We’ve all had those days sitting in class thinking, “When am I ever going to use this stuff in real life?”. The answer – all the time. It may seem like what you are learning does not apply to the career path you choose or seems pointless but in reality these classes are teaching us vital skills that hold value in the real world whether we realize it or not. As said by Rabbi Alan Iser, a religion professor at Saint Joe’s University, “I think any class in the education system provides students with skills that they will need, even if it is not interesting to them”. At the very least, any class will teach you to be disciplined by being on time and on top of things.
Microeconomics is a relatively renowned class here at SJU; to some it may even be a course that makes or breaks their dreams of being an economics major. At most universities around the world, they teach the basic principles of economics. But professor Charles Mallowe seems to think that it teaches more than just basic economic understanding. Mallowe states, “Microeconomics is one of the subjects that you do use regardless of your field because you can go into marketing, management, finance, accounting and the rules of economics apply. Even if business is not up your alley, just by being a consumer we use the laws of economics whether we realize or not”. Being a student of Charles, I can tell you that he applies real life scenarios in every class that he teaches. With that understanding, we can be constantly trying to relate economics to the real world, through a lens that many people struggle to see.
Another department that many students shy away from is biology; either because they have a sensitive stomach or struggle to deal with the piles of homework every week. At first, biology may seem like it only applies to people in that specific field; but according to Saint Joseph’s biology and environmental science professor, Catalina Pinedo, it is around us everyday. Catalina explains, “Learning about our bodies allows for us to know when something is not right, understanding what medicine the doctor gives you, and when or how to take it even why can all be linked back to the basics of Biology”. Biology is the study of life, in order to learn more about ourselves as humans and other living organisms you must understand the basics of biology.
As Saint Joseph’s student we are familiar with religion. Nationwide classes on religion are required, but many students do not seem to understand why they have to take it. Why must we learn about religions that may not apply to us directly? Because it furthers our knowledge about how others think and allows us to be accepting of others and their beliefs. Rabbi Alan Iser states, “All over the world in college education the humanities are not highly regarded, most students are focused about life after college and their career paths. What the humanities and studying former civilizations and beliefs allows for students to develop critical thinking skills and read things closely while analyzing what you are reading”. Although the course itself may not be of any value to you, it develops certain skills that other classes may not. Skills such as critical thinking are used everyday and is a large reason why many colleges and universities require them as general education.
So next time you are sitting in class with your palm on your cheek, listening to your professor talk about boring think outside the box and maybe ask how would this apply to me in life after college. This will open a whole new spectrum as to how you view general education departments and the skills that you obtain through them.