Don’t limit students with core

Jake Tapley

On a daily basis, I run through the list of things I have to do.
Monday: Wake up, straighten my pigsty apartment, get dressed, eat something, read something, write something – the list goes on. This is done to the point where most of the conscious thoughts I have are triggered externally, by a writing prompt or a discussion board post or a text from my boss telling me where I’m delivering food today.

Now, this is going to sound like it is coming out of left field but stay with me.

I would like to place part of the blame for my typical zombie-like state of consciousness on the structure of the educational system. Particularly, I am targeting the notion of a core curriculum.

In lieu of needing to be cohesive, the design of the core curriculum was a no-brainer: create well-rounded human beings. But that’s not what I have a problem with.

In fact, I think I would have probably decided to be pretty well-rounded on my own accord. And I wouldn’t have needed a checklist to do it, which is the point that I’m getting at.

When you look at one of those sheets, you’re supposed to believe that you have it all at your disposal. And maybe you do, but then the constraints of time and availability and course load add up, and if you’re like me, you end up treating every day like an obstacle course.

I have to remind myself that I am here to learn, to broaden my horizons, to realize who I am and the extents of where life can and may possibly take me. I have to remind myself that passion does not have a substitute and that true ambition cannot be forged.


And I’m so tired of reminding myself.

I don’t think it’s asking too much to want a reform, not just of the curriculum, but of the attitude this curriculum inspires and instills in us.

We should be able to encourage students to diversify their studies without limiting them.

I would like to see the words “Liberal Arts College” redefined.