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.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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4 Things I Wish High School Me Knew

Every day has a purpose.

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People don't give high school enough credit for having the ability to shape your life. It can build you or it can break you and often times there is no in between. As I enter into my senior year of college I have reflected a lot on my college career and how it really has been the best years of my life up to this point, but I know that without a doubt my life would have been so different in I would have known these things as a high schooler.

1. Your life is valuable

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. - Ephesians 2:4-7

2. You aren't defined by your singleness. 

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. - Song of Solomon 2:7

4. You aren't going to fit in

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. - Romans 12:2

4. Your clothes aren't going to fit forever, don't spend all of your money on them 

Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions." - Luke 12:15

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