Staff Picks: Gen Eds That Were A Little Too Hard
Last week, our staffers helped our readers fill their spring semester schedules with some of the easiest and most interesting classes they’d taken to satisfy general education degree requirements. In uncovering some of our favorite courses that tick the gen ed requirement boxes from semesters past, we couldn’t help but think of some of those gen eds that ended up being a little too much.
Whether it was a friend’s advice that didn’t end up being exactly true, or maybe the professor thought their course was the only one that mattered, our staffers also had their recommendations on gen eds that ended up being pretty tough.
Sabrina Knox: PHIL 12 — Symbolic Logic
I took PHIL 12 Symbolic Logic, which can count for non-philosophy majors as a gen ed quantification requirement. I ended the class with an A, and I’m a philosophy major, so it wasn’t necessarily a gen ed for me.
The class started out with a bunch of people and really thinned out throughout the semester. I definitely wouldn’t call the class an easy alternative to a math class for a gen ed quantification requirement. Beware!
Aidan Conrad: ANTH 216N — Sex & Evolution
I had to take this class to fill a GN, and I should have done a little more research prior to putting it on my schedule. The class required a ton of reading which is always a no-no when looking for an easy class. Also, the exams took a lot, and I mean A LOT, of studying. All of that studying just for me to not do well in the class was a rough go. Luckily, I passed and I got the credits for it, but this was a class I won’t miss.
Luke Pieczynski: INTAG 100N — Everyone Eats: Hunger, Food Security & Global Agriculture
I want to go against the grain a bit and say that the content of this class was interesting, even as a business student sitting in an agriculture class. The RateMyProfessor reviews really understated how much work this class would be.
I still finished with A, but the class consisted of (multiple) readings before each class meeting that had time-limited knowledge checks on Canvas to ensure you read the material. Two to three readings and a quiz. The night before every class. Twice a week. For the whole semester.
There were also multiple projects in this class, including a semester-long academic poster that was completed in small groups. The project required library research, as well as progress checks and rough draft approval with the professor, and was graded based on your group’s presentation to a panel of librarians and experts within the College of Agriculture.
This was on top of the other semester-long individual project, two exams, and a cumulative final. My section, because of the course’s workload, persuaded my professor to make the individual project optional so long as you took the final exam. Beware of this class. The inter-domain and international cultures elements are appealing, but you will have to work for it.
CJ Gill: PSYCH 100 — Introductory Psychology
This class is a massive lecture. It’s boring, and you have to actually put in effort to get a good grade. One might think since they took AP Psych in high school or because it’s only an entry-level psych class it would be easy. However, that’s just not the case. Psych 100 has multiple tests, and the majority of the total grade comes from tests in the Pollock Testing Center. It’s also a massive lecture with only a couple of teaching assistants to help you along the way. Trust me when I say there are way better options out there, folks.
Megan Dougherty: ASTRO/CMLIT 19N — Being in the Universe
I took this class in an attempt at checking off a GN credit and an inter-domain at the same time, but it wasn’t worth it in the end. Although it claims to be a comparative literature class, a large portion of the material in this course requires a pre-understanding of astronomy and the science behind it.
As an English and comparative literature major, that’s not exactly my forte. Exams were in person, on paper, and extremely difficult. While there was a curve to every exam (which was probably the only reason I passed), I spent way too much time studying for a class that won’t help me with my future career. If you’re a science-leaning person considering taking this inter-domain, feel free to take the course! If you’re more into the liberal arts, just go take Astro 7N like the rest of us.
Keeley Lamm: GEOSC 40 — The Sea Around Us
GEOSC 40 is a token gen ed class recommended to me by many, but the course makeup has seemingly changed a lot since the COVID-19 days. The folks that pointed me toward GEOSC 40 assured me it was a lowkey, low-participation class, and sadly, that wasn’t the case for me.
It felt similar to an AP high school science course, and as a journalism major and COVID-19 high school senior, I forgot how to function in STEM classes. GEOSC 40 utilized TopHat to maintain attendance points and assigned weekly readings along with comprehension quizzes. The weekly quizzes were cake, and the assignment load was light, but the three exams were fairly challenging.
The section I took was set up in an interesting way, and students would take the same GEOSC 40 exam twice in one sitting. Students are allotted time to take the exam individually, then, within the same class period, take the exact same exam with other folks in the class. The two exam scores were combined for a final score and then typically curved. I did fine in the class, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone in search of a relaxed, easy-A gen ed.
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When paired with the Thespian Society by Penn State THON, the world changed for Theresa Illicete.
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