As the last weeks of Spring quarter fall upon us, we should take time to look back on how far we’ve come as individuals and scholars. Personally, my freshman year at UCI is rooted in the influences of Humanities Core. I can’t imagine starting college without this course because of everything I have gained. Therefore, this final post is an homage to the lecturers and the classmates who left an impression on me.
As with every story, let’s see where the ball started rolling – aka, the first day of class. I was antsy. Finding a seat in BS3 1200 wasn’t difficult, and thankfully I had a few good friends who stewed in excitement with me as we waited for the lecture to begin. After listening to the procedural introductions and watching a few clips from Rogue One, I knew this course would be life changing. Or, well, I didn’t actually know what to expect. Nevertheless, my curiosity was struck.
A couple of weeks went by and I was still antsy. Amidst our studies, the world was folding into itself. Issues within the United States alongside international dramas spilled over onto daily, front page news; this machine-like repetition filed one batch of restlessness after the other for people to consume.
These escalating tensions coincided with the topics we were learning about at the time, and would continue to into Spring. Obviously, this wasn’t a coincidence. Therefore, the timing of this course in our lives, spearheaded by the theme of “Empire and its Ruins”, couldn’t have been more perfect. It may seem like an exaggeration to put Humanities Core on such a high pedestal, but because our country underwent a serious, 180° political flip as the world watched in fear, I believe that the class has inspired a resistance against ignorance, one-sided storytelling, and the mindless acceptance of norms. Tackling subjects like the Dakota Pipeline, Trump’s America, and the socio-political divides, it became abundantly clear that we were being molded to question our entire academic careers and our preconceived understanding of the world.
Now more than ever, we must condition ourselves to approach current affairs with skepticism, by reviewing the foundations that made them possible. It is explicitly stated on the Humanities Core website that…
“THE FINAL GOAL IS NOTHING LESS THAN DISCOVERING OURSELVES.”
Not only have I become inspired to learn from new interpretations of knowledge because of this course, but also my scholastic goals have become more clearly defined because of it. It’s no wonder why Humanities Core is incomparable in value to other classes. As a package that mixes philosophy, history, culture, art, and various other disciplinary lenses, I gained a variety of skills and tools that have improved my style of absorbing information.
Despite all of these benefits, the school year hasn’t gone without its own set of challenges. Independently connecting pieces of information together to reveal those “aha” moments, and retaining those “aha’s” are a beast of their own. Time restraints, however, were the most painful obstacle for me. I always devote an extensive amount of time to every assignment, which has been both a weakness and a strength that I’ve seen develop over the course of this year. Also, working on my college-level writing skills has been a rollercoaster experience. Wanting to sound like a refined version of myself, while still sounding like myself, has been a balancing act that I’m still looking to find a happy medium with. Luckily, the help that’s available within the Humanities Core department has proved to be the most important resource I’ve had thus far.
All in all, Humanities Core provides benefits from left to right. Each component of the course – intellectual, technical, expressional – offers an opportunity to look deeper into ourselves and how we operate within the world. Hopefully the incoming class of freshmen will be as grateful to Humanities Core as I have become.