Sleeping through the general education requirements

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By Corinne Love

By Corinne Love

Life is full of choices.

Some choices are more difficult than others, but the point remains that life is full of choices that directly or indirectly affect the outcome of our lives.

These choices could be as simple as Pepsi or Coke, turn right or turn left, Britney or Christina, Humanities or Anthropology?

At one point or another in the course of taking classes here at Riverside City College, students have to face picking a course that they may have little to no interest in at all.

These classes are required courses that need to be completed in order to graduate or transfer to a four year institution.

Taking lower level division classes is reminiscent of playing a video game, where with each specific level it needs to be cleared in order to ascend to the big bad and usually, almost impossible to beat, boss level.

Upon entering RCC and many other colleges, students need to test into an English or Math class.

Depending on which class they test into will ultimately map out their educational plans.

In some cases, it can take up to five courses to actually get to the required course.

Of course, this is necessary and fundamental, if someone does not understand simple arithmetic, trying to complete Algebra is almost out of the equation.

International and non-native English speakers face a different set of obstacles.

One look through the “Moving through English” diagram featured in the college’s catalog shows class after class after class and then finally, English 1A.

The majority of these classes don’t even transfer to Cal State or the Universities.

It can be said that in the case of ESL (English as a Second Language) speakers, these classes are essential for them to move through RCC.

Imagine however, testing into English 60A4, which is not even listed in the “Moving through English” diagram.

Students have to steadily work their way up.

A grocery list of required classes can often dissuade students from finishing college.

They may become discouraged from the overwhelming amount of classes they need to finish in order to leave RCC.

For students who stick to the path, if they fail one of these requirement classes, may have to postpone their plans by one or a few semesters.

In some instances, students have taken up to four years to complete the requirements for Matriculation.

Specifically with the recent influx of new students due to the economy, the general education classes are some of the first to become full rather quickly.

Students who are aiming to graduate, or simply get started with their educational plan here at RCC, have to either waitslist the class or simply not attend a specific semester.

Some say that these courses are rudimentary and basically are a crash course of everything students have learned in high school.

However, in high school some of us didn’t pay enough attention, or perhaps the quality of that education was not up to par.

These courses could be considered a “refresher” course.

Some of these refresher classes may have little or nothing to do with a specified major.

Take for instance, an English major may never use much of the math they’ve learned other than simple arithmetic.

Some may not see the end product of having taken Math 11 (which is College Algebra).

Another example are Science majors who are required to take and pass English 1A in order to graduate.

English 1A and the corresponding course, English 1B, are both hefty classes that involve a lot of analysis and reading.

Not to make generalizations, but jokes are abound of Doctors who can’t write their way out of paper bag, or mathematicians who lack the ability to be able to analyze rhetorical elements in literature.

It could be argued that this is why majors are chosen in the first place.

If one is good at science and enjoys it, why not just cut out all the extra English courses, the foreign language courses, the history classes and etc.?

Ideally, this would ensure that the people who want to be in a class are in the right class and will get more out of it.

Students have usually, with chagrin, attested to not understanding why they need to take these classes.

Resulting in some who don’t take the subject seriously and have a one-tracked mind,which is, “I’m only taking this class to fulfill the general education requirement.”

Yet, taking an array of classes does have it’s benefits, it offers focus to students who are wandering aimlessly through college.

Afterall, the point of general education is to provide students with a breadth of material to become well-rounded individuals who can think critically in today’s ever changing society.

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