Core allows students to find joy in learning

I love music. I study music. I am, in fact, a music education major. I do not imagine that I will have a career where I will do much of what can be called “useful.” Not in the way that, say, an engineering student or a pre-med student will have a useful career. I also do not imagine that I will contribute a great deal to the economy, even though the music industry as a whole generates billions of dollars each year. Let’s be honest, we can’t all be Beyoncé.

To be even more honest, I can’t guarantee that I will work in the music industry my whole life or even at all. Who knows? I may not even become a teacher. This is slightly concerning on paper, isn’t it?

“Okay, I have an idea! Let’s go spend thousands of dollars on an education in a subject which is not even inherently practical and then perhaps not even use that education!”

Well friends, I have another proposition — perhaps we should stop being concerned about our educations being “practical.”
Don’t worry, I can explain.

Why do we go to college? To get a job, many say. But we can get jobs without a college education. Seriously, if you want it bad enough, you can find another way to get it done.

Okay, maybe that’s not persuasive enough. Why did we come to Xavier? The Core is not a secret here. (Okay, so no one realized it takes literally two years to complete it, but hey, it was definitely part of the information we received when we toured.) Xavier is a liberal arts school. We came here to be educated, not just to get a job. Or maybe we didn’t, but Xavier hoped we would.

Challenge time: I challenge you (yes, you, reader) to wake up in the morning and go to class not because you’re supposed to, not because it’s part of the Core, not because this is better than working at McDonald’s for the rest of forever, not even because this is one step in the dream (although, those certainly are good, too) but just because.

Because it is part of your education. Because you want to go. Because there is something in that class that has sparked your creativity and imagination. Because nothing in that class has, but you know deep down that somewhere in there is something you’re interested in. You are certain because at Xavier we learn that all subjects are interconnected. Hashtag liberal arts university.

Dream big. I’m all about dreams. But also, live in the present moment. carpe diem. Seize the day.
How many times do you look at the clock during calculus lecture? How often do you zone out during psych lab because, hey, it’s Friday, and I’ve got a hot date tonight? How often are we okay with falling asleep during history because gosh, Napoleon was such a jerk and this is boring and oh, yeah, I was up late last night because I procrastinated and, well, watching “Pretty Little Liars” hardcore trumps this class? I’m just sayin’…

I’m just as guilty of these things as anyone else, but when I think about it, I would totally prefer to be psyched to be in psych, or calc, or history or wherever I am. What if I wanted to go class every day?

Elizabeth headshot
Elizabeth Rancourt is a junior music education major from Carmel, Ind.

“Oh, well, the prof. just really ruins this subject for me.” I guarantee you the professor would rather be thrilled to be there as well. Maybe that professor would be a little more thrilled to be there if his or her students were thrilled to be there. I mean, we all have to be there. Would you rather be there and hate your life or be there and love your life? Yeah, I know, that’s a hard question.

I can’t honestly say that I hate the new Core because I can graduate a little easier now. (Ask any music major how many hours they’re taking, and you’ll understand.) However, I would like to take a moment to lament that the Core is underappreciated.

The Core is about being educated. It is about the pursuit of truth. It is about promoting a greater understanding of ourselves and others for the greater good of humanity. The Core never was or ever will be about simply getting a job. And it shouldn’t be.

So hooray for new Core and transition Core. But please take a minute to think about why the core is good and how some of us came here because of the Core, and let’s be thankful. My major is “useless” to society. Who cares? I’m at Xavier to become an educated person, to enjoy myself and to learn for personal edification.
We get to learn cool things. Praise God for that. So I challenge you all to carpe diem. Seize the day, my friends.