While most students would agree that the best answer for why we are at college is to learn about our chosen fields and earn a degree, this goal often gets clouded by extraneous activities and relationships. However, now that we are getting into the swing of the semester, it's important to be taking classes seriously, especially ones required for your major.
I’ve heard so many high schoolers and freshmen, myself included, say they don’t need to try in a class because it's “not in my major” or because it “doesn’t interest me.” Yet, as we get into our upper-level classes, we figure out ways to still cut corners and complain. If a class is based on something we want to do for the rest of our lives, we need to be putting more work into preparing for it now.
This practically means doing things like showing up for class and doing the assigned readings (whenever possible). Chances are, even if the classwork or lecture isn’t useful at the time, you can take something away that might be useful for the future or help you better understand class material.
Though going to a certain class may seem boring and pointless, there is a reason the university decided it was important to make it part of the curriculum. In most cases, it wasn’t just to have you waste your tuition. Someone decided that the information you are learning in your major classes will enhance your skills and knowledge and help you be ready for your career. Is that extra hour and a half you are spending elsewhere really worth losing the opportunity to enhance yourself?
Even if your major classes come easily to you, it is still worth putting in effort to learn the material and do well in the class. If you can get a C or B- without studying at all, a little bit more effort could help you get all of the information you can from the class. Also, generally you can trust that basic information covered in a class will be built on in other parts of the course or even in other classes. It’s better to spend the time understanding the basic concepts really well before you catch yourself in unknown territory.
Showing that you actually care about and can do well in the classes can also help you in networking with faculty and other students, which can be important when looking for internships and careers. Many professors are truly passionate about the classes they are teaching and would love to answer questions about their research or help you understand their field better. Connecting with them over making conscious effort in the class can help you secure good reference letters and valuable information to help you be successful in your chosen field.
Paying for college is an investment in your future. If you don’t spend time learning in the classes for your degree program, all you are going to come out of college with is a piece of paper. You have the power to make your college experience worth the time and money. All it takes is some time and effort.