speaks to his genius. Jobs dropped out of Reed, an Oregon liberal arts school, his freshman year but continued to audit a calligraphy class. The Macintosh, released in 1984, would be the first computer to feature superior typography—Jobs directly credits that calligraphy class with the Mac’s multiple typefaces and proportionally spaced fonts. Jobs was never a wunderkind programmer, engineer or designer, but a visionary guided by advocacy for the humanities and arts in the tech world.

From the first Mac to the most recent model, the computer continues to be the go-to product for creative, literary and academic professionals and dreamers. Apple’s celebration of sleek design and clean aesthetic, user-prioritized programming, eye-popping graphics as well as multidisciplinary features reflect the humanistic approach that drives Apple to be in a different league from its competitors. Jobs spoke of Apple’s approach to success in 2010: “It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing.” Flawless execution of the smallest details was key to Jobs’ grand vision. Apple appealed to us to “Think different” in a popularized 1990s advertising campaign featuring the images of historical figures from Bob Dylan to Muhammad Ali and Alfred Hitchcock. The historic campaign’s words (deliberately grammatically incorrect) and image were a turning point for the company, merging the interests of creative and tech in a call-to-action that anyone could connect with.

Jobs’ success at Pixar was another critical step in his liberal arts journey. His purchase of the Computer Graphics Division from George Lucas in 1986 would form Pixar Animation Company. Ten years later, Pixar made the first and beloved feature-length computer animated film “Toy Story.” As The New Yorker reveals, Jobs’ background was in computers, but his Apple leadership principles enabled him to transform Pixar into a “movie-making powerhouse” that the studio continues to be today. Jobs insisted during the design of the Pixar campus that there be a single vast space with an atrium at its center, instead of three buildings. Thus, the animators, computer scientists and company executives could always be throwing ideas off one another.

The tech world’s ability to transcend the liberal arts is thriving now like never before. Good news, Bowdoin! The headline from a 2015 Forbes report states, “That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket.” Premier companies from the likes of Microsoft and Yahoo to Facebook and Uber are waging their biggest fights over young, non-technical talent, particularly those with backgrounds in sales and marketing. Critical analysis and out-of-the box thinking are valued by Silicon Valley as a part to the larger equation of success.  A recent study from LinkedIn reveals two out of five liberal arts graduates work in tech. Tech companies employ fourteen percent of liberal arts majors at top-20 schools nationwide for their first jobs. These numbers would be unimaginable without the lessons learned from Steve Jobs’ faith in the liberal arts.

Look no further than Laszlo Bock, senior Vice President of people operations at Google and a Pomona College graduate. He revealed that “general cognitive ability”—the ability to learn things and solve problems—is prioritized foremost by Google when assessing applicants. The balance of coders and engineers with liberal arts devotees “build[s] great societies, great organizations,” Bock told columnist Tom Friedman.

We have all heard critical talking points of the liberal arts. Is a liberal arts degree a one-way road to unemployment? Are the humanities worth saving, and if so, is a Bowdoin education worth the hefty tuition charges? For all of the College’s academic strengths, even Bowdoin’s approach to the liberal has a tendency to approach the humanities and STEM concentrations in a divisive manner: peers label you as one of the two by freshman year and Bowdoin has two separate libraries for the humanities and sciences. Yet, the College’s faculty and students are also involved in initiatives merging the two fields and Bowdoin funding must continue to advocate for this integration in academia.

Five hundred Bowdoin students are months away from graduating—some of us will have a job or graduate school plans in hand, and others will be figuring it out. Niche’s celebration of the liberal arts’ values and its place in education cannot be understated. Regardless of one’s major or interest in Silicon Valley, Jobs’ celebrated values ring loudly for those committed to the liberal arts: holistic thinking, elite problem solving skills and expressing yourself effectively are critical in the workforce. It’s about “Think[ing] different” to seize life’s opportunities.

Gabriel Frankel is a member of the Class of 2017.