College Gen-Ed Classes Should Be Restructured

College Gen-Ed Classes Should Be Restructured

There's no logic to taking unnecessary classes that aren't major-related.
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One of the biggest things they don't tell you about in high school is the biggest similarity between college and high school:

General education, or gen-ed, classes.

Especially if you go to a liberal arts college, and the majority of people do, the school will mandate that students have to take a certain amount of gen-ed classes to "achieve a well-rounded education."

And having just completed the last of my gen-eds classes, I can say that gen-eds currently feel like a waste of time, money, and effort.

Let's look at my college as an example. Towson University sets 14 core requirement classes on a variety of topics including the arts, metropolitan studies, and cultural diversity to name a few, in addition to the basic English, math, and science.

I've certainly enjoyed some of the core classes I took. I learned more in areas I didn't know much about before and gained some interesting insights into the world around me. I'm sure if you asked any other college student who's taken gen-eds, they'll say the same.

But enjoyment doesn't mean relevancy or even necessity. For example, what need do I as a mass communications major have for not one, but two science courses? It will never be relevant for me in the future. It certainly isn't rounding out my education and only brings my GPA down, as I don't do well at science.

Gen-eds often feel like an excuse for colleges to get more money out of their students under the claims of "providing students with well-rounded educations." Students won't remember the information from a class that wasn't for their major. It'll leave their heads the second the class ends, making these numerous gen-eds a waste of money.

These classes also force students to stay in school for longer than necessary. Realistically, students could be finished college within 2-3 years if gen-ed classes were cut down. That would create more time for students to gain experience in their field and thus be able to get better jobs. That's more time for students to start actively contributing to their fields.

There's also the risk to lowered GPAs. Mandatory classes in areas students struggle in puts GPAs at risk. This can be especially bad for students whose GPA is already low or at risk of slipping.

These gen-eds also take away energy and effort needed for major-related courses. I've spent hours this semester doing chemistry readings when I needed to work on something for a mass communications class.

I can't deny that gen-eds are helpful to rounding out educations. The gen-eds taken in college are much more diverse and expansive topics than those in high school. But there's too many of them, and many of the topics covered in gen-eds are not actually general topics. Since when is metropolitan studies a general area of study?

There are two major ways gen-eds could be restructured: the amount, and the topics covered. Colleges should re-evaluate which courses are actually necessary, and which are more extraneous than education-rounding.

Rather than have gen-eds on science or math, gen-eds could focus on life skills necessary for entering the world. Students could learn how to properly write resumes, write checks, pay bills, file taxes, and so on.

High schools are decreasingly teaching these skills, and so students will find themselves floundering the first time they have to utilize one of these crucial life skills. For freshmen, colleges could require a gen-ed in college writing to ease their transitions. Towson has this in the form of Towson Seminars, and it was incredibly helpful in adjusting to the different sourcing styles and writing expectations of college.

Obviously, this suggestion is not foolproof. There are always other factors in situations like these, and action would take a few years at minimum to implement such changes. But it's a change that needs to happen, for the sake of students.

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.

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Seniors,

I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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