Becoming Well-Rounded

27 02 2012

For many people who’ve reached middle age, the term “well-rounded” could very well refer to their physical shape.  Something about turning forty seems to reverse metabolism.  Losing weight becomes a hair less than impossible, while gaining pound after pound requires no additional exertion of effort.

To a co-ed, well-rounded refers to what their university of choice hopes they will be upon graduation from their chosen course of study.  In order to assist students, a Bachelor’s degree requires a little bit of something from multiple fields of study. For me, those areas include everything from fine arts to history to philosophy.  Not satisfied that those courses will round us well enough, classes, referred to as “global markers” at SNHU, require expanding our minds onto topics that involve the ever-shrinking planet on which we live.

In theory, such requirements logically indicate a broadening of intellectual scope.  After all, a global citizen shouldn’t only be versed in Information Technology or Law or Criminal Justice or insert your field of study here. Knowing a little bit about an abundance of things might lead to an open mind or broadened horizons.  Of course, it might just end up being a subject studied during that term and quickly dismissed once the final exam has been taken.

Psychology

Currently, I’m involved in my third psychology class. In the introductory class, I learned all about how the brain functions, when the study of psychology began and a few basic theories of general psychological study (which included Sigmund Freud’s lewd obsessions with sex as the motivator behind every action).

This term, I’ve broadened my scope (or would that be narrowed my focus?) on theories of personality.  Can you guess the very first theorist we studied? Bingo! Sigmund Freud again, and with no less emphasis on ego’s never-ending task of satisfying id’s sexual desires. Of course, he is considered the founder of the concept of personality. Considering the negative opinion he held of humankind, this fact seems overwhelmingly pathetic.

As with most of my other classes, I realized I didn’t really even know how to define personality.  Now that the class is nearing an end, I think I might have a better idea of some of the things personality includes, but we’ve only scratched the surface of this subject.

That’s all that can be accomplished in these classes, required by optimistic administrators who believe opening the door on various topics will entice us to desire more.  In fact, if we never stopped taking college classes, I’m sure those administrators wouldn’t mind in the least. Can anyone say “Job security”?

Global Markers

I satisfied the requirements for the two required global markers with World Religions and World Literature. That literature class was actually subtitled “The Foundation of Cultures.” In it, I read excerpts of writings from every continent and from the earliest documented writing – cuneiform in Egypt.

Even two years later, I recall that world religion class having the most intense discussion boards I’ve encountered in online education. As opinionated as I am on the subject (I’m sure you hadn’t guessed I had that personality trait), an online forum allowed me time to cool my jets and carefully respond to people who claimed the Bible was as misogynistic as the Qu’ran.

Environmental Science

At first glance, this appeared to be a class for tree huggers. In fact, I’m pretty sure our professor loves her “mother Earth” more than her real mother. Wake me up to how many of my common practices have a global impact. Studying the very unproven idea of global warming began to round me.  In fact, I was sold on the Civic that burns liquid hydrogen (emitting only water vapor as a by-product), but the only place I could refuel it was in California.  Inconvenient, to say the least.

Music Appreciation

Actually, the professor of this class was the first one that made true the saying I’ve heard from so many who’ve graduated college before me.  “Professors teach a class just so they can make the book they’ve written the required textbook.” Actually, she wanted all of us to check out her studies on some tribe indigenous to someplace because it really related to the history of music.  Sound far-fetched to anyone else? At one point, I could tell the difference between fugue and minuet, but without application and constant use, that (dare I say useless?) knowledge evaporated within weeks.

History

My plan with the first year history class: the CLEP exam. I’ll buy a study guide, pay a fee (less than $200) and take a test.  If I get at least a 70%, my college grants me the 3 credits and I’ve met that requirement.  A brilliant idea if I do say so!

For my second year history class, I took a class on World War II. The professor brilliantly guided us through pre-war issues, propaganda, Axis motives, Allied failures and eventually Axis surrender.  Some of the problems that lead to that war raise their ugly head from time to time even 70 years later. Once again, history proves that technology may advance, but humanity never evolves from the selfish pursuit of more land, abundant wealth and greater power.

Mission Accomplished?

Do I feel well-rounded in the sense the organizers of my degree requirements hope? In some areas, I have grown exponentially broad-minded. Other areas lack all appeal for me. I’m not sure I’ll fit higher education’s definition of “well-rounded” when I graduate.  I’m positive, whatever the case, it will only be my mind that fills out; I’m keeping my waistline in check.

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