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The Blue & Gray Press | August 22, 2019

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Give your gen eds a chance – they’re worth your time

Give your gen eds a chance – they’re worth your time


There are times at college where it feels like I am going nowhere with my classes. When professors assign hours of work on subjects that are not applicable to your field of study, all I can think about is how much time I am wasting on topics that I am not interested in. Because this is a liberal arts school, many of the classes students take are general education requirements, resulting in every student feeling frustrated with the state of their education and usage of their time.

When you are required to take a more well-rounded curriculum, you are forced to face certain ideas and subjects that are unfamiliar to you. This unfamiliarity can cause students to feel overwhelmed by the classes presented for them to choose from.

The feeling does not get any easier once the classes begin. When taking these new classes, you might be surrounded by classmates who have a genuine passion for the subject, or at least a general knowledge of what the course is about.

This can be a daunting thought when you are one of the ones just there for the requirement. This leaves students feeling like the class is a waste of their time. Information is being taught to them that may never be of any use once their academic careers end. However, I believe that everything we are learning can serve some sort of purpose to each of us later in life.

Originally, my first thought was that most coursework is trivial and just proves to be a waste of the limited time students have. When I thought about this, I had to first think about all of my classes, especially the general education ones and what I have learned in them. The first word I could think of was “nothing”. I have not learned anything from these classes.

But I was not willing to accept that I had spent my time and energy on something that had absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. Mostly because it just was not true. I have learned so much from UMW already. Because these things did not directly pertain to my major, I wrote them off as useless, when in reality, they are probably more useful than many classes I have to take within my major.

One class that really resonated with me is the Introduction to Sociology lecture that I am currently enrolled in. An introduction class like this is full of students looking for an easy A and fulfilling certain credits. That is the only reason I took it in the first place. Recently, my professor has been discussing democracy and politics among our nation — concepts I had never really given much thought to before. In the past, I have not been invested in politics or politicians in general.

After this election, that changed or me as I am sure it did for many others. My professor connected all of our shared interests in the election and gave us examples of how what she was teaching directly applied to the current state of our society. Her lesson not only caused me to reevaluate my preconceived ideas about the politics in America, but also my ideas about these “pointless” classes that I had to take.

Even if you cannot find a direct link between your classes and your life, there is always something more you can learn. I think that it is a good thing that we are required to take so many subjects. It provides us with knowledge that we may not have had, otherwise.