Stanford University announced that they would be putting in place a Humanities Core program for their humanities students. Do you feel that Humanities Core is beneficial? Should it be part of every university’s humanities program? Should all students, not just humanities students, be required to take it?
As I finish my last quarter in Humanities Core, I am able to walk away with a feeling of accomplishment. This course has forced me to expand my knowledge on a topic that I was quite ignorant about: war.
Yet as I write, the repressed memories of this year slowly begin to return — the essays, the blogs, the readings. It was incredibly stressful and I questioned myself after every submission.
The breakdown of assignments would loom over my head: midterm is 40 percent, final is 50 percent, and participation is 10 percent. In a class dedicated to war, I became more interested in the numbers that determined my grade.
Looking back, however, I don’t regret enrolling in HumCore. Seven GE requirements will have been completed at the end of this year. In addition, each quarter has begun to shape my understanding of how the media plays a key role in desensitizing viewers to war’s atrocities.
Nevertheless, my personal experience will not mirror that of another student’s. Some majors — for instance computer science or biological science — are more time-consuming because of their competitiveness at UCI. With the immense workload accompanying HumCore, the program shouldn’t be categorized as a requirement for incoming students unless they are entering the humanities.
It serves as an excellent opportunity to gain insight into a variety of mediums that challenge the notions of free will and morality, but the choice should remain the student’s. Imagine being forced to take a class that you dread going to, or how much your GPA will suffer if the material doesn’t “click.” It might give students the wrong impressions about college and potentially hinder any attempts to branch out into other fields.
College is a time for individual development. Humanities Core forces students to break out of their comfort zone and strive for excellence. The satisfaction of completing such an enlightening class is well worth the struggle.
Lilith Martirosyan is a first-year business administration major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve really enjoyed taking HumCore this past year. Although rigorous and at times too fast for my liking, it’s been a wonderful experience. As a humanities major, it’s really helpful and fun for me to explore all avenues of the humanities in such a concise course. It’s really opened my eyes to concepts that I had never studied before and made me think critically about ideas that I had previously never given much thought to. The course is by no means perfect, but it is an incredibly interesting and rewarding course to take.
Despite personally having high regards for the course, I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews. I feel the course is beneficial to humanities majors, especially since the humanities is such an intertwined discipline. Every major within the department makes use of writing skills. I think students outside of the humanities would definitely find the course interesting, but I don’t know how useful they would find it.
I can see why other schools would implement the program for their humanities majors since it is an all-encompassing course and is a good introduction to the humanities in general. I’m not really sure how other schools currently have their programs and I’ve never really experienced anything other than HumCore, so I can’t speak to whether I feel other schools should have a program like ours. I think it’s cool that Stanford is starting one; I’m really proud that UCI was the school to pioneer the program. But still, I don’t know if it’ll work as well for other schools. It definitely works for UCI though, and personally, for me as well.
Ashley Duong is a first-year literary journalism major. She can be reached at email@example.com.
I still remember my first time at Zot-N-Go before the start of fall quarter. I perused the deli section, looking for the cheapest item that still looked edible. Alas, I chose a chicken wrap and made my way over to the line for the register.
When I got to the front, I noticed the guy looking down at me, not because I’m short (well, maybe that was part of the reason), but because I was carrying a thick copy of “The Iliad.”
“Are you taking HumCore?” he asked. I replied yes.
“Oh. Good luck,” he said in a slightly sarcastic voice. I gave him a nervous look.
“Just remember, everything’s going to be alright in the end.”
What was that supposed to mean? There I was, trying to purchase a chicken wrap, and a stranger was giving me anxiety over a class I hadn’t even started yet.
But to be honest, I wasn’t all that surprised by this. A lot of people had told me that this class was going to be difficult. Now that I am almost done with the course, though, I have to say that Humanities Core has honestly been my favorite class all year long.
I’m a little biased, because even though I am a science major, I secretly like English a lot (I guess the secret’s out now). However, this class is so much more than a boring English class where the professor forces you to overanalyze an ancient piece of literature.
Through everything from novels to films to music, this class has taught me to look at the world through perspectives other than my own and value the stories and ideas of others. Although I love science, I don’t think that any science course could have taught me to be more sensitive to other people’s pain and experiences, or properly articulate my own ideas about these topics.
I realize that for some people, the amount of reading and writing can be difficult to deal with, and may even seem pointless considering the stress on STEM fields nowadays. But the ideas discussed in this course are ones that are and will remain relevant for the rest of our lives. In a world dedicated to technology, sometimes a little dose of humanity can be more helpful than anything else.
Michelle Bui is a first-year biological sciences major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.