ANSWERS: BY THE EDITORS
I am a first-year student at McKendree University and already know what I want to pursue as a career. The problem, is, I only have a certain amount of money saved up to attend college for four years; however, my program requires a minimum of five years with all of the general education courses we have to take in order to graduate. I understand these classes may be essential in some areas, but I do not understand why I would have to take a mathematics course when my major is in the arts. It’s a bit ridiculous. What do you suggest I do?
Dear McKendree Newbie,
As someone who has gone all over the place in regards to changing majors, I can assure you that these general education classes are required for a reason. They may not seem like they are important enough to utilize later in life, but it is important for students to be well-versed in the fundamentals such as algebra, English, history or science. Taking core classes will help students become more marketable in the real world. Yes, I do agree, that it may seem ridiculous at first—especially when your degree may or may not require a specific type of class. But, regardless of how students feel, these core classes are provided to enrich your mind and buff up your transcript.
Anyway, what I suggest for you to do is think about taking summer school at a community college close to your home. Although summer is months away, it would be a good idea to think about knocking down your core classes over the summer. When I first came to McKendree, I was going to go into accounting; after my first class, I had no idea what I was thinking so I changed my major. When I was in the education program, the amount of core classes was unbelievably high. Education students who think they are going to get their schooling done in 16 semesters will have to think twice. That being said, I decided to take three of my general education requirements at SWIC. Even though I have changed my major since then, taking summer classes benefitted me financially on so many levels. One, it was significantly cheaper. Forget thousands of dollars! SWIC only cost me about $700 because of the number of classes I was taking. Two, I will be graduating a semester early, allowing my loans to be paid down with my extra college fund money.
Trust me when I say this, take summer classes. It will benefit you in the future. Make sure you talk to your advisor and obtain the necessary paperwork in order for your summer classes to appear on your transcript, but you won’t have to worry about that until March of next year—depending on when your local community college starts opening up the campus for summer registration.
I hope this advice helps!
Dear McKendree Newbie,
General education classes may seem like they are in the way of your degree, but they are essential in achieving your education. They may seem useless to no end, but you’ll get through them and find that a lot of them are actually pretty interesting. Honestly. These classes are set up to where you can find a way to work them into your future career. I don’t know how many times I found myself sitting in history or bio and realizing that what I was learning could be useful in a story I was working on or for a paper I had due in one of my classes. With each class, I realized that not only could I use the information in my writing, but also that I was learning different skills which could be useful in the field I am pursuing.
From taking psychology and sociology, I have learned how people work and think. I have also learned how I can use those aspects to convey pathos to my audience. I learned how to talk to people while delivering a message in my speech class. Through history, I learned how important it is to preserve our past and learn from the mistakes that our ancestors made. In biology, I learned the importance of nature and keeping our planet safe. English courses helped me become a better writer through reading greats like Faulkner and Whitman. All of these courses have taught me something, and they will help you too if you give them a chance.
As for the cost, there are plenty of opportunities like work study on campus; you just have to ask around. It certainly helps in terms of paying for school. Also, I suggest you go and talk to McKendree’s Financial Aid department in Old Main; they can help you set up other options that can aid you financially like applying for FAFSA, scholarships and more..
I wish you luck on your many endeavors here at McKendree.
Dear McKendree Newbie,
I understand your thoughts behind gen. ed. classes. However, you should make the most of them. For example, if you have to take an English class, but you hate English, choose the Gen. Ed. course that would most interest you. That bit of advice may seem obvious, but the fact is, many areas (like English, science and math) offer a variety of gen. ed. courses.
Honestly, you should look into finding a job and probably an off campus job, as long as you have the time. If you don’t have the time, you should get all of your priorities in line. A job is very important; a job will fund your college education and give you extra spending money so it is crucial to have one. An outside-campus job will also give you experience for your future career (learning to deal with customer service, coworkers, etc.).
Also, look into community colleges. Community colleges offer general education courses for a cheaper price. The more gen. eds. you get out of the way, the better. Sure, you are sacrificing your summer, but it is not that big of a price to pay when you can get your college degree done in 4 years instead of 5.