The Struggles of Taking Gen Eds

When you graduated high school, you were SO excited that you didn’t have to deal with 8 hours a day of pointless classes that are teaching you nothing about what you actually wanna do with your life. And now, you’re in college. You get to take classes for your major, and you don’t have to sit in class bored all day. Finally. And yet here you are, sitting in intro to anthropology lecture, wondering what happened. They’re called gen eds, or general education requirements if you wanna get technical. And they kinda suck, not gonna lie. Basically, you finally get to take classes that teach you what you need to know for your future career as Head Girl Boss but at the same time, those annoying little requirements are ruining your schedule. Don’t worry, we get it.

It’s really exciting when you make your schedule at first, actually. You have so many options compared to high school, and they’re options that you actually care about. Even though some of the classes sound kinda hard, you’re on your way to being a successful adult. It’s so exciting. And the classes don’t even start until like 10, so guess who gets to hit the snooze? You do, boo.

And then your advisor tells you that you still need 2 science lab credits, a math credit, a fine arts credit, 2 English credits, 4 semesters of a foreign language, and something called humanities? What is this? You thought college would be different. You thought you would just get to live it up and learn cool stuff that you actually want to learn. You sit and stare at her as if she’s joking. She is not joking. She is serious. She is telling you about the math options you have as you consider how badly you actually need an education. 

Oh well, you have to take them. And besides, a bunch of girls in your pledge class have already started a GroupMe and set a designated row for all of you to sit. And there’s a row of cute fraternity brothers that sits in front of you, and one of them knows a girl in your row, so pretty soon, you all have a GroupMe and easier access to a semi-formal date. Things are totally looking up, even if you aren’t. 

And besides, it’s a huge lecture hall. So sure, maybe you take notes and open iMessage. Totally innocent; you’re still taking notes, after all, but everyone texts in class. It’s not a big deal. Until one day you open Google to search for something the teacher said, and it’s all downhill from there. Your entire row is shopping online, scrolling through Pinterest, watching funny Facebook videos, taking Buzzfeed quizzes, and basically doing everything but taking notes. But come on, you have to figure out what underrated Friends character you are based on your zodiac sign. And it better not be Phoebe’s twin sister Ursula. But what if it is? You find out and then before you know it, class is over and you’ve bought a toaster on Amazon and seen 4 cat videos. Oops.

And then it’s time for midterms. For your major classes, you’re basically killing it. You always know the answer in class, your notes are color coded and highlighted, for goodness sakes. You have a folder on your laptop for outside sources of information. You’re essentially the smartest person in college. Then you realize your gen ed midterm is in 2 days. Wait. Wasn’t it supposed to be in like a month? When did this happen? We haven’t even learned enough for a test!! Except you realize you’ve been on Pinterest all semester and you’ve ordered every sorority shirt this semester and the toaster you bought on Amazon actually rocks. Too bad none of that will help you pass the class. Those videos on Facebook that made you LOL don't seem that funny now.

Naturally, you panic a little. You cared at first, you really did, but it was just so boring that you couldn’t even stay awake. You make excuses, you cry a little, you think about calling your mom but you know this whole problem is your own fault and you know that’s exactly what she’s gonna tell you. Your friends seem surprisingly calm about it. They’re not, I promise. Remember that movie Inside Out? It’s like that. You’re not the only one freaking out. But it feels like you’re the only one freaking out.

So you take a calming stroll to the library and sit down, get ready to cram. Surely it can’t be that hard, it’s a gen ed lecture. It can’t be that hard. Except then it is. How is there so much information? How is this so hard? How is it possible this class has math in it? Breathe. Calm down. You can do this. You’re now really hating that stupid toaster, why does Amazon have to have such good deals? The test rolls around and everyone in your row is cracking jokes about how unprepared they are. You join in on the fun, if only to hide your crippling fear and anxiety of failing. You had a 4.0 in high school. How is this happening? You’d be fine with a C in the class, just let this test be over already. You answer what you know, guess what you don’t, and get out of there before you cry.

As the semester gets closer to ending, you’ve learned plenty about gen eds (even if you haven’t learned a lot in that particular gen ed). Always take it with friends, actually take notes, go to office hours, get off Pinterest in class, don’t sit behind the girl who watches Netflix with the subtitles on in class (even though she’s binge watching Cupcake Wars), and just pay attention. If all else fails, remember that this class costs money that either your scholarships are paying for, or your parents are paying for. And if that doesn’t guilt you into a 4.0, nothing will. Good luck!


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