Hell on Earth?

Dirty confessions and a few pieces of advice about Core Humanities

Can you believe that the University of Nevada, Reno forces you to take three Core Humanities classes in order to graduate? All that reading and writing and learning about things you don’t care about and probably will never use in real life. I’m a journalism major; why should I have to take classes about medieval cultures or the constitutional change?

Many students get their first impression of CH from upperclassmen who tell horror stories about how awful these three required classes are. Well, I am here to shed new light on the problem. First, calm down and chill a second; it really isn’t as bad as many people will tell you. Whatever your major, there will be much harder classes in your future than the dreaded CH.

Personally, I loved these classes. I am a senior now and have completed all three classes. Let me make a confession: I love to write, but reading just puts me into a baby-like slumber. So how did I survive a class where about 85 percent is reading, 5 percent is listening to the lecture, and 10 percent is writing weekly one-page essays?

First, I didn’t save all the reading until the last second and then try to cram. I spread it out and took my time. Secondly, the weekly one-page papers are as easy as tying your shoes. Sure you took history in high school, but in CH 203, you get the real story. The tale of Columbus is stripped of its falsities, and the raw truth is unveiled. And do you think the first societies in America were barbaric? Well, they weren’t. They were very civilized people, contrary to popular instruction.

You may think that reading Homer’s The Iliad sounds like a buzz kill, but in reality, it can be quite interesting, along with Dante’sInferno,” Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels’ The Communist Manifesto and even the scariest book of all, the Bible. This isn’t high school. When you read a book, there is more beneath the words than a sheet of paper.

Reading hundreds of pages a week and analyzing and writing your opinions on topics you wouldn’t normally encounter helps to make you a more well-rounded student. Regardless of your major, you will graduate UNR with a better understanding of other countries, religions and philosophies. These classes will force you to write and read, but they can also help you in your other classes when you need to write essays in a short time or read long books in a matter of days. So relax—Core Humanities won’t kill you or even cause you to lose your hair; it can only help you become a more knowledgeable college student.

If you sign up for CH with an attitude that it won’t be that bad, then it won’t. Just try to pay attention at every class, read as much of the books as you can and write how you feel. These professors aren’t out to fail you. As long as you do your best and turn in all the assignments, passing shouldn’t be a problem.

Another tip is to sign up for CH with a friend. Having a study buddy for the final exam is always a plus. The final exam is probably the scariest part of the class. Hundreds of terms and topics could possibly show up on the test, but when it’s handed out, only a small percentage of what you studied actually makes it to the exam. CH professors pack your brain with so much information, it would be impossible to test you on all of it.

If CH still sounds excruciating, there are two other options. One, take the classes at TMCC. Two, take them online through independent learning. I took CH 201 online the summer after my freshman year, and it was a breeze. Just remember that you aren’t the only one taking these classes. Everyone has to do it. The advantage you have is you know the truth: CH is not Hell on Earth.