Welcome to the Humanities

What do philosophy, literature studies, and history have in common?

Oh yeah, the professor requires you to participate in class. Like, actual participation. As in, you can’t just jot down notes and memorize math formulas.

For my history class, participation is worth 25% of the final grade. I kid you not. Well, I suppose it could be worse; it could have been 40%.  I guess for courses in the humanities, you can’t really teach the material. There’s no Boltzmann distribution to calculate, no chemical properties to formulate, etc. You kind of just discuss the material and “learn from each other.”


I mean, I’m not going to lie. History and philosophy are pretty interesting. But why make class discussion such a large part of the grade? This isn’t Public Speaking 101. Also, the same 4 opinionated people end up hogging most of the discussion (aka one-sided conversations) anyway.

Then again, I can probably guess what led to these drastic measures of making class participation worth a sizable chunk of GPA. I’ll bet otherwise, no one would bother reading the required readings. It is a great incentive–you have to give them credit for that.

My professors made a point to mention that “all opinions are welcome, no question is too stupid.” As someone who took mostly quantitative courses last year (math, biology, logic), I can attest to the falsehood of the latter statement.

But I guess the bigger picture is, we should all put on our creative thinking caps and eloquent speech mouth guards. It’s the publicist’s dream come true: someone out there is willing to listen to his views on how Plato’s disparaging outlook on the Sophists undermined Rome’s society on the philosophical level… wait, what?  




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