Gen ed courses are necessary, important

Zoë Donovan, Columnist

Now and again it creeps up in the minds of students, why do English majors need math classes? Why do accounting students need to take sociology classes? Why do we need to take classes that don’t apply to the things that we are studying specifically?

The answer we are given is that we need a wellrounded education, that we should be able to look at different things later in life and be able to understand them at least a bit, and while this answer is adequate, I think it can leave students feeling a little slighted. 

Rather, I think that a better explanation is this: Human beings do not exist in a vacuum, and the fields that we study do not exist in vacuum, completely exclusive of one another. 

Literature is affected by the society and the sociological instances that the authors exist under, and our society is affected by economics and vice versa. History repeats itself, and we can look at past patterns to indicate future trends. 

Literature and English classes teach you to analyze works critically, and mathematics and sciences classes build skills for multi-part problems, and think critically. 

Discussion classes, such as fields within the humanities, help students to learn how to work in a classroom setting and be able to articulate and form ideas, as well as how to effectively listen to and reply to others. Looking at my own experience in discussion based classes, you can see the shift from the start of the semester (where only a few students might talk), to the end where most have been able to share in group settings. 

With a statistics class, you learn how to interpret data, and how that information can be skewed or misused, either in the news, advertisements or campaigns. But as a student, you know how to think critically and analyze things from your literature classes, and your sociology classes, and you can be able to construct a hypothesis on why that data might be manipulated and what they are trying to tell the audience. 

General education classes lay the groundwork for critical thinking that we as college students need in our adult lives; we need them in the classes that we take for our major. Everything in the world is tied together, and everything is connected. No field exists within its own vacuum, and the importance of a “well-rounded” education in higher learning cannot be overstated. 

Zoë Donovan is a junior journalism major. They can be reached at 581–2812 or at [email protected].