What Do You Mean General?
Over the years I have spent time meeting with students and talking about their coursework as part of my job. One common theme I see is some students do not always enjoy the idea of general education requirements for every degree. Usually this is because students are interested in their major area and are not as passionate about additional coursework that falls outside of that area. In light of this subject, today I want to share with you why general education can actually be just as useful as your major coursework. Maybe this post will even make you feel more excited for general education!
Skills That Can Be Adapted Elsewhere
A fact that I think is often overlooked is that each course we take in college teaches us something, regardless of the course. Even if it is not a field related to your major directly, it can go a long way. For example, all majors have some requirement for English. Now, it’s fairly obvious that we need to be able to read and write, but English courses can also give us skills we may need for a job one day. A pre-medical student can benefit from English classes because they may have to become proficient in reading articles in medical journals or reports from other doctors or in writing such journal articles or reports. Even reading or writing prescriptions will benefit from skills learned in an English class. Similarly, a business student may benefit from advanced writing skills when composing professional-level business letters and proposals. And the best part is this value can come from any class! Remember that even if a class falls outside of your comfort zone, it will always benefit you somehow.
As we all know, one of the pillars of Missouri State’s public affairs mission is community engagement. This revolves around the idea of becoming individuals that use our Missouri State education and the opportunities we are given to find a way to contribute to the community and make a change. What if I told you general education is a great way to become better at this pillar? Part of community engagement is being able to work with others. General education helps with this by making us more diverse in the knowledge we hold, which in turn helps us to work better with others in the community. For example, a student in History may be interested in historical events related to science. Learning about these events, including talking to professionals in the science field, will be easier if that history student has some background knowledge of science. Maybe taking a general education class in science is what sparked the student’s interest in historical science events! General education allows us to become more versatile in the things we know and the people we can work with! In this way, we are then able to engage more in the community and have a bigger impact.
General May Not Be So General
I hope this brief discussion has made you feel a little better about general education, or maybe even helped you realize how great it is that we get to learn so much! For more about our General Education program, Missouri State’s General Education web pages have detailed background and information. Remember that the things we learn are important and can always go a long way in making us better students, but also making us better Bears!
As always, thank you for reading!
(Bio: My name is Michael Rexroad, a transfer student from Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City. I am a senior currently studying cell and molecular biology with a minor in chemistry and biomedical sciences.)