By Megan Perry
Every other school day, I walk into my earth science laboratory class to see bored students who don’t want to be there, but suffer through the class anyway because they must.
Before class, I can hear students griping and groaning about how much they hate the class, can’t stand the work and just wish it was over already. As I walk to my seat, I see some students are on their phones texting their friends and snooping around on Facebook, while others sit with their palm holding up their chin and a blank stare on their face.
In a class that students are forced to take, the classroom environment is not a very interesting place to be. This made me think: Why should students have to struggle through a class that they have no interest in and only take because it is required? It doesn’t seem fair. The students in a class which does not pertain to their field of study creates a dull environment. If classes were filled with students who were actually enthused about the subject, classroom discussions would be much more engaging.
General education requirements at East Los Angeles College force students to take a variety of classes that are not a part of their major and seem to be a waste of time and money. Budgets and classes are being cut, tuition prices are on the rise, yet the requirements to graduate or transfer stay the same. Students have to fight to get a seat in a class they need for their major with others who only want the class to fulfill a section on the G.E. requirement checklist.
Then once the students who only took the class to gain a check mark on their list find that they have no interest in the class and can’t stand the thought of another day sitting through a class that makes no sense to them, often end up dropping the class. The student who dropped took a seat from another who might have actually been trying to major in that subject, forcing them to have to spend one more semester trying to finish the classes needed.
Why should a photography major need to sit through a life science class, or why should an engineering major have to take a physical education class, and, well, why should most of us who hate to tough out a math class be forced to take it. To me, this is a waste of time.
The price of an education is on the rise, and taking these extra classes to give myself a broad point of view to be knowledgeable in a number of different areas is costing me more than it’s worth. Sure, taking a wide variety of classes could make me a more well-rounded student, but at what cost?
Trying to transfer and move on in life becomes difficult when I have to follow the structured curriculum, filling out a checklist along the way. Having to take so many unnecessary and unwanted classes makes it harder for students to transfer.
Sure, there are the skill certificates, which narrow the focus down to the major classes and allow students to limit their math and English classes, but that stops there. Students cannot ride the transfer wave on merely a skills certificate.
Tuition prices are on the rise and this seems this only the beginning. Cal State Universities are putting a freeze on the upcoming school year’s admissions, meaning they won’t be accepting new students. There are a number of different obstacles in the way of trying to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree, and forcing students to fulfill a checklist just does not seem to make things any easier.
Now, I’m not arguing to rid the classes that I do not find entertaining. I’m not trying to say that I don’t think people should take a number of various courses to gain a broader perspective of life and the real world, outside of school. What I am trying to say is that we, as students should not be forced to take these classes that are not going to benefit us in the future.
Sure, I jumped around from subject to subject to explore and get a taste of what the other majors are like, but that is something I wanted to do; not something I want to be forced to do. If it were up to me, I would change the G.E. requirements to focus students more on their major courses and not on subjects they lack enthusiasm for.
It would make for more engaging classes. It would make the fight for classes easier, since students would only be trying to get into classes they need for their major and actually want to take. When students really want to take a class, they excel in it.
So, let’s get with the picture and quit forcing students to take classes they don’t want, aren’t going to use and make school a place to take useful classes. Let’s quit forcing students to waste their time resenting earth science lab classes, and others like it, and pump them out of community college and into four-years quicker.