One of the things I looked for in a university was size – I knew that this would be an impetus for diverse class selection. USC’s General Education (GE) system did not disappoint. Some of my most profound and fulfilling insights have come from material I learned outside of engineering, in my GE’s. Here’s a snapshot of the classes I’ve taken, and why I’ve loved them:
Cat. I – Introduction to Christianity
This class looked at the history of Western Civilization through the lens of the impact of the Christian faith. Starting with pre-Roman pagan traditions and ending with the modern trend of Christianity moving towards the global south, this course provided a unique look at Western history. Professor Albertson did a wonderful job of providing academic insight to the principle beliefs of the Christian faith, and how these beliefs have steered the course of the West.
Cat. II – Introduction to Buddhist Literature
It feels like a cliché to say that my freshman course in Buddhism profoundly changed my world view, but it’s the truth. Having no exposure to Buddhism prior to this class, learning about the tenants of the faith through analysis of first-hand documents was fascinating. My TA brought the material to life by mediating good debates in our discussion session. Because of this class, I was inspired to pick up meditation as a personal habit.
Cat. IV – Modern American Poetry
The créme de la créme of my General Education, Modern American Poetry is one of the best classes I’ve ever taken. Professor Gioia knew many of the students would come in to this class with hesitance and negative previously held views of poetry, but was able to communicate his passion for the material so eccentrically it was difficult to not gorge on the material. Exposure to some of the most profound and poignant literature of the past century changed me in ways I can’t share, but I’m still chewing on some of the lessons.