Seeing the Value in Gen. Eds
Angie Grau, School of Music Mentor
It’s finally here: the first day of classes! You are so excited you can barely sleep. Your “first day of college” outfit hangs neatly on the back of your closet door. You rise with the sun—since of course you have all 8AMs—and prepare for the day ahead. Glancing at your course schedule, you frown. Bold letters glare back: WRT 120. Ugh, you think, what a waste of a class.
We have all had that sinking feeling. Those classes in high school that we struggled with, or that we did not think would ever be relatable to our futures. Whether that is writing, math, science, whatever…you still had to take it. And because you were forced to, you immediately hated it and everything about it.
College General Education courses may just give you that same feeling at first. Why on earth do I have to take TWO science classes, I’m a MUSIC MAJOR!! This, and many similar exclamations, is heard very often throughout the Swope Music Building, regardless of how long they have attended college. Well, as much as I may sound like your parents, too bad. You still have to take them. But this time, I’m here to tell you that there it’s not a waste. There are a lot of reasons every student at West Chester University is required to take General Education Classes, and I’m here to shed some light on this seemingly horrible situation.
First and foremost, I know you’re a music major. I know you have other classes to worry about that are far more important than General Astronomy. I am too, and so do I. But, one must remember the logistics: that forever-looming GPA. Since General Education courses are three credits, they must take some priority. Getting a C or lower in a Gen Ed can do some real, irreversible damage to your academic reputation.
Now, I don’t want you to just suck it up and get good grades. I want you to actually enjoy these classes! Since your major is so concentrated, you will be spending the majority of your upperclassmen days in Swope. This may be your safe haven or your worst nightmare, but it is unavoidable. Take Gen Eds as an opportunity to branch out of the music building! One of my closest friends I have here I met in my MAT 103 course. We hit it off once we found out that we were both freshman whose favorite color was green. She is my rock, and reminds me that there is a world outside of music school. Trust me, you’re going to forget sometimes!
In addition to the people you can meet in Gen Eds and the academic impact they have, there is another thing to consider. You can choose which classes you take! I know that many high schools gave their students the ability to choose their courses, and the same is said for West Chester. In your Curriculum Guide, there is a chart that shows all of the courses that count towards our General Education requirement. You get to customize your own education based off of these choices!
Obtaining knowledge of these seemingly obvious things has helped me enrich my undergraduate experience here at WCU. Being a music major is a grueling endeavor, but you might find General Education courses to be a relief from the stress our lives endure. I hope that in your years here you remember them and that they come in use! :)