Perspective: Education yields broad insight

By Angela Abbamonte

The beginning of Focus Week is a time for change, freedom and assimilation into the Union University community. Freshmen get to know their roommates and other freshmen while running around Jackson doing scavenger hunts, seeing upperclassmen act crazy at the Focus Show and taking several trips to Walmart for everything they forgot at home before the big move. Four years seems like a long time from those moments, but the reality is four years go by in the blink of an eye.

Soon the Focus Show turns into your senior Awards Day and instead of those “older” seniors and juniors giving their interpretation of the song “Butterfly Kisses,” you are the senior and Dr. David S. Dockery, university president, is handing you and your friends important awards to show how you have made your mark on the university.

The academic buildings that seemed intimidating your first day of freshman year as you desperately tried to find D3 in the Penick Academic Complex become familiar as you take the last exams before you “hit the stage” at graduation.

Four years at college seem like a second when you look back, as opposed to the eternity it seems like on Move-In Day. As with any stage of life, many look back and think to themselves, “What did I do? What did I learn?”

As a senior just a few short days from graduation, these thoughts have been going through my head a lot lately. What did I do in my four years at Union? What did I learn to prepare me for life after I receive my diploma?

I can honestly say my answers are too many to list. This is not just because of my efforts, but because of the way our classes are arranged and the professors who teach them.

A liberal arts education seems frustrating to many: If I am a biology major, why do I have to take Arts in Western Civilization? If I am an English major, why do I have to take College Algebra?

As a journalism major, I was not too thrilled to head to my 8 a.m. biology class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday one semester. Why do I need to know biology? Then, a semester later, my mom had a cancer scare. Her doctor wanted to do additional testing on a strange mass he found. As we waited for results, I looked back on my biology notes to understand what might have been going on in my mom’s body, refreshing my memory with tumor-suppressor genes and the different tumors.

The tests came out clear, but my knowledge of the possibilities helped ease my mind a little while we waited for the good word.

My sophomore year I thought it would be a good idea to take a philosophy class to take care of one of my degree requirements. The time between registration and the first day of class were exciting — thinking about all I would learn and how smart I would be after taking such a class.

Unfortunately, for a brief time after the semester started I recounted that sentiment. It may have been the combination of being in class at 8 a.m. — I do not know why I signed up for so many of those early- morning classes — and the introduction my professor gave, stating there were no right answers in this course, but I was not as enthusiastic as I thought I would be.

As I got into the class, I saw how thinking out of the box on philosophical issues could help me in my other classes. Thinking about the “why” questions helps me look deeper into issues, making me a better journalist in the end.

They say hindsight is always 20/20. This is true when it comes to my experience with classes in my undergraduate education. It can be hard to sit through general core classes that “you are never going to use,” but many colleges are set up that way for a reason.

As I walk across the graduation platform on May 21, I will see Jennings Hall as my second home while I was here at school — the place where most of my major classes were held and where I spent countless hours working on the Cardinal & Cream. But I will also be able to look across the way to White Hall and back towards the PAC, the Bowld Student Commons and the Blasingame Academic Complex and see how my four years have been well-rounded throughout the entire campus of Union University.

About Cardinal & Cream 1009 Articles
The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.