Written by: John Stephen
As the frenzy and stress that accompanies the end of the semester descends like a weight upon campus, many students may question why they are required to take so many classes, especially electives that are not relevant to their major.
Electives, however, are not a waste of time; they are essential in building a student’s foundation for their college years, careers and all other post-college endeavors.
Electives help students discover the major and career path they want to pursue, and students need all the help they can get when choosing a major.
Half of the students who declare a major when first entering college end up changing it, according to Dr. Fritz Grupe of MyMajors.com, a site that assists students with college and career planning. UC Berkeley’s Career Center said these students will end up changing their major not just once but three to five times.
When students decide they are unsatisfied with their current major, electives inform students what options are available. They introduce students to a variety of fields and topics that they most likely would not experience if they were only required to take courses within their major.
Electives let students dip their toes into a certain pool of study, which is a chance to assess a major’s merits before diving completely into it. As a result, students are better prepared to make a wise, appropriate major choice.
Many students will choose a post-college career that is unrelated to their major. Electives provide students with basic knowledge on a myriad of subjects, and that knowledge may prove to be the key in snagging a job that isn’t connected to a student’s main area of study. Likewise, an elective course may give students access to a job field that would otherwise be restricted from them.
Electives don’t only help a student’s career; they also help to produce a well-rounded college graduate who flourishes in several different interests. A student may enter an elective class begrudgingly, mourning the fact that it is required, but come out of the same class with a newfound fascination, hobby or even passion.
The electives college students take will also widen their sphere of understanding through the exploration of different cultures, places, art forms, etc. Such learning makes students more aware and responsive to the rest of humanity.
The benefits of taking electives are numerous and wide-ranging, but many students fail to see them because these benefits aren’t reaped until after graduation; instead, students see yet another course to steal away their time and exhaust them with work.
No discipline, academic or otherwise, seems pleasant at the moment, but rather painful; however, later on such discipline provides many gains to those who are trained by it. While electives may seem to be a pointless, unnecessary way to spend time in college, they will prove to be profitable in many ways after those college days come to an end.