Are General Education Courses A Waste Of Our Time?

Are General Education Courses A Waste Of Our Time?

Do these courses provide a much-needed broad education or are they a pointless requirement?
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If there's one thing that every college student has become an expert on, it's jumping through hoops that often seem completely pointless but are still, for some reason, required. Doing this is an important part of becoming an adult. However, one starts to wonder how many hoops (in this case, dreaded general education courses), should be mandatory, especially if they have nothing to do with the career someone wishes to pursue. Aside from the fact that students must pay the course fee and pay for the textbooks, these classes also take time away from the subjects that really interest students. Others say that general education is important because it provides a broader experience and helps the student find their interests.

As a student at a liberal arts school, I have a pretty narrow understanding of how regular colleges work. This is why I asked by best friend who attends the University of Florida for her thoughts on the subject. She believes that, if someone is certain of what they want to major in, they should be able to only take the classes relevant to that major. According to her, general education classes are often irrelevant because students have all of high school to learn basic material. She thinks that liberal arts colleges should realize that a lot of what they teach is just a repeat for some. If she could change the system, she’d make it so that those who are "undecided" about their major could take some general education courses in order to find something that they’re interested in, but it should not be a requirement in order to graduate.

All of these ideas make complete sense and it is certainly a more streamlined way of doing things. However, one could argue that the point of getting a higher education is to have a broad range of experiences that you can fall back on for help later in life. The College of Charleston, for example, places a great emphasis on a liberal arts education. While I definitely believe that having a broad education is important, I wonder how it affects the students’ mental states. Having so many classes that are all in such broad subject areas can be incredibly challenging, especially if one of them is something that someone struggles with. Also, having so many different areas of study being thrown at someone who has very broad interests and struggles to decide on a major can cause them problems with making a decision, which is the exact opposite of their intended purpose. I could get into a whole discussion about how this is an ulterior motive to get more money from students, but that’s for another time. My point is, since there is so much societal emphasis placed on what someone majored in during college, being torn between multiple interests can actually cause more problems than this plethora of skills can solve.

What is your opinion of general education requirements? Do you think they provide students with a much-needed broad education? Or are they a pointless requirement for those who are certain of what they want to dedicate their life to?


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An Open Letter To Those Not Graduating On Time

Graduating college in any number of years is an accomplishment to be proud of.
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To the person that isn't graduating on time,

It sucks, and I won't lie to you and tell you it doesn't. The day you walk out of Advising, head hanging down because you aren't going to finish in four years, makes you feel ashamed of yourself. You did well in high school; you were always told you were smart, expected to be smart, so why couldn't you make it out in four years like you were supposed to?

You know you're going to have to tell your family, so you begin preparing yourself for the worst reactions possible. And telling your friends you won't be graduating with them will only add to that sense of hopelessness.

Soon, you'll see photos and posts from people you left high school with, talking about graduation and the wonderful lives they are about to begin in their new careers. You'll wonder how they did it, and you'll feel like a failure.

But you're not.

Graduating from college is a huge deal. It really is. And it will be no less of an accomplishment in five, six, or 10 years.

"According to the Department of Education, fewer than 40 percent of students who enter college each year graduate within four years, while almost 60 percent of students graduate in six years. At public schools, less than a third of students graduate on time."

Things happen. You might change your major. You might have financial troubles. You may take a year off to figure out exactly what you want to do. That's okay. Take all the time you need. The real world and your career will still be there whenever you graduate.

Guess what else. Your family will still love you, and your friends will still support you. Give them some credit. Your loved ones want you to be happy and successful. Don't get me wrong, they may be upset at first, but give them a chance. Odds are, when the emotions settle, they will go right back to asking how classes are going. And when you do get the news that you'll be graduating, they will celebrate with you, and they will be there in the crowd, waiting for you to walk across that stage.

Graduation will happen. If you attend your class and study hard, it will happen. There is no reason to rush. Just do your best. Try your hardest. Take classes when you can. Just by doing that, you're doing more than so many others are able to do.

"Among 18 countries tracked by the OECD, the United States finished last (46 percent) for the percentage of students who completed college once they started it."

You'll get there. Take your time. Enjoy your classes. Find new interests. Study what you love. Embrace opportunities. Study abroad. Take that weird elective class. This is your time to take in everything the world has to offer. Take advantage of that. You'll graduate when you graduate, filled with pride and wisdom. And when they call your name, and you walk across that stage, hold your head up high, because you've earned every bit of your degree.

Graduating from college takes countless hours of studying, long hours in the library, and a tremendous amount of dedication. Don't add pressure to yourself by setting a timer. It is completely okay to graduate when you graduate, and it is still something to be proud of.

Best Wishes,
A woman who is finally graduating

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7 Benefits To Graduating In June When All Your Friends Graduated Like A Month Ago

Who knew those extra 4+ weeks could be so nice?
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1. Your friends don’t have the privilege to hang out with you.

Cuz you’re always too busy for them, so maybe they’ll just have to suffer and be alone without your amazing friendship...while you’re writing a 12 page paper...ha, joke’s on them...right?

2. You get 123035835043732 ideas of what to wear, where to eat, how to decorate your grad cap, etc. so you can make the best decisions.

They’ve done all the trial and error, so you just get to learn from all their mistakes.

3. Your friends can actually attend your graduation.

They get to see you in your aura of accomplishment, and you get to have a super supportive cheering section when you get handed your diploma. Win win.

4. They might have to start working in the ~real world~ but haha, you don’t...yet.

#SorryNotSorry

5. That’s also one more month they have to fend for themselves for such things as buying foods.

I’m still using my freshmen friends’ meal points so...

6. They don’t have homework anymore so you could probably just literally bug them whenever and vent about college stress 25/7.

They’ll actually pay attention to you! Finally ;)

7. Let’s face it–they probably miss all their college friends, but you still have 1 more month with yours :)

Yeah, they actually might miss college, but you’re still basking in its glory for a few more weeks. Woo!

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