Georgetown has an extensive core curriculum, and being exposed to a broad range of topics serves students well. Students have the freedom to choose their majors, while general education requirements force them to explore the language, government or theology classes that they otherwise might not have considered. Often, these requirements cause students to discover a passion they never knew they had — or a subject to avoid for the rest of their Georgetown career.

However, there is one crucial element missing from Georgetown’s undergraduate curriculum: a required, seminar-style course on the purpose of education.

I took such a course my freshman year called “The End of Education,” which sought to examine the philosophical purpose of college and how the day-to-day realities and challenges of student life work for and against this purpose. The class was an Ignatius Seminar and thus only available to first-year students in the College. Georgetown ought to make such a course required for all freshmen. The benefits of doing so would be enormous.

Most students entering college have not decided on a major, let alone their future careers. While learning from experiences in a variety of classes is certainly beneficial, having one that objectively explains education as a whole may be more efficient and effective. A class similar to my Ignatius Seminar would also allow students to get used to the structure and schedule of college courses while getting the opportunity to connect with other students and their professor in a more intimate setting.

The School of Foreign Service requires a seminar for all first-semester freshmen, but outside of this course, many freshmen are exposed only to large introductory classes. A seminar engages students on a personal level and helps them adapt to the intellectual engagement of small group discussions, which many students did not experience in high school.

Of course, there are those who arrive on the Hilltop determined to be a doctor or a lawyer one day. But even if a student comes to Georgetown knowing exactly what he wants to do, a course on the purpose of education will help to ensure that he gets the most out of his four short years here. The process of examining and articulating why a student wants to pursue a chosen course of study will either solidify his commitment or at least introduce him to other options.

A course on education could also alleviate doubts students may have about taking some of the general education classes in the core curriculum. We may be tempted to approach certain courses with preformed conceptions of the material: We either love science or we hate it. An education seminar could help students better appreciate how a variety of disciplines contribute to their personal growth.

Finally, a course on the purpose of college education would fit perfectly with Georgetown’s motto of cura personalis, the education of the whole person. Students need to think holistically about their education, and a course that guides them to do so would produce learners who are more engaged, more informed and more willing to contribute to the university community.

The only way for us to fully appreciate and understand the different facets of our education is to examine it comprehensively. Each of us may have vastly different goals and visions of the ideal semester, but the opportunity to consider and discuss such goals is invaluable. Through making this course a requirement for all first-year students across the four schools, Georgetown will differentiate itself from other universities and show that it is truly serious about educating the whole person.

DAN HEALY is a junior in the College.

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