The liberal arts Core Curriculum at Fairfield University helps students develop their interests, prepares them for their future careers and increases their understanding of and empathy for others.  

If you had asked me two years ago when I was a newly-minted sophomore transfer student at Fairfield University, “Do you like the Core Curriculum?” I would have said no. 20 required classes that I didn’t get to pick? What kind of fresh madness was this? 

But then I took another look at the Core and I realized you do get to pick most of the classes, which range from behavioral and social sciences to religion, history and philosophy. I thought, “Ok, I’m an English creative writing major. Maybe I can take psychology to learn more about the human mind so I can delve deeper into my characters’ flaws and quirks. Maybe history will help me learn about other people, times and places.”

In fact, the classes I found the most helpful were the classes I never would have taken on my own. If I had never taken English 12 (which is now English 100), I never would have interviewed the spoken-word poet and Fairfield professor Lizzie Louis, and I never would have learned that I actually enjoy interviewing people, which led me to get a digital journalism minor.

 In my history classes, I learned about the tumultuous beginnings of the United States and, more specifically, about the family structures in the Chesapeake Bay colonies. In my “Biology and the Human Genome” Core class, I learned about human genomes and CRISPR gene editing, which according to clickorlando.com, scientists recently used to edit genes to help cancer patients battle cancer using their own immune systems. My religious studies classes helped me learn more about Judaism and Islam, two religions which have shaped the flow of cultures across the world. In my philosophy classes, I learned about the development of ethics, the importance of enlightenment in Buddhism and the necessity for compassion in Taoism.

The thesis in creative writing is between 50 and 120 pages long. Ultimately, for my creative writing thesis in fiction and poetry, which I wrote in spring 2019, I ended up using a lot of information which I learned from my Core classes-history, biology, religious studies and philosophy.

The Core has helped me so much. It is like a caring older sibling who transforms over time from seeming annoying to someone you can genuinely count on to help you become the best version of yourself. The Core has helped me enrich my worldview and connect with people from all backgrounds and class years. It has allowed me to hear diverse perspectives from my classmates and to develop empathy and respect for others through class discussions.

The Core has helped me discover new ideas and cultures, times and histories, sciences and philosophies that I never would have known about otherwise. The new Magis Core will allow students to have even more freedom to direct their own learning, while still receiving all the benefits of the previous Core. 

So thanks, Core. And to the first-years and sophomores who still have a lot of their Core left: actually, you will enjoy it and it will transform your life.

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