The core

Note from the editor: This will be a bi-weekly column dedicated to exploring the broadening impact of the diverse Core Requirements for graduation. Each issue we will feature an article written by a junior or senior, reflecting on their experiences in classes outside of their declared major. If you wish to participate in this column, please contact [email protected].

At first glance, the Maryville College curriculum, or “The Core” as its often called, looks like a daunting list of a wide variety of classes meant to push and pull students into areas of study that they otherwise would never venture. This is, of course, is not a truth, but a mere misconception often made by first year students fresh out of a public-school system.

If you’re like most students, each course listed represents no more than another box that needs to be “checked-off” before a lifetime of education can be concluded.

We as students of the modern age are used these boxes, these lists, these unwanted math classes. Ms. Angela DeLozier, a Lecturer in Mathematics here at MC, teaches a class called Quantitative Literacy, a typical first stop for students traveling down the core pathway.

“A lot of what we do in Quantitative Literacy is to help students appreciate the world of numbers that are all around us,” said Delozier. “This class aims to give people the means to stop and think about what they [numbers] really mean.”

Could this be the reasoning behind our set courses in the core? To prepare students in the best possible way to navigate the world around us? I think in part, yes, and the proof is found the names of the sub-categories themselves. With labels like “Ethical Citizenship in the World” and “Culture and Intercultural Dynamics” coupled with things like “Historic Reasoning” and “Mathematical Reasoning” who could argue against the evident motive?

I believe there to be another major outcome of requiring students to complete classes in these domains. Over the course of three years it started to become very clear to me that in studying these topics we not only learn about the world around us, but we learn a great deal about our own core values and beliefs.

In a class called Life’s Ultimate Questions we were looking at some of history’s greatest philosopher’s answers to questions like, “What is the purpose of life?” And, “is there a god?” Weighing these philosopher’s ideas against what I’ve been taught revealed to my own true beliefs. It hit me like a ton of bricks as someone else’s words resonated in my heart like a bell that’s been freshly struck.

What I took from this entry level philosophy course was more than great table conversations, and textbook knowledge of the Greeks and the greats. I left with something far more valuable, my own answers to questions I didn’t know I was asking myself.

When we as students change our perspective of why we are even in these classes, or in college in the first place, the results from these courses of “core” can be very unexpected.

With a range of class subjects that stretches to the far ends of the academic spectrum, our Core Requirements were designed to educate students holistically about the world and about themselves.

Through studying philosophy, we develop our own personal philosophies. Through studying society and psychology, we evaluate our roles in society. Through studying science, we find the world around us, and through art, we find our passions or our expressions. Through studying writing, we find our voice, and through history, we find our past. Through studying mathematics and statistics, we find reason. Through studying languages, we find other cultures, peoples and connections, and through religious studies we find our own culture, our own beliefs and world views. So next time you have a look at these classes, embrace the opportunity, and be excited about all the things you’re going to learn about the world around you, and yourself.

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