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Why You Should Take Classes Outside of Your Major

Your major is an important part of your college education. Some people choose their major based on their passion, projected salaries, prestige or just because. Your major determines many of the classes you take, but the classes you do not take can be just as important. Taking classes outside of your major lets you explore and can open you to ideas or career paths you never thought of. When you sign up for classes you should look beyond your major and choose other courses that interest you or expand your horizons.

Taking classes that differ from your major can make you a more well-rounded individual. If you are an economics major, like me, and only ever take classes about micro and macro economics and math, your schedule would be a snooze. I love taking classes outside of my major because they seem like a break in the week. I have found that even if they do not seem connected, some concepts or ideas might overlap or even apply to your major.

I think that taking other classes can give you a fresh perspective on everything in life. Being able to think about problems from multiple perspectives is important no matter where you end up  and it can help you come up with creative solutions to problems. Classes that open your mind to new ideas can be helpful in the most unexpected ways, and might give you skills you did not know you would need.

Taking classes in multiple areas can also give you more flexibility in the future if you want to change your career path. I have taken many classes outside of my major, and they have all given me insights and knowledge that could help me in shifting my career path. If you are curious about a topic you should take a class, because it could help you explore and might give you something that you want to study more in-depth or use in your life. 

I came into college very undecided and had no idea what major I might be interested in studying. I took classes in many different areas: political science, pilates, anthropology, astrology, international studies, education and economics. Through all those courses I decided that I was most interested in economics and it would be the best for my future career. But I think that it would be amazing to get to work in politics or international studies as well. I could try to incorporate them into my career path in the future. I am also glad I took all those classes, because it made me more confident in my choice of major, and I did not miss out on something I might have loved.

The classes I have taken outside of my major have also made me more well-rounded within economics. Economics can have many policy implications, and taking a political science course better helped me understand how implementing these policies works. My education class has also connected to economics; education is a big factor in poverty and career outcomes, as I am learning in my Economics of Poverty and Inequality course. 

Finally, even if you get nothing else out of taking classes that are different from your major, you might be able to grow as a person. My coursework in anthropology, environmental studies of indigenous peoples and African languages may not be obviously helpful, but I believe they made me think in new ways. I learned to look at people different from myself from their own perspective and to be less judgmental and more empathetic to people all around the world. They also taught me how to respect people and the world around me.

Overall, I think taking classes outside of your comfort zone is important in expanding your horizons and learning about yourself and the world. Everyone should take classes that interest them and challenge their ideas about themselves and the world.

Kathryn Sobota

Wisconsin '23

UW-Madison '23
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