As years pass by, some things about Harvard that we grew to not hate change. The Game will start later this year, study cards finally could be submitted online and quite possibly soon, Gen Eds will be revamped. People often say that you don’t miss a thing until it’s gone, so we might have a lot of waiting to do. Despite it all, there are many important skills that Gen Eds have given to us. Thus, it seems like an apt time to recount how this beloved system has aided us in our growth as students and responsible adults.
Culture and Belief
Used when you need to see what are the origins of a mysterious new food item in the dining hall are– especially when the dining hall forgets to label it. Was the green sauce actually curry (Indian) or pesto (Italian)? Was HUDS trying to make a statement about globalization if the sauce tasted like both?
Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning
Used when you had to calculate how much space you had in your closet to temporarily stow trash when the parents showed up. Also used when calculating how to space out your BoardPlus budget for the rest of the semester. Sometimes, we like to use the formula (how many nights we’ll be likely to stay up late studying this month) x (the price of a box of sushi at Lamont or mozzarella sticks from Quincy Grille).
Science of the Physical Universe
Used when convincing yourself to stay in bed instead of going to Monday morning lecture. Or Monday afternoon section. Or even Tuesday morning lab. An object at rest tends to stay at rest– you were just following the rules you learned from physics.
Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding
Used when deciding what that text from that cute person in section really meant. Did they only want to watch an educational movie from Netflix at Lamont or watch it together in someone’s common room? Reading between the lines definitely took a serious amount of interpretation and artistic judgment, especially when figuring out what their text punctuation really meant.
Used when determining if it was right to go to an event just for the food. Maybe you’re a Humanities concentrator who went to a Computer Science job fair that had free Shake Shack. You were doing right by treating yourself, and besides, it's always possible that you might switch concentrations.
Science of Living Systems
Used when cleaning out the common room’s fridge and determining if any surprise living ecosystems were present there. Very important when deciphering whether your roommate’s leftover takeout was still safe for human consumption. If it was, it might have also been necessary to use ethical reasoning to decide whether you should still eat it. A liberal arts education at its best.
In more ways than we can count, Gen Eds have helped us mature as students and individuals. It’s safe to say that each of the categories will be missed in its own way. Oh wait, we’ve forgotten Societies of the World and United States in the World. I guess we'll just have to push them to senior spring.