Editorial: Electives vs. General Education

Encouraging students to focus primarily on general education classes over electives carries both positive and negative consequences for both the student body as well as the college itself.

There is often a stigma associated with students, regardless of their pursued major, that take classes just for the enjoyment of it rather than working towards their degree or their future transfer. There are always assumptions that such students are, for lack of a better term, wasting their time. It is true that focusing on the required general education classes 100 percent will get a student in and out of college, be it community or university, quickly and with the utmost haste. But, do the positives of focusing on GE classes alone outweigh the possible negatives?

Classes require student attendance to remain available; therefore, if there are no students enrolled in a class then said class runs the risk of being canceled. Electives fill a necessary role in the life of students. It’s electives that can make the difference between burning out during a semester and staying the proverbial course. There are only so many classes we can stand to take that are required of us, sometimes we need to take a class that we’re actually are interested in taking.

That is, not to say, that GE classes cannot be enjoyable of course. English, mathematics, science, history; each department has their own positives and negatives of course, but not taking the time to enroll in a class for the simple enjoyment of it could be the very thing that overwhelms a student.

Without students to fill elective seats, we all miss out on the opportunity to take a break from the GE required classes and enjoy ourselves while in the process of learning. Without the occasional chance to breathe freely, college becomes more of a job than a process of enlightenment and learning. We should look forward to school days, not dread them as if we were going to a low paying day-to-day job. Electives allow for a change in the monotony, giving us a chance to learn new things that have no bearing on our future goals. Learning should be enjoyable, and we should be able to occasionally take a class for the simple pleasure of it.

College does not have to be an in-and-out affair. Yes, we all want to move on with our lives and achieve the degrees we have been working for, but doing so without enjoying the proverbial scenery would be a waste of the experience. So when you’re planning your classes for the coming semesters, allow yourself to take at least one class for the simple fun of it. Maybe it won’t work towards your major, but so what? At least it will be a fun experience and you’ll get the chance to learn something new in a different environment. As they say: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and even if your name isn’t Jack you can still have some fun.