I love literature classes. I love devouring the novels and then discussing the characters, story lines, and histories of the authors. I do not mind the essays and the critical analysis associated with a degree in literature.
While I have many friends within the English department, I often yearn for the science classes of my freshman and sophomore years. Why in my right mind would I lust for the late night study sessions, the multiple choice tests every three weeks, the four-hour labs, and the early morning classes?
It really is simple - I miss the social networking provided in the science classes. With science classes, group study is not only the norm, but it is also a necessity. Strangely, my fondest memories from my sophomore year are based on being up until the wee hours of the morning studying.
A core group of six other residents and I from Steuben Hall would keep each other company as we drew organic chemistry and physics problems on the white boards in the study lounges. We were a pack, all hunting for the same thing, seeking the same prey - the answer to the most complicated organic chemistry problems.
It created an atmosphere with one of two things: either a positive outlook because we all understood it together, or a positive outlook because none of us had a clue what the answer was.
Conversely, in English classes (and the same may be said for other majors, but I have no experience, so I won't generalize), there is often a greater focus on the individual. Group work is rare, and when it is done it's often for a single project or class discussion.
In the classes I have taken which required group work, it was always for a project to be presented on one singular class period. For most English classes the grade is mostly based on essays, class participation, and a final - no real need for group study. English classes foster the lone wolf approach to studying and learning: everyone for him- or herself.
Group work is not only evident in classes - outside scientific research is rarely done alone, and that holds true across the board in any field. Research is a collaborative effort, seemingly impossible for one person to tackle.
English classes may thrive on the lone wolf's goals for precise rhetoric and pompous literary analysis to seek the truth (which I repeat, I do enjoy), but the individual hunt in the race for knowledge may hinder our future hunts when a pack is necessary. When it comes to real-world working situations, it is doubtful that anyone can weasel their way out of group work. It is necessary for our futures. Whether you love it or hate it, working with others is essential for all of our future goals, no matter where we end up.
Maybe the real advantage of going to a liberal arts school like Geneseo is the mandatory cross section of classes. As the core requires, everyone must take two sciences classes, as well as various other classes. We learn how to catch our own goals alone and how to seek the truth in a pack.
Kelly Zwiebel is a junior English major who loves extended metaphors about wild animals.