Take control of your core

My name is Seth Swaggerty and recent graduate of Ashland University. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and Minored in marketing and fine arts. Going to a liberal arts university within a small town allowed me to adopt to a different culture while colliding with all walks of life. Being a resident of central ohio, I have the best of both worlds: small town mentality with big city creativity.

Entering as a freshman to any liberal arts school can be exciting and scary. You are opening a new chapter in your life. Over the next four years you will be taking all kinds of classes to broaden your mind; the biggest of which will come from your core.
While this may sound exciting too many, the greatest mistake students make is getting stuck in a rut of picking classes that don’t interest them at all. This leads to students not getting the most out of their education. Unlike many students, I had an advisor who showed me there is another path to getting around the rut.
My major changed from Commercial Arts to Psychology to and finally landing in the field of Communication. After switching majors and stressing out because I didn’t know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, my advisor gave advice that has followed me through these past four years.
He said, “Seth, this is your education. Yours! You have the liberty to choose your classes. However, remember that you can’t do it freely. In order to graduate in four years, consciously choose the most beneficial for you. Good luck.”
Just like that, it was if I was sent on a mission to make my own path through the core curriculum. After that day, my mind was open to all the possibilities. I chose my major and understood the required classes, but I had a whole core that needed to be knocked out. How was I going to do this? With the advice from my advisor, I decided to that which he instructed me to. After all, he is my advisor.
This journey began with classes in the area of Psychology. Here, I learned a lot about how we as humans act and understand the world around us. This helped me when I took a class on Human Nature. Philosophy was never something I did in high school but because I took Psychology, Philosophy of human Nature was just another piece added to a puzzle: seeing that all parts of my education were connected. Every class you take just builds on one another.
This trend continued for the rest of my college career. The core curriculum has made me a better person by taking classes on the history of western culture and understanding why we are here today; classes that taught me to understand design and how shapes, colors, and patterns can make stunning works of art; and acting out the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for my performance studies class, which was the scariest thing that I have experienced.
In every core class, you will learn something and be able to take away more than you ever thought you would. Whether it is an art class because you have always had a passion to be creative, or a social science class to further educate you on evolution of gender-roles; make your education something that will be proud of in the future.
I didn’t have a typical experience like most of my peers but I chose not to. My adviser helped me see that I didn’t want a typical education and neither should you. Choose classes that hit your area of interests and if you are feeling brave, challenge yourself to a class that will push you. Education has always been important to me but what set me on a path to constantly learn, was when I was told the perspective. Look at it as, ‘I get to go study and learn’, instead of ‘I have to’.

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