Elective Selection: More Important Than You Think

In just four months, the Fall semester will commence and, though many have already registered for courses, there is still plenty of time to decide what classes to take. In pursuit of our degrees, we are required to take several ‘general ed’ courses. Many times, we do not take such classes seriously—we just take whatever sounds most interesting and try to get the credit. I’d like to suggest, however, that we spend more time on such classes.

Some of us begin college with a goal in mind—to become a teacher, business-person, counselor, lawyer, or doctor. Some, however, are not as clear—we may like the idea of being a teacher, but we are not sure if it’s what we want to do the rest of our life. This is where those general ed. courses come in. Let me explain.

Last year, I took a Forensic Science course—a class that has very little to do with (I thought) my Psychology major. This class, however, introduced me to a field I had no idea I’d be interested in. By the end of the semester, I was considering a change in majors or at least incorporating forensics into my psychology career. I spent weeks researching careers that integrate both psychology and criminology/forensics; and, while I chose to stick with my Psychology major, my new found interest in forensics and criminology stays fresh in my mind when I consider the future.

If you are at all like me, there are subjects that you have yet to learn about. And, although it may not sound ‘up your alley,’ it may in fact open your eyes to a field that you are interested in that, otherwise, you would never have considered. In this light, I would encourage you to not just take classes that you know you’d enjoy or that you are familiar with; challenge yourself and see just how complex and unique our interests really can be.