Students: Why the basic courses are a blessing in disguise
When students make the transition from high school to college, it’s usually an exciting time. Finally, the student gets to choose what he or she wants to learn, rather than being forced to learn the general education subjects. Having control over something that has been planned since Kindergarten is refreshing for young college freshmen, and can inspire them to crave education at new heights. That’s why when the new English majors take their first college math class, they are scratching their heads saying, “wait a minute…..when will I use this stuff?”
Early college courses are a complete catch-22. The first two years are basically like high school all over again and we have no choice but to play by the rules in order for us to reach the other side. Basic courses can enrich students’ education by providing them well-rounded knowledge about various topics. However, many students resent this theory and become angry resulting in low GPAs. After all, what is the point of writing countless essays about Shakespeare when you are studying to become an electrical engineer? Is it so when you are in the office, you and your co-workers can discuss, “The Taming of the Shrew?”
More importantly, students aren’t prepared for the first two years of college because they do not have an understanding their classes will be mostly basics that do not relate directly to their major. This can be a disappointment to the students and can cause them to drop out of college or to make horrible grades.
So are there any upsides for the students while taking pre-major courses? My answer: absolutely. My solution: suck it up—it pays off.
The first two years of college are the most critical for students to mature. College is filled with experiences and lessons about learning how to stand on your own two feet alone. It’s about making good and bad choices and learning about yourself. Most importantly, it’s about becoming a responsible adult. This doesn’t happen overnight and many mistakes will be made during the first two years. So, isn’t it better to make mistakes in classes that don’t relate directly to your major? Isn’t the engineer better off making a C in Art History then in Advanced Calculus?
Students do not realize that one of the main purposes of taking basic courses is to separate the children from the adults. The idea is that those who can’t hack the regular courses will not be able to hack the advanced classes. In a sense, it’s true. Full major status is a privilege that is appreciated more after going through all of the challenges of pre-major courses. Essentially, it’s like reaching a prize at the end of a maze---a reward for all of the hard work you did to get there.
Bottom line: suck it up. Yes, having to take courses that have nothing to do with your major is painful--trust me, I completely understand and I was very loud about it. But without the blood, sweat, and tears (ok so maybe no blood), I wouldn’t have been so grateful or attentive in my junior/senior level classes. Always, keep trying and push through the first two years. College only gets better towards the end and when you finally make it on graduation day, the person you see is a warrior ready to take on the world.