Core courses—whether you love them or hate them, they’re a staple of the liberal arts experience. And while it’s true that not all core courses are created equal, for every insanely difficult or snore-tastic course, there’s a phenomenal experience just down the hall. While every school is different, there are some types of courses that you just have to take.
Something with Creative Writing
Am I biased for choosing this one since I’m an English major? … Maybe. But hear me out!
Creative writing courses can be so eye-opening, even if they don’t fit snugly in your major. You get to explore psychology and philosophy in an environment where no one can be wrong. You’ll get classics under your belt, and develop some skills for writing that you can’t get in a normal classroom. And hey, if you’re lucky enough, your professor may publish your class’ work. Then you have something to add to your resume!
With all the debates on whether or not climate change is real (spoiler: it’s real), it is important to understand what the environment really is. From the most basic elements of living to specific habitats and how they are being impacted, environmental science courses can be incredibly rewarding to take. While I don’t really remember the nitrogen cycle or the specific species that are impacted by estuary draining, I’m happy to have come away with knowledge about nuclear power plant disasters, ways to reduce water/electricity waste, and little tidbits that help me live a more sustainable life.
Even if you think you know everything about the environment, I can’t recommend a course in environmental science enough. There’s always plenty more to learn, and definitely plenty of questions to ask!
Something About Another Country
Immigration and international relations are two heavily discussed topics, and almost everyone you ask has an opinion on them. Why not take a course where you can learn about issues that are affecting the world today? Courses about politics or current events across the world may not be your cup of tea, but trust me when I say they can be fascinating. It’s said that you don’t know someone until you walk in their shoes. From a classroom standpoint, these courses are as close as you can get to learning what life is like in other countries. And hey, as politics are being brought to the forefront of social media now more than ever, it’s important to know what’s going on in our world.
My freshman year I was fortunate enough to take “Ecology in Short Fiction,” a course that could count as an English or non-lab science core. The two seem vastly different, but one of the first things I learned in the class was how many connections could be made between the two. Interdisciplinary courses can bridge the gap between a topic you love and a topic you hate (or fear, in my case). The experience was like taking two courses at once, and the result was ultimately a rewarding semester. I walked away with better writing skills and a newfound passion for environmental science. If there’s an interdisciplinary course with at least one topic you’re interested in, take it. I promise you won’t regret it!