Thursday, March 1, 2012

Edjumakashion (or, more formally, Education)

I'm currently taking my first major class, Critical Reading and Writing, and we have written one paper so far. English professors are notorious for lag-time on returning graded assignments so I'm still biting my nails over here as I wait for the final verdict on my first piece of prose for Dr. Anderson. 


On Tuesday our class had a very interesting and rousing discussion about the general education requirements at OU. So rousing, in fact, that we spent a solid 45 minutes expositing the pros and cons (of course, this was also a clever ruse to delay our inevitable discourse about Flannery O'Connor's tragic tales like Good Country People and A Good Man is Hard to Find). 


Nevertheless, several of my classmates had good points. OU requires several hours of history and government, two sciences (natural and physical, one with a lab and one without), two semesters of English, and 3 hours of math, regardless of your declared major. Most of us in the CRW class agreed that asking us to successfully complete a math course without sinking our GPA in the process is comparable to placing the Titanic in a maze of icebergs and expecting it to stay afloat. Impossible. Based on the placement test that OU subjected me to upon my arrival at the university, I'm not even allowed to take a college level math course on this campus. They suggest several remedial math classes that would waste time, money, and not even count toward hours for graduation. Thanks, but no thanks, President Boren. 


So my plan is to take College Algebra online at OCCC this summer (the easiest/cheapest school around OKC) and have a dance party if I manage to pull off a B without a serious dip in self-esteem. 


Dr. Anderson mentioned that the general education requirements were intended to generate "whole-person" scholars, an honorable, though misguided, goal. One geology class won't make an English major expert on rocks anymore than two English classes will make an Engineering major a first-class writer. A single introductory class won't be the turning point on a resume. 


Based on Dr. Anderson's interest in our thoughts on the subject, I'm hoping for a review of the general education requirements. Perhaps offering classes catered to the subfields within a major would be popular (English for Engineers, Math for dummies, etc). One can only hope, because right now when I see sciences on my course plan for next semester I tremble in anticipation of my plummeting GPA.


Another subject that we touched on was the current trend of older members of society returning to college. There's a 27 year old girl with kids that attends both my French and English class. My fear is that if I didn't go straight to college after high school I would lose the motivation to succeed in a scholarly setting. I can also see the other side of the argument though. Returning to school later in life ensures that you better know your purpose instead of meandering around trying to make a decision on a direction. That woman has the benefit of learning when she knows that she wants to, thereby valuing the education that much more. 


For me? Having the opportunity to attend college directly after high school made A Very Lucky Girl. 





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