When I graduated from high school and started my college career, I thought the days of taking general education courses were long behind me. Oh, how that sweet summer child of many semesters ago was so sadly mistaken.
Texas has a general core curriculum that public institutions of higher education have to follow. This is all thanks to the geniuses of the 70th Texas Legislature who passed House Bill 2183 in 1987. This bill requires that everyone take courses such as history, government, math and science, to name a few.
Supposedly this is to “ensure quality in higher education.” If this is true, I’m still waiting to see the results.
I learned all I needed to know about math and science in high school. I learned that I’m terrible at both of those subjects.
Now, in college, I am required to take two math and two science courses when they have nothing to do with my major. I’m a broadcast major because I want to work in production behind a camera.
College algebra and statistics are never going to be useful to me. And while a science class would be interesting to take, it shouldn’t be required for my degree.
On top of the general core requirements the state implements, UTA has its own preprofessional courses it requires for degrees. Students in the Department of Communication are required to take 14 hours of modern and classical languages. While I am in total agreement that learning a different language is beneficial in many ways, making it a 14-hour requirement is unnecessary and excessive.
Supposedly, taking general core courses makes for a more well-rounded education, which is odd because I thought that was what completing a high school education was for.
In college, classes unnecessary to my major that are nevertheless required prevent me from scheduling courses I’m actually interested in — courses that would benefit me in my future career.
Foreign languages have never stuck with me. I took years of Spanish in elementary, middle and high school and was sadly never able to retain anything I was taught.
In college I am taking French for my modern and classical languages requirement. If I don’t think about how much of a waste of time, money and credit hours the classes are, I could almost enjoy them.
Requiring more than one nonmajor-related class within several nonmajor-related subjects also adds unnecessary stress.
Classes identified as nonmajor are not always academic strong points. Taking these classes only to receive low grades lowers both a student’s GPA and morale.
Grades are already a leading cause of stress for college students. Why add to it by requiring excessive general core courses? For me, taking more than one science, math and foreign language requirement means fewer courses that could benefit my education.
I remember more from the first mass communication class I took at Tarrant County College six semesters ago than I do from the statistics course I scraped through just two months ago. I could have saved myself the stress and used those wasted hours on a film production class instead.
College is an investment in what you want to pursue and who you want to become. As investors in our future, we should be able to take more classes that apply to our majors and fewer general core requirement courses that supposedly enhance our education.