Nothing is set
Last week, course listings for the Spring 2012 semester came out. There was a wide variety of responses to this momentous occasion. Some were excited to see what was being offered; some were worried about what classes they would be taking.
After that initial wave, everyone’s reactions boiled down to the same general one: How am I best going to plan out my life?
There are a few types of people at this school. One is the person who knows what he wants to do the second he gets here. He starts taking his major classes and knows all the requirements like the back of his hand.
The next type is the person who gets here without any understanding of what he wants to learn but ends up figuring it out eventually.
The final type is the person who never knows what he wants and ends up graduating with a major in…something, because he keeps searching.
But no matter what class of person you are in when you start, your personality and your interests change over time. I think that we should take that into account when searching for classes. We should try to make sure that when we are deciding what we want to take, we don’t just look towards our present goals, but we legitimately take what we are interested in.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t interested in the major(s) you chose, but everyone gets tired of taking the same subject over and over again. This is why the University introduced distribution requirements. It isn’t because they are evil; it is because they understand the value of learning other things beyond just the narrow scope of whatever major we choose.
This is why we have the option to take a class pass/fail. It is because we might be interested in something else; we might want to learn something else, even if we “know” what our ultimate career goals are.
I haven’t met many people who have kept up with what they originally came here intending to learn. Some were brilliant pre-meds who decided that anthropology might be more their thing. Some were economics majors who decided that math or music might be a more interesting course of study.
When choosing your courses for next semester, remember that you are always an evolving, changing person, and what you do in the future might not have anything to do with what you are learning now, because you can change at any point.
The things you choose to do here are not written in stone, and the University has designed its offerings to allow for such flexibility. We should take advantage of all there is to offer here, because we have the opportunity and the ability.
Don’t think of it as learning something because you want a “well-rounded liberal arts education.” Think of it as learning because expanding your horizons—and understanding that you might see something beyond them better than what you have now—is better for you in the long run.
Take a class pass/fail, try glassblowing or music lessons, and don’t assume that your future is written for you. There is nothing wrong with trying something new or abandoning something old. You can always walk a different path than the one you set out on.
Unless you are a senior…then you are probably going to have to wait until after graduation.