Fighting through the Core Curriculum

Many colleges and universities have a core curriculum that all students need to complete in order to graduate. The idea behind the core curriculum is that there is a body of knowledge that all students should have. These vary from one school to the next. Many Liberal Arts colleges will demand that their students take courses in English, Philosophy, Sociology, the Arts, Mathematics, and Science. The belief is that students who finish this rigorous course load will be well rounded by the time they leave school. This system also helps students, who may be unsure about their major, find an academic discipline that appeals to them.

However, there are pitfalls to the core curriculum. Many students begin college with a clear idea of what they want to study. They are turned off by the idea that they have to "clog" their schedules with mandatory courses that have nothing to do with their major. While there are merits to this argument, it also flawed. How many people know precisely what they want to do with their lives when they are 18 years old? You may think you know, but it is beneficial to get a taste for what else is out there.

Despite all its advantages, the core curriculum can simply make a student’s life more difficult. While the English major may find reading Aristotle in his or her Philosophy class exciting, they may not be as thrilled about taking a couple semesters of college math courses. Try to take these core classes that you anticipate struggling with early on in your college career. First of all, you will be closer to high school where you probably had to take similar classes all four years so it will be fresher in your mind. Secondly, getting through these core classes early on will open up your schedule as you become an upperclassmen to take more courses that interest you.

Meet with your advisor to go over the courses that you are dreading taking. They will help you find classes that will not be incredibly taxing on you. Talk with your friends to find out if they have taken any courses that would be manageable for someone not terribly advanced in that field. Try to keep the academic spirit alive and tend to these classes with the same fervor you have with the courses that really thrill you. These are not meant to be a punishment.

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