The importance of a fun elective

Houston McLaury-

It’s that time of the year again, Gusties! MyGustavus is open on most computers, and descriptions of various classes are up for spring semester. And, while it’s important to take classes that will meet your major requirements as well as general education requirements, I always found it useful to have one class a semester based on something that I’m interested in. Whether it be a genre of fiction, historical periods, or more information on specific American cultures, these classes don’t just bring me a great amount of joy to be a part of. They also give me a bit of time to relax and recoup from the other required classes that I am taking; it helps me to balance out my course load with something that genuinely interests me.

For many double majors, sometimes it’s harder to find a class that can fulfill this type of credit since there is so little time and possibility to deviate from the plan you have. Yet, in almost every major here at Gustavus, there is wiggle room for finding a course you’re interested in. If nothing else, these classes that you take for fun can also coincide with some of the Gen Ed requirements, if you’re worried about there needing to be a “reason”. I know for me personally, I like to focus on the courses that I absolutely need first in order to offer myself more freedom with my electives later in the spring semester. So, if you need to rationalize taking a course just for the fun and knowledge the course will provide, this is one surefire way to do it.

So, when looking for a class to take for fun, always keep this in mind: what interests you? Do you like horror movies? Do a quick search of the academic catalog options in MyGustavus to see what classes are offered that analyze them. Are you interested in a country’s culture and history? Search, and you might find a litany of courses that delve into each intrinsic aspect of a country. What I’m trying to get at here is that out of the 493 classes offered this spring semester, you’re bound to find at least one course that piques your interest.

It’s important to follow these interests –even if they’re not in your major!– because it allows you to expand your overall knowledge. Part of having a Liberal Arts education is having a well-rounded education, taking knowledge from every core subject while specializing in a specific one. It’s all to make sure you’re knowledgeable about the world when you leave campus. Along with this, if you take something you don’t know you’re interested in, you could find a whole new aspect of yourself via these courses and, therefore, unlock a new interest to take with you out of college.

However, for me, I like to take courses that appeal to me simply because it doesn’t feel like a class. It feels like coming together with others to learn and discuss something I’m interested in and, again, adds variety to my schedule. It’s something that I would enjoy doing regardless of whether I took the class or not, and that in itself helps to motivate me to continue the work and grow in the class. Now, is this idea only limited to electives? No, of course not. You can have the same passion for your required classes. But, to surprise yourself with something you like, something you’ll enjoy outside your predicted everyday content, helps to give you motivation throughout the semester.

Finally, these electives offer a choice to pursue something a little more laid back, allowing more downtime, maybe to complete stressful homework. Having multiple classes required for your major a semester can easily pile on the homework, leaving you with a heavy workload to drag around campus. So, when considering an elective, be smart and look into the work that may come with it. Trust me, your future self will thank you for it.

Some semesters, we need a bit more of a break than usual, so be kind to your future self and they will reward you in turn. If this semester has been particularly rough on you, reward yourself. The 493 course options are there for you to pick and choose from, so take advantage of the multitudes of options and find something for you. You deserve to be happy and to enjoy your time up on the Hill. So, make the best of your electives for you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *