Our View – College more than vocational training

As eager new college students fill our dorms and the campus awakens from its summer slumber, once again teeming with vigor and vitality, some returning students may drag their feet at the prospect of a structured workweek including reading assignments and attending classes that have nothing to do with their major.

While these seemingly unnecessary classes may often feel like a nuisance or bore, they are truly the epitome of a traditionally liberal arts education. They provide students with a broad array of subjects, enhance their general understanding of the world in which they live, expand their scope of knowledge and gain an appreciation for the variety of areas of study there are in the academic community.

This kind of understanding is not a superfluous frivolity, but rather an imperative aspect of living in a diverse society, allowing one to appreciate the fascinating facets of life. Although your major may not be biology, knowing the significant roles each living organism plays in an ecosystem or understanding how a plant produces its food vastly expands one’s appreciation for the world and draws one’s attention toward things that are often overlooked or ignored.

Another part of campus life Cal State Long Beach students are notorious for foregoing is their involvement with campus activities and organizations. Although CSULB is largely a commuter campus, there are many organizations and campus-related activities that offer students an opportunity to experience alternative cultures or listen to lectures that illuminate various points of view.

The University Student Union (USU) has a plethora of different activities that encourage students to mingle and meet new people, including a bowling alley, pool tables, arcade and music room filled with beanbag chairs for students to lounge in and listen to music.

Some of the Daily Forty-Niner staffers hadn’t been involved with many campus activities prior to working for the campus newspaper, but our involvement with the paper has provided us first-hand experience in working for an actual newspaper, allowed us to meet people in our field of study on campus and make a connection to the campus that otherwise we may not have had.

The University Art Museum (UAM) allows art and art history majors to feel what working in a museum would actually be like. Likewise, the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center is always welcoming new students who are interested in childcare or healthcare to work and experience first-hand what this field really entails. Many colleges on campus also offer lectures pertaining to different majors and invite respected professionals to speak to the students and engage in discussions about a field of study.

Attending a four-year university has the potential to broaden one’s horizons, but this experience does come at a price. Becoming involved in university activities means staying on campus instead of hopping in a car and taking off after class. But, becoming involved at CSULB provides an experience virtually unobtainable anywhere else.

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