It is often stated that students should be offered classes that will benefit them “in the real world,” that they should push themselves to take classes they normally would steer away from in order to grow and become more understanding of others and the world around them.
With that being said, a handful of Keene State College students have shared their views on which classes offer applicable knowledge not just in the classroom, but for life.
KSC senior sociology major and international studies minor Maggie Mason expressed her appreciation for the women’s and gender studies courses offered here at KSC, stating that although she isn’t majoring in the study, she believes it should be a required ISP course.
She said that this belief stems from the hateful comments she hears being directed towards people who identify as “feminist,” as well as the fact that extreme inequality still exists between genders and will continue to exist if we don’t educate ourselves.
Taking this into account, Mason also said she feels that women’s and gender studies courses are informative, positive and encourage equality between the masses and should be respected by both women and men, as women have fought battles in order to reach the level of equality we are at today.
“Along with this, we experience rape culture to an extreme in our society. There should be outlets that allow both females and males to receive education in regards to ways in which we can prevent the expansion of rape culture, and ultimately put an end to its existence,” she said.
KSC junior psychology major and studio arts minor Nicole Soubosky said she agrees. “All students should be required to take at least one Women’s and Gender Studies course.”
She said there is a lot to be gained from having a background in this particular area of study.
Soubosky added, “All students should be taking courses that force them to consider our world in a way that deviates from ways they’ve grown accustomed to. Keeping this in mind, I think social science courses in general should be taken more seriously. I almost feel as though these courses are overlooked as being “easy” due to the interesting and provocative subject matter that hides the critical thinking involved in holding a proper understanding of these social sciences.”
Continuing the discussion of courses that students would benefit from taking, Mason said, “Since high school, I’ve thought that financial classes should be a requirement. The majority of KSC students have to take out loans in order to continue their schooling and will eventually need to pay them off. So being offered a class that covers the topic of loans and how to go about paying them off would be incredibly beneficial for most students.”
Mason continued to say that a genocide studies course should be a requirement considering throughout our academic years, we are not told the truth behind the foundation of our country, the truth that includes one of the worst genocides in history.
She said, “The world should, at the very least, have a general understanding of what genocide is, warning signs and how to prevent it, for it is a huge part of American history.”
As far as requirements go, Mason said that she thinks some form of a global religion course should not be required, but strongly encouraged.
“The amount of intolerance people have for those that are different from us is disgusting and I think a lot of this emerges from religion. Although religion has produced a lot of positivity in our word, it is often misinterpreted,” she said.
For these reasons, Mason said she believes that in order to erase this ignorance towards those of different religious, we must encourage students to take courses that will enforce this.
In reference to her comments about women’s and gender Studies courses, Mason said she thinks that one regarding rape culture should be mandatory for all students, for rape culture is growing and although it is addressed on campus, it is only addressed to a certain extent.
“The programs that are provided don’t look at the deep roots of misogyny in our country, nor do they acknowledge smaller thinks that add to rape culture, like the way we speak and criticize others,” she said.
While on the subject, KSC Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Taneem Husain brought an interesting twist to the conversation.
“I don’t think students should be required to take a course in women’s and gender studies. Although information on gender and other identity politics is central to our society and our lives, requirements tend to prevent students from being fully invested in the topic at hand,” she said.
Husain continued, “Recognizing identity politics as a building block of our society is often something folks have to come to in their own time.”
However, Husain does mention that there is need for more critical thinking in our society, that more and more middle school, high school and college students are having trouble deciphering the difference between “fake” and “real” news because we build upon our knowledge using social media.
She said, “It is crucial for us to be able to interpret facts with clarity, courses that encourage us to think about reality and the interpretive lenses we have are especially necessary now. And yes, women’s and gender studies is definitely included in that category.”
KSC junior U.S. History major Meghan Green contributed similar words to Mason. Green believes everyone should take at least one women’s and gender studies course as a way to break down the stereotypes they might have about the study such as “Women’s studies are meant for women” or “Only women can be feminists.”
Green and Husain also came to an agreement about the power of a liberal arts college. It gives students the ability to choose classes that are completely out of their wheelhouse or maybe even out of their comfort zone. Green speaks to the fact that history and anthropology courses are not always seen as a pair and students should think about taking both when taking one or the other, even if it does not seem appealing at first.
She claimed to have learned a lot by doing so. Husain states that she would encourage students to take classes covering subjects they aren’t familiar with.
“If you’re in biology, take a women’s and gender studies course. If you’re in history, take an anatomy course.
I am consistently surprised by how much we are able to learn from situations and subjects that we have less experience with.”
Lastly, Husain said, “Ultimately, becoming more familiar with subjects we don’t know much about makes us well-rounded citizens, which is necessary to be able to relate to places, people and ideas we aren’t initially comfortable with — and that happens a lot in life.”
Amber Stocking can be contacted at email@example.com