I remember a few times freshman year when professors would tell me, “oh, you’re going to need this later on!” or “pay attention to this! You’re going to use this all the time!” For some reason, I didn’t think they were telling the truth. I’ll let you in on a little secret: THEY TOTALLY WERE. If I had to describe the college experience in a nice metaphor, I would say that college is like a puzzle.
Freshman year, you’re going around and finding the pieces you need. You don’t know what you’re going to be using for, you’re literally just acquiring them and holding them in your possession, maybe even forgetting that they were there. This is basically referring to the pre-requisites, the humanities requirements, and the literature seminars that you need to take. The “you don’t know when you’re ever going to use this again in your life” kind of classes. You don’t take them super seriously because you’re thinking, “this isn’t related to my major, so who cares.”
Sophomore year, you’re finding some more pieces, but you’re finally starting to figure out that eventually you’re gonna need to fit everything together. You see a match here or a match there, but you don’t have all the pieces quite yet. This is referring to you finishing up all of the basic courses, and taking a few major class. There may be some overlap between new material and old, but mostly you’re just starting to see some connections.
By junior year, you’re really aware that the objective is to complete the puzzle. More and more matches are starting to be obvious to you. You could have the entire border of the puzzle done, picking up the final pieces as you’re marching through. More and more overlap is starting to occur. Those double integrals you learned back in Calculus 2 are popping up in physical chemistry. The partial derivatives you learned in Calculus 3, literally mentioned in all of your classes. Trends of the periodic table in Chem 1? You need to know that too.
Finally Senior year, you’re finishing that puzzle. You finally see what the picture is, and you’re so close to being done. By the time you graduate, you have an amazing and completed (hopefully) puzzle! With the image of course, being your major.
Now I’m clearly not an English major, due to my fairly simple metaphor shown above. But the message that I hope got across is the following: college isn’t a bunch of individual classes that you have to take and pass. College is learning the basics and constantly building on that knowledge until you finally learn what you need to know to call yourself an engineer, or a biologist or fashion designer. Don’t think that because a class is a basic level, that it isn’t important!