Students and professors have mixed reactions to general education classes. No matter if it’s during advising or midterms, some students and professors enjoy the simplicity of the general education courses, but the vast majority dread the thought of a general education class. From the pain most students feel taking math classes they thought they escaped in high school, to introductory chemistry and biology, which are always some of the most infuriating classes for students across the board.
The sheer quantity of information condensed into some general education classes is like trying to drink from a fire hose. Some of the most difficult classes are in the beginning of college not only because of the difficulty level of the classes, but because students are still trying to learn how to maneuver through college life. College is such a leap from the expectations in high school to the college professors’ expectations of students. There’s also the compounding workload and the uncanny ability for all tests to land on the same week as if to test a student’s will to survive.
The fact that general education classes tend to span into fields that are not necessarily the student’s area of expertise is frustrating. A student who is a biology major may struggle more with a political science class or a literature class for many reasons. A literature class could be hard for a science student because reading between the lines and finding meaning in a written work could be contrary to their learning style. Students generally come into college with an area of interest, and a lack of interest causes their grades in some general education courses to suffer.
As much as most general education classes are a struggle, they are a shared struggle that all students must endure together. These classes bring all students together, no matter their discipline. It’s like a right of passage and a shared experience where even the most diverse students can relate to each other on the same level. Despite the struggle that general education classes may cause students, there are lots of benefits that these classes offer that cannot be overlooked. Taking classes that are across different subjects can open students up to new topics in ways that they may have never experienced otherwise. General education has more options for students than most realize.
When the time came for me to complete my history general education credits, I opted to take introduction to archaeology instead of the same old history classes I’d taken in high school. I ended up enjoying the archaeology class so much more than I could have ever anticipated. I got an experience with that class that is unique to most other history classes. There are not many students who are fortunate enough to have a class like that. Because I took the archaeology class, I was able to be a part of a paid archaeology internship that had a major impact on my life. If it was not for these little old general education classes, I would have never had so many amazing doors opened to me in my college career. Think twice before judging a general education class; and instead, try to get all you can out of it.