Students’ pre-college academics meet gen. ed. requirements

By on March 24, 2017
Student Opinion

By Megan Brewer —

One of our professors once said that today’s generation, our generation, can’t focus. He said we “can’t be taught.” We can’t sit in a class room for an hour and focus on the class at hand.

I hate to say it, but he’s right to some extent. We can’t sit for an hour and focus on a professor that lectures us about something we don’t really care about – anything we learned in high school.

High school: five classes a day, one in each subject, for four years. We’ve spent years upon years learning the same things, and then we came to college in hopes of learning something new, but instead we get the wonderful list of classes we must take: general education requirements.

Why should a student who wants to learn about cells and the human body have to be taught the history of Spain for a second or third time? Why should an English major have to do the same math that was done in high school? Why should an engineer be forced to take a theatre or art class?

General education requirements are three words that every college student dreads. A whole year or more of your college career is spent fulfilling the course requirements the college feels everyone should take. Yet, we learned all of this, once, twice or maybe five times. So why must we learn it again?

We pick classes that have nothing to do with our selected major, because we have no choice but to do so. We go to the classes, because we have to, but we don’t look forward to it. We’d rather become brilliant in our field of study by taking classes in our subject area.

We enter college classrooms in hopes to gain an astonishing education from experts in a field of study. We have a calling to do bigger and better things. We go to college to become an expert in our chosen field of study, but we can’t become experts by sitting in classrooms learning things that have absolutely no relevance to our degree.

I am a student who has changed majors multiple times, taken a very diverse set of courses in my time as a college student and attended two different universities (and been forced to take history twice because of the move). From this experience, I understand what is trying to be accomplished by making students take a wide variety of courses. If a student, like me, decides to change majors, it shouldn’t be a big deal if the only courses taken until then were gen. eds., right? Wrong.

The reality is, most students come to college knowing what they want to major in, and if we don’t, we can figure it out without the aid of general education requirements. I understand the point in making sure every student graduating college is a well-rounded student, but we went to high school. We came to college already well-rounded. We are a generation that is over the basic college curriculum and ready to really become experts in our fields.

We are told to start thinking about college our freshmen year of high school. So, while I’m sitting in a history course learning the same history I’ve learned multiple times, I wonder how this course is going to help me achieve my goal of becoming an author. Or I sit in a biology course and wonder about the likelihood of writing a book about cells.

As an English major, I need 36 upper-level English credits to graduate. This means that I will take about 28 classes that have little or nothing to do with my English degree, and 12 classes that are upper-level English classes. 12 classes. An average college student takes somewhere between eight and ten semesters in college, which means I’m taking one to two English courses per semester and I get to call myself an English major because of this.

Students will not graduate from college feeling as if they’re experts in their fields of study. We will graduate feeling like we should’ve taken more classes in our subject area. There are many courses offered for every major that students would love to take instead of taking a gen. ed.

About Kyeland Jackson

Editor-in-Chief at The Louisville Cardinal.

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