Why Am I in This Class Anyways?


The feeling of passing a class is so underrated at times. Not having to worry about that one bothersome class that you pushed off to the side during your college career is such a sweet moment. All that frustration and dread will now be put to rest. But there is nothing sweet about having to take a class that has nothing to do with what you want to learn.

I’m talking about core classes. Mason focuses on establishing the Mason Core within Mason students’ education to help them become engaged, well-rounded scholars who are prepared to act. But how well can you be engaged in an area that has nothing to do with your main area of study?

As of right now, I have to pay $20 a month to use Adobe Photoshop for my AVT 180 class. As a communication major, going the extra mile to pay more for a class that I have no interest in is where I lose my motivation to enjoy it. The same goes for my Math 106 class.

I find it hard to grasp why it is academically worthwhile for me to pay money for software to do my Math 106 homework for three months. I do not intend to pursue math in a serious way in my higher education. People who want to actually pursue that area of study and are invested in a class that much should be asked to purchase such software. Not me.

I see these classes as requirements and not learning experiences. That feeling creates a gap between myself and the classroom that is difficult to bridge.

I talked to my academic advisor before taking these classes and I remember the exact words she told me while I was panicking about what credits I had left to complete before I graduate. “Either way, they still need to get done, whether you like it or not.”

I think about what she said a lot. No matter how much I question my placement in Mason Core classes, they will still need to get done at the end of the day. How crazy that a core class would feel like a burden to me when it should be something memorable, something I can learn from.

I’ve learned so far during my first year of college that classes you learn the most from are the ones that will be the most memorable as you go on through life. Core class or major class, it should be a time to increase your level of knowledge and be proud of it. As we transition to a new foundation of Mason Core classes, I hope this new system will help me to better look forward to broadening my knowledge whether it relates to my major or not.

This essay is part of Fourth Estate’s special opinion section on the Mason Core curriculum from the Feb. 24, 2020 issue. Check out the lead essay here, which includes links to all the other essays.