College is a stressful time when you are busy with required classes, jobs, internships, relationships and everything in between. But trust me on this one; you should still make time for one more thing: taking classes outside of your major. Yes, obviously it’s important to prioritize the courses required for your major, but the benefits that come from expanding your classroom experience are worth the extra effort. Here are 5 solid reasons you should consider taking a class or two outside of your major.
1. Gain some insight.
Often times when you take a class with a subject different from your major, you still learn information that applies across all areas of study. For example, you could take a comparative criminal justice class and discuss different world and culture perspectives that you can later apply to your world literature class. Adding information you learned in the criminal justice class to the different cultures you study in world literature only makes you a more well-rounded, enlightened student for doing so. There is no downside to gaining as many perspectives and as much insight on a topic as you can.
2. Immerse yourself in diversity.
When you take classes that are out of the norm for you, or perhaps even out of your comfort zone, you are bound to meet new people with diverse opinions and ways of thinking. Chances are, the further you get into your major, you will have classes with a lot of the same people, and often, those students are similar. That is not to say all students of the same major are alike, but due to the simple fact that they have the same life passion they are pursuing at college – they probably have a lot in common. When you take a class outside your major, you meet different people who do not have the same interests as you and usually offer a different perspective. An art student may have a much different life approach and background than a biology student, and the cool part is you can learn and grow from exposing yourself to both those approaches and backgrounds. Every major and every person has something valuable to offer.
3. Develop your opinions.
When you are exposed to the different information, perspectives and ideas provided in different classes, your own opinions begin to grow and develop. There is nothing better for either challenging or solidifying your opinions than learning new information. The more you learn about a certain topic, the more you will understand and react to that topic, and the more you will develop an educated opinion. When you develop educated opinions you start to understand yourself more fully and where you stand in the world. Successful, independent students know their own minds, but are always open to expanding their knowledge.
4. Discover new interests.
If you take a new class you may discover a new interest or hobby. How do you know how much you’ll like something until you try it? You may simply discover an interest in learning more about a subject, or you may discover a new activity to get involved in. Many colleges and universities offer unique, fun or interesting classes to take. For example, Southern Utah University offers classes to learn new skills such as Archery and Horsemanship. Arizona State University offers a class in “Slam Poetry.” University of Colorado Boulder even offers classes such as “Drawing for Non-Majors.” The possibilities are endless for discovering a new interest to pursue.
5. This is the time to learn.
Last but not least, college is the ideal time to learn as much as you can. You can continue to learn for learning’s sake once you’ve graduated from college, but there will never be another time in your life where four years are specifically dedicated to learning. Once you start a career and move on to the next step in your life, you will not have as much time to immerse yourself in education, so why not take advantage of it while you can?
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Micala Downs attends Southern Utah University and studies English with an emphasis in creative writing. Some of her favorite things include basebeall, hiking, and Mountain Dew. She aspires to live the lovely life.