Last week, I registered for my last semester at Gonzaga. There’s something odd about seeing my entire formative experience in college being boiled down to a number of class credits that are needed in order to graduate.
Everything that I have learned about the profession I want to go in, I’ve learned from my journalism classes and my time here at the Bulletin. But everything I have learned about the entire world around me, I have learned from my core classes.
It’s come to my attention that some freshmen are upset about having to take a First Year Seminar to complete the GU core. Perhaps they would prefer to take as many classes in their major as early as possible, so as to have a lighter load as a senior or have space to complete an internship or have a job. I’m well familiar with how real these reasons can be.
I think it’s important to recognize, though, the importance of becoming a well-rounded student. I wouldn’t feel comfortable graduating college and calling myself well-educated if I was only well-educated in one realm of the world.
My First Year Seminar was one of the best classes I’ve taken throughout my time at GU. It was a criminal justice class titled Panic: Crime, Media and Fear. At risk of exposing my freshman-self as not very educated, I’ll say that this was my first introduction to the injustices that exist in such close proximity to me.
We read an article about gang behavior in L.A. and although it’s been three years and I can’t remember the name of the article, what I learned in it has stuck with me thus far and I expect it will for the rest of my life.
I grew up near L.A. and although gangs were at the forefront of many conversations about the city, I had never thought about the individuals who made up those gangs. I learned about the outside forces that compel people to join gangs, and we discussed the power of words.
We read compelling literature and held interesting class discussions where I felt like my voice was important. In this class, I learned to see issues from multiple perspectives, because my class was full of freshmen from all over the country, studying all sorts of fields from biology to English and journalism to engineering.
More importantly, I learned about the importance of holistic learning. I learned how important it is to look at another person as a whole human, rather than the crime they’ve committed.
This is something I will take with me my whole life and certainly into my journalism career. For this, I am thankful for GU’s core requirements.
So here’s my advice to freshmen and even to older students who are looking to fill their core requirements: take a class outside of your field of study. Broaden your horizons. Let yourself grow.
College is the time to learn things that you’ll never get the chance to study again and to learn it from people whose passion it is to teach students like you. Take a class you’d never expect yourself to take.
Even if you have to take one more class in your final year, your senior year self will thank you.