Unpopular Opinion: I appreciate general education requirements


Helen Rogalski, Managing Editor

As scheduling for pre-registration advising appointments begins and we make our way towards next semester, students often complain about the infamous general education requirements. These are seen by most as an inconvenience and a waste of time, mainly because they force students to take classes unrelated to their chosen major.

I understand this frustration. If you are in school to major in biology, I can imagine it being frustrating to be forced to take a few semesters of a foreign language or english class. I too have found myself on edge when trying to decide which science or math class I will suffer through.

We as students are looking at these requirements in the wrong way. Rather than feeling forced to take a class we don’t think we’ll benefit from, let’s push ourselves to be appreciative. We GET to learn about a wide variety of topics and discussions of the world.

What kind of writer would I be if I didn’t understand the prevalent topic of global warming? How would a biologist convey their point without knowing how to accurately and grammatically argue it? How much perspective would a communication studies major gain from learning to communicate in another language?

Earning a college degree means something substantial. It gives future employers the impression that applicants are educated on their fields of study as well as have a basic understanding of parts of the world and how it functions. We should make the most of our four or so years at UNCW and all that is available to us while we’re here.

The truth is that under each core curriculum section, there is something that may be of interest to any and every student. If a student winds up taking a class solely to fulfill a requirement and hates it, at least they will have learned about their hatred. That’s the worst case scenario. The best case scenario is that the student winds up being pleasantly surprised, furthers their education in that topic or walks away with an appreciation and knowledge of a new subject.

I always think about what my mother said in regards to her college education. As a senior at UNC Chapel Hill, she fulfilled one of her final general education requirements: human geography. As a journalism major, she was skeptical of this topic. This course wound up being her favorite one, and had she taken it sooner, it would’ve wound up being her major.

As we move into planning mode for next semester, let us all remember how much we still have to learn. While the general education requirements may seem like a hassle, we all have the opportunity to be pleasantly surprised.

Take a chance. Try something new. Broaden your horizons. Learn as much as possible!