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September 7, 2013

But I came here so I wouldn’t have to take math…

toon_96Many people will tell you that they chose a liberal arts school like Clark because they didn’t want to take a math class. At a small, liberal arts university, it’s a lot easier to pick classes that you want to take – and avoid classes that you don’t want to take. I know that I could have gone all four years of college without taking algebra, geometry, or stats…and for a while I thought I would do that.

At Clark there is something called the Program of Liberal Studies, which include perspective classes. These are comparable to general education classes at other schools, but with a lot more freedom.

There are eight perspectives that you need to fill before graduation, but they are not specific classes like History 101 or Writing for College. There are many options of classes that will give you the perspective of someone coming from a science background, or a language background. Because of the flexibility you can take classes that interest you, but fit into a perspective.

 

This is what I took to fill my perspectives:

 

Verbal Expressions: The Art and Science of Management

Formal Analysis: Financial Intelligence

Aesthetic Perspective: Creative Actor

Global Perspective: Global Change, Regional Challenges

History Perspective: Narratives of the Bible

Language Perspective: Psychology of Urban Living (Taken in Luxembourg)

Scientific Perspective: Weather and Climate

Values Perspective: Making A Difference

 

I always imagined that I would take a class that was loosely considered “math” to fulfill the formal analysis perspective – like a class about the electoral college or geographic information systems.

I know a lot of people who love math…and then there’s me. I try to justify it and say that numbers aren’t always the most important measurement. A lot of people think that quantitative data is the only valid type of data, or the only kind that gives real metrics, but in reality qualitative data is very informative and can give you information that might get lost in numbers.

This semester, I am taking a lot of classes that use math. I decided to take Financial Intelligence, as I thought that it would teach me a lot about real-life information that I will need to know – and I would say that it is doing that. In Unknownonly two weeks I have already learned about the future and present value of money, interest rates, buying a house, paying off a loan, tax rates in different cities, and this week’s homework problems will have a lot more in store for me. The only thing is that I am struggling more than normal with dozens of problem sets that make us practice formulas over and over. I quickly realized that I am going to have to dedicate a lot of time to this class to understand everything. Luckily, I feel like this knowledge is something that is really important for me to know so I am trying to enjoy learning all of it.

Even though I find myself spending a lot of time on the homework, I can tell that it will be a really beneficial subject to know about. I’ll keep you updated as time goes by. Last semester the class that was out of my comfort zone ended up being my favorite class. Maybe that will happen again.

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