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02/28/17

Why My Science Major Failed to Make Me Smarter

Posted by bostonki on February 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

I’ve been a decided psychology major/education minor since maybe November, but I’ve already heard my share of downgrading from others who presume their “hard science” choice is better than mine.  “Oh, so you’re taking the EASY route!”, was an actual statement out of somebody’s mouth.  No sir, I’m taking the route that’s ENJOYABLE for me.

Anyways, a third of the semester has already passed us by, and I am well aware of one fact.  The courses I’ll be taking from here until the end of my college career will make me so much smarter than any of my hard sciences courses (biology, chemistry, calculus) did the first year and a half.  I feel more intelligent, feel as though my brain is forming new synaptic connections.  I leave a study session with one of those good headaches.

This is not at all to downgrade any hard science course.  We need exposure to some of those rigorous ideas in our education at some point.  But continuing on with it felt stagnant.  It truly was rote memorization, and in many cases, formula application.  There really was no thinking on my own, no coming up with new ideas or questions.  In science courses (especially introductory ones), the professors feed you the information and you’re expected to churn them out on the exam.  Many important concepts from introductory chemistry and biology have been lost on me at this point.  There are some who love the ideas and do engage themselves fully in questioning and thinking logically, but it was not for me.

Flash forward to this semester, in particular my ‘Introduction to Education’ course.  There is a great deal more of reading, where we are exposed to multiple ideas and standpoints about a topic.  There are in-class and online discussions, where we have to think about an issue and identify potential problems, come up with possible solutions, and have working knowledge of a mass of phenomena in order to achieve this goal.  We juggle multiple variables and attempt to put them together to understand the big picture.  We apply these to real world settings through required classroom observation.  I present conflicting ideas in discussions that people may not have even considered.  We look at the evidence to decide if Common Core is really working or not.  We do so much thinking in that course, so much so that I had to ask if we could take a break after an hour and a half because my brain was frying up.  I leave class feeling like I’ve made some personal advancements and feeling like my brain’s grey matter actually grew a bit.

That’s a class that’s going to make me smarter.  Most classes this semester are like that.  And if they are that familiar lecture-style, the professors don’t post the notes online to ensure you’re coming to class and engaging.  Most of the science professors I had didn’t seem to hold the students too accountable.  They’d throw the slides online and half the class wouldn’t be showing up by week 5.

And this is why I believe that my psychology major and education minor will make me smarter.

 

 

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