Friday, September 11, 2009

Why do I have to-- ?

I have really been struggling with one of my classes this semester. We've only met for class three time so far, but it is driving me crazy. My poor teacher. She hopes that we are in the class because we want to learn more about the field of anthropology even though she knows that most of us are in it to fill a GE requirement. There is a good amount of participation in the discussions for the number of people in the class, so I hope some of my classmates are being are inspired and edified. It just isn't working for me.

I've ranted about the class several times in the past two weeks. I was frustrated to discover that a class I'd worked really hard to pass, and only taken to fill the university's Race and Ethnicity requirement, didn't count for anything but units. I had to register for Anthro 101: Cultural Diversity ASAP to jump through the hoop (after all, I'm trying to graduate here!).

I'm frustrated with the course content, which seems empty and circular compared to similar topics discussed in geography classes (see below*).

I'm frustrated by the presentation method (so far: a visceral movie that very clearly made it's point about a perceived problem in our society, and vague discussion management about topics I would rather discuss in a smaller or more controlled setting).

What makes the class worse is the absence, and the presence, of two geography classes:

My Anthropology class shares a day with my Climate class (a geography class), which was canceled on Tuesday because my Climate professor was on a furlough day. But my Anthropology professor has a different furlough day (you wouldn't believe how crazy this whole budget-cutting-furlough-day-thing is - especially for the teachers!). So I only had Anthropology and I was so bugged that I had to go to school and not get to go to my geography class. (I didn't mind sleeping in though...)

Then, today, I had my Seminar in Geographic Thought class. My course capstone. The class that proves I learned something about geography. My professor is a Human Geographer (meaning her specialty is human and cultural geography) so, of course, we tend to focus on the human side of geography in her lectures and discussions. As I was preparing my assignment for Seminar, I realized that the stuff I've been learning in various geography classes for the past three years (especially the human geography classes?) is the *same stuff we're vaguely talking about in Anthropology. Only more interesting! And more concrete.

Suddenly my internal self is screaming: "Why do I have to take this Anthro class? Why-- [hysterical 397 word rant removed for readers' sanity]"

Ahem. Short summary of the rant: I feel I have sufficient life and educational experience to meet the university's learning goal for me without having to jump through this particular hoop. I don't find value in the class. I would rather take something else that offers me greater depth of personal or career development.

Thank you. I feel so much calmer.


  1. P.S. This post was partly inspired by a Facebook status rant I put up earlier today (upon internalizing the above stated realization): "Ryann is wondering what Cultural Anthropology can offer her that Cultural Geography has not already given her (besides the Race and Ethnicity upper division General Ed requirement she thought she met two semesters ago). Um, non-spatial jargon? Time to crochet?"

    P.S. I'm not usually this sarcastic and obsessive. I'm seriously thinking about petitioning to have this requirement waived for me. It seems to work well for others.

  2. Bwahaha! This post was so funny Ryann. Sorry. I feel your frustration. I am currently taking a Case Studies in Journalism class even though my emphasis is Public Relations. So ridiculous. I think the closer you get to graduation the more ridiculous everything is. We're so close!!!
    Hang in there.