As the end of the semester nears and you begin to consider which courses you will take next semester, taking a course outside of your field of study often feels like the last thing you want to do. The stress of fulfilling major requirements and trying to find an internship or job to build your resume is enough to make you feel like taking a general education requirement is the most insignificant aspect of your college curriculum. However, we challenge you to look at general education requirements in a different way and recognize the benefits they can offer.
GRAPHIC COURTESY OF CAROLINE POLICH
Although it is easy to feel that general education requirements are trivial to your career goals, classes outside of your major can actually prove to be extremely beneficial. They can help improve your critical thinking skills and help you approach issues you are looking to analyze in your field in a broader context. For example, if you are majoring in Environmental Science, taking a course in Business could help you understand some of the counter-arguments to your beliefs and ultimately help in finding better solutions. Challenging yourself to open your mind will only benefit your education. Some might argue that general education adds little value and costs much more, as it forces students to be in college for longer. Some even go as far as claiming general education requirements are a scam designed for students to pay more for college. However, at our school at least, it is possible to finish in three years even with general education requirements. General education provides students with skills that are applicable to the future.
Dismissing general education requirements only shows how ignorant you are to ideas that exist outside of your field. No matter how important or difficult your major is, no major is 100 percent comprehensive. A medical doctor that has no interest (or worse: respect) for the humanities will never be a good physician, and his patients will pay the price for his and his colleagues egos. A History major that does not remember how to do basic math is a danger to society. The reality is that general education requirements help us expand our horizons and be better human beings, and if you cannot appreciate its knowledge and its value then maybe you shouldn’t go to college.