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Opinion: Are General Education Courses Generally a Pain?

Chairs in a classroom
Photo by Olivia Slack

At Meredith College, a liberal arts institution, students are required to complete general education courses in nine subject areas in addition to the requirements for their major(s) and/or minor(s). However, I do not think that the inclusion of these classes in the requirement to graduate with a bachelor’s degree is necessary nor helpful to students.

I opted out of a traditional high school experience so that I could attend Columbus Career and College Academy in Whiteville, North Carolina. As someone who was both a cheerleader and a dancer all throughout middle school, choosing to go to a school that didn’t have any sports or an arts program was a hard decision, a decision that was made for me by my parents and I resented it. While I was still dancing at my dance studio outside of school, I was yearning to return to the sidelines of a football game.

Once I arrived at Meredith, I quickly became appreciative of the high school I attended. My early college experience provided me with the opportunity to finish an associate’s degree while also finishing my high school diploma. My program was intended as a five-year program but I finished both degrees in four years. I graduated in May 2020 with an associate in Art and an associate in Science.

When I met with my advisor at Meredith during the summer before my freshman year of college, we discussed the classes I would need to take to fulfill my major requirements. I was extremely excited to be able to jump right into the classes that were specific to my major. I realized I was only able to do this because of the early college program that I had then resented but that I am now so grateful for.

As I watch my friends complete their general education classes, I see how lucky I am to have come into college having already met all of my general education requirements. However, I had worked so hard to achieve two college diplomas that I was extremely burnt out by the time it was all said and done. My peers struggle to graduate “on time” because of difficulties with fitting general education classes into their schedules. Other peers are forced to take classes unrelated to their interests and strengths such as Biology or Chemistry, that will bring down their GPA solely due to them struggling in these subjects.

While I can see the benefits of general education courses, such as getting exposed to new subjects that might peak a new interest, I do believe that in the long run, these general education requirements harm students. They can be harmful to mental health and can stunt a student’s progress. Though I know that Meredith is a liberal arts college, I don’t believe that general education courses should be a requirement. I shouldn’t have had to overextend myself throughout high school to avoid these classes while in college. Students shouldn’t have to stress about completing these requirements in order to graduate.

By Anna Prince, Staff Writer



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