Trying to see the big and relevant picture

Illustration by Justine Liang.

“I’m never going to need this!”

I clearly remember watching a Boy Meets World episode in which Mr. Alan Matthews tells his son Cory Matthews about the time he discovered simple arithmetic drills really do come in handy. After being the kid that would sit at the back of the class complaining about the uselessness of the class material, he came to realize that his teacher’s insistence on drilling addition and multiplication skills came in handy at his store clerk job, allowing him to rise to becoming the manage for the Market Giant. Cory presumably learns his lesson from his father and goes on to discover the rest of the world.

Oftentimes, it’s hard for us to figure out why we actually need to take certain major requirements, but it’s especially hard for those of us who are not Pre-Med and do not have the threat of an MCAT looming over us. Take, for example, the discussion I had for my Metabolic Biochemistry class. The entire time my TA was going over the material, he would quickly interject with, “yeah you’ll need this equation for the MCAT” or “remember this for the MCAT!” That’s great, but what about people like me? When am I ever going to need this?

My opinion is this: you just don’t know when you’re actually going to need something. I never thought I would end up needing AP Macroecomics until I declared my double major in Environmental Policy, and I never thought I would need the design skills I picked up in high school journalism working as a Peer Advisor in the Muir Academic Advising office. Our paths are not set yet in stone, so the clear connections between our classes and our future careers don’t necessarily exist.

Like Dr. Henter emphasized, use your experiences to help you navigate your future, but don’t write off a class entirely. Even if the subject doesn’t directly relate to your career, the skills you learn can be applied anywhere. I’m probably one of those people who really liked Organic Chemistry not for the subject material (I am in no way going to drop everything and drive into world of chemistry), but because it taught me how to really work and study for a class, and how to draw large parallels between everything I was learning, in chemistry and my other classes. I’m experiencing what Mr. Matthews realized at the Market Giant – you’ll always need what you learned in school someday.