Give advanced gen eds a chance

I’ll admit it, I was complaining about my AH advanced gen ed as soon as I found out that I would have to take one. I am not the most scientifically-minded person. Okay, so I’m not in the least bit inclined towards the sciences. I signed up for Human Anatomy and Physiology, already picturing myself drowning in index cards, memorization, complicated lab reports, etc. Well, there goes my GPA, I thought to myself.

Now, I know that a lot of students here aren’t always the biggest fan of the advanced gen eds. They can be difficult to get into, but more than that, I think the biggest resistance to them is the fact that they are so out of our comfort zones. That’s the point, to challenge us in disciplines outside of our majors. It can be scary to take on a subject so foreign than what we’re used to. I’m an English major through and through. Signing up for a science course was almost physically painful. The result however? Not anywhere near as bad as I feared. And truthfully, I’ve actually come to enjoy it.

For those that haven’t taken an advanced gen ed, you should know that your professors aren’t out to get you. They know that this probably isn’t your best subject, and they tailor the courses to be more applicable to all majors. In my human anatomy class, we have learned about basic anatomy, cancer, HIV, diabetes, exercise, healthy eating, etc., all topics that we are most likely all affected by in some way, and that is actually valuable information to know.

It’s been interesting as well taking a class with students of other majors. We all have very different backgrounds and perspectives, and I think that’s added a lot of value to the class. Sure, half the answers I give in class are usually wrong, but I don’t feel (too) embarrassed, typically because the majority of us in that class are novices when it comes to science.

The class has made me so appreciative of the sciences and all that they do for our society. Where would we be without them? Possibly dying of plague. But anyway, no need to think about that because we DO have science! And it’s actually really amazing. It’s made me so much more appreciative of the complexities of the human body. The biological processes are really, really amazing in how they’re so intricate, so perfectly designed. One tweak and it could all come crashing down. A scary thought, but it’s also made me more appreciative of life in general, of how precious and precarious it all is. Sounds cheesy, but the fact that one little organ the size of a fist is keeping us all alive … it’s truly incredible.

Sure, there are most definitely points I’ve struggled with in the course. It’s pushed me, but it’s a challenge that is so rewarding when I actually do well on an assignment or a test. It makes it all the more worth it when I do well, because I know that it’s not something that came easy to me, and I had to really work on it. There are of course days that I really don’t feel like opening SPSS, writing a lab summary or trying to translate case studies (basically a foreign language to this English major), but overall I am so grateful for the opportunity to take a class that I would have never enrolled in otherwise. It’s made me a more inquisitive student and a better-rounded person, which is exactly the point. Take advantage of these classes, because not everyone has this chance!

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