General education is tedious but beneficial

The United States’ schooling system at the college level has a strict policy requiring students to take a core of 21 general education classes before moving onto classes in their desired field.

At California Lutheran University, these classes stretch from simple mathematics to upper division religion, like many other universities in the United States.

This rule brings up a valid point and question to which students have been pondering for many semesters and long study nights in the library. Why am I wasting my time on this useless information when I could be bettering myself for the future?

Many students are opposed to these required classes, labeling it pointless and time consuming, while few consider the core 21 schooling useful and necessary.

However, the extra classes are meant to benefit us. For those of us who do not know what we want to do in our future, these classes allow us to test out different areas of study.

There is a constant presence of international students at CLU looking for the American university experience. Many questions come with numerous exchange student applications, seeming as though in foreign countries, the core 21 is not enforced.

Why would a foreign exchange student who was given a better opportunity to pursue their dream job bother coming to the United States to study if it may in fact hold them back from their desired degree?

Thea Jerejian, a junior Norwegian transfer completing her second year at CLU, was looking for the right university in the U.S. to make her educational road worthwhile.

“I heard about this school through my friend and my cousin and they said that the classes were very small and you get a good relationship with your professor,” Jerejian said. “It’s easier to get a lot of help here than in Norway.”

Jerejian and fellow Norwegian transfer, Elisa Chavez, were both thrown off by the core 21 policy.

“In a way, I guess it’s good because you should show a certain competence in a wide variety of classes,” Chavez said. “It was a bit frustrating coming here with the hopes and excitement of studying what you wanted to study and you are forced to take classes that you don’t even like.”

Even students who are United States citizens are unpleased.

Senior Tyler Hebda, majoring in business, was highly dissatisfied with the emphasis on material he felt was irrelevant to his future career endeavors.

“I knew there were some core classes I had to take, but I didn’t expect to take so many,” Hebda said. “I don’t feel like I need to learn it for my major. It’s not necessary because you learn all that stuff in middle school and high school.”

Though some students may find the classes to be unnecessary, the job market is competitive and any extra knowledge we can gain can put us ahead of the rest of the field.

The university staff are strong supporters of the core 21 requirements. Lorraine Purmort, associate registrar for CLU, believes that any information in which you attain in the core 21 classes is going to be useful in some way down the road.

“I’m in favor of the core 21,” Purmort said. “I think it’s a basis that can be worked on. Granted, there will be classes and subjects you will never use again. But what it does is expose you to a lot of things, especially to people who aren’t sure of what they want to do.”

Purmort hints at the foundation of what learning is all about: obtaining information and later utilizing it during real life situations. Her views are concrete in the belief of benefiting student advancement.

“For example, I did not use my college algebra class after college, but I know enough to get by in my life really, really well and I was a social work major,” Purmort said.

The idea of the core 21 curriculum is a push for me. However, the more you know, the better off you will be in the real world.

So, the moral of the story is to learn how to build a fire no matter how cold it is.

 

Nicho DellaValle
Staff Writer
Published Oct. 2, 2013