I'm sitting at a corner table in Andala, shifting between attempting to slog through my ProbStat homework and resigning to just staring out the window at the rain pouring down in Cambridge.
I grasp desperately for an activity productive enough that I won't feel guilty abandoning my homework for it. Unfortunately, my room is clean (enough), I've already bought my plane tickets home for Thanksgiving *and* Winter Break, and I can't go running because of the rain.
But then I remember that I'm (supposed to be) a student blogger! So here I am, escaping homework. I still have ProbStat on my mind though, so let's talk about it for a bit.
Probability & Statistics, in addition to Linear Algebra, SCOPE, Principles of Engineering, Biology, User-Oriented Collaborative Design, a bunch more I can't remember, and a slew of freshman classes, is one of the courses every Olin student must take to graduate. Rumor has it that Olin has more required courses than your average (engineering?) college, but I don't know if this is true because I've never been to any other college. Plus, it reeks like average college student whining.
In any case, here I am, taking a class I'd probably not otherwise choose to take, because I do want to graduate at some point.
Hopefully, by the end of the class (which is in only 3 weeks, holy jesus freak out god how did that happen this semester just started I need to finish everything can't flip out now, maybe later) I'll even know something about probability and statistics, things I think are useful for everyone to know. Which, some might argue, is the idea behind required classes. So as I think about taking this class, and as I plan the other classes I will take before I graduate, what strikes me is not how many classes I've taken but how few. And I'm becoming a bit alarmed at the idea that this is all I need to have a college degree.
If all goes to plan, I'm going to graduate in the spring of 2011 without ever having taken Economics. Or Psychology. Political Science. Sociology. Philosophy. Art. I'll have never taken a college English course, or foreign language, or even chemistry! Don't those sound like useful subjects to know that basics of? Isn't anyone worried about this!?
(Is this me freaking out about going to an engineering school instead of a liberal arts school? It might be).
I've always felt that holding a college degree indicates that someone is sort of educated and has a reasonable idea of how the world works, and I don't see how I'll get that in the next year and a half.
Where am I going with all this? Should Olin have more required classes? Less? Are other schools any different? I don't know, and I've put off my homework for long enough. Comment if you have any thoughts, answers, or relevant experiences.
PS: I did a whole lot of talking around ProbStat, without really talking about it. The class itself can be rough going at times -- it didn't take me long to realize that the last time I did any math more complicated than algebra was in the spring of 2007, a solid two and a half years ago (see that subtraction there? I'm all over that). The professors, Dr. Sarah Spence Adams and Edward Soares (visiting from Holy Cross), are awesome though. They are trying co-teaching the course for the first time, and they're holding class in the dining hall as an attempt to make up for its 8:00am start time. So cool class, and even though it's not my forte, I don't want to seem like I'm complaining about it.