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Gen Eds: My Love/Hate Relationship
- Patrick Hulce
General education requirements: the bane of my existence throughout my college career, or so I thought.
A sense of pointlessness was always front-of-mind as I faced course selection each semester with a list of requirements to fill that had nothing to do with software, photography, video games, ultimate frisbee, the Indianapolis Colts, or anything with which I planned to fill my life after school really. "I paid my dues in high school," I thought, "enough busywork, now is the time to learn what I need for what's next and get out there!" I felt this so strongly that I transferred out of Wharton, and I'm graduating a semester early just so I don't have to take any more seemingly unrelated classes.
Enter BIBB109: Introduction to the Brain and Behavior.
BIBB109 fulfills my non-major related, natural science slot and is something I'm only taking because I was forced to by the graduation requirements. And I LOVE IT.
Being able to take it pass / fail with the removed pressure of maintaining Summa Cum Laude GPA makes it true learning for learning's sake. The new perspective I have on biology (a subject area that I had previously despised) to the unexpected connections and insights across disciplines, I've thoroughly enjoyed this experience.
In the end, my initial disdain for general education requirements may have been more detrimental than I realized. Introduction to the Brain and Behavior ended up being one of the most enjoyable and enlightening experiences of my college career. I can't help but wonder what other classes that I dismissed as unnecessary or unrelated could have also provided valuable insights and connections.
Despite my late findings here, I am still happy with my decision to graduate early. The college rewards system, career incentives around GPA, and a general financial urgency to begin earning more are all powerful effects that don't vanish simply because learning can be fun on its own.
However, I do wish I had approached my general education classes with a bit more open mind. Overall, this experience has taught me the importance of continuing to embrace opportunities to learn and grow as a person, even if they may not align any of my goals or interests.