Academic Read #13: Investing In yOUR Education

From our Statement of Affirmation: A humanistic liberal education at Gonzaga includes an “calls for an integrated and reflective search for truth…through the sciences; the personal and social world through the humanities…and the transcendent world through philosophy and spirituality.”


There are a few things in life that you’d be wise to invest in: a good retirement plan, your health, and your education.  While I wouldn’t consider myself qualified to speak on the first two points, I do have some words of advice regarding the third.


Here at Gonzaga we are all presented with a unique opportunity.  Not only do we all go to one of the most transformational institutions in the nation, but we have the ability to take classes that you may not have the chance to take at another institution.  I’m talking about the core curriculum.  Classes designed to help you develop intellectually and personally according to our schools Jesuit ideals.  Me?  I love the core.  Being an engineering major it allows me to branch out from my math intensive course load (aka, get out of Herak), interact with different students that I otherwise might not meet, and expand my view of the world.  While this is how I feel now, three years ago was a very different story.


When I got to Gonzaga all I wanted to do was study engineering.  There were few things I disliked as much as writing essays, and I thought that was all I would be doing in my core classes.  When I learned the majority of my freshman year schedule would be core I was less than thrilled.  For the first few weeks of college I did my best just to skate by, not engaging much with the content and exerting little effort on assignments.   But when I got a C on my first major essay of college I knew I needed to reevaluate my tactics.  At the time I was devastated, but looking back I’m thankful all it took was a C on an English Literature essay to shake me out of my complacency and show me the value of my core classes.


From then on it’s been a very different story.  As I’ve progressed through my time at Gonzaga I’ve become more and more invested into my core and non-major classes.  While it may be incredibly cliché, many of these classes have changed the way I view the world and even changed my life.  I’ve been introduced to subjects and points of view that I had never considered.  I’ve read and discussed beautiful works of literature, philosophy, and theology.  I’ve had incredible professors, a few of which have become mentors to me.  I’ve met some of my very best friends at Gonzaga.  I’ve grown simultaneously closer to and farther from knowing what I want to do with my life. And if nothing else, the 200 level religion course I took sophomore year allowed me to have a two hour discussion about Vatican II with a random dad at my sister’s college graduation last year.


The core curriculum provides an avenue through which students can broaden their horizons, have a better global perspective, and be better women and men for others.  Whether you’re dreading it, looking forward to it, or have no idea what it is, I ask that you give the core a chance.  If I can enjoy a philosophy class, you can too.  Who knows, you may find something new that you’ll enjoy.  Even if it turns out some of the core classes are not for you, at least you learned something.  There’s no downside to that.

If you just want to get a degree you can go anywhere to get that, what Gonzaga offers is an extraordinary learning experience.  Gonzaga is the road less traveled by, and in the immortal words of Robert Frost:


…I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by,

And it had made all the difference.


Invest in your education by engaging with the core, let it make the difference in your education and in your life.

 Joey Avila is a senior mechanical engineer at Gonzaga. He is an intern for HP in Boise, Idaho and is a ManTalk Facilitator in CM. 

 IGNITE Question: What core classes are you registered in for the fall? What are you hoping you’ll get out of them?

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