DONOHUE: In reality, does the core curriculum help or hinder?



Caity Donohue

They have been sighted across campus – they’re affectionately known as registration zombies. In the past two weeks, I have joined these ranks. We are the students seen crowding the halls outside our advisors’ offices, or thumbing through the Enchiridion in our spare time. We have papers with requirements for our triple majors, quadruple minors and concentrations slipping out of folders.

We can be seen highlighting our versions of our CAPP reports to see what we cannot forget when enrolling this semester. We can be heard shouting in frustration from inside our rooms all over campus, as that last spot is taken in the class that closes out before our eyes. It’s embarrassing, but we’re practically in hysterics as we find that our pin numbers weren’t entered correctly the first time, causing us to put our CRN codes in at 7:02 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.

We are Villanova students, and as far as registration goes, it’s every man for himself. We are plagued with panic over the requirements of Villanova’s core curriculum no matter what school we’re in.

For example, if you’re a chemical engineer, you’re desperately trying to get yourself into a lab because you’ve designed your perfect schedule around that class.

If you are in business or nursing, you’re scrambling to make sure those outside requirements are met.

If you’re in arts and sciences, you’re throwing a fit because you just found out that the Shakespeare class isn’t offered in the spring. You’re a biology major, but you just aced organic chemistry, and now you’re rethinking your whole life.

Of course, registration can cause students on college campuses all over the world to stress. Here, though, as you enter the doors of Bartley or the Saint Augustine Center and snippets of conversation drift by, it seems we are blaming the core curriculum. I passed someone chattering away on her phone just last week lamenting that trying to get into an ethics course was the very bane of her existence. Part of me can relate. Villanova is the perfect size in a lot of ways; everyone knows everyone without knowing everything about them.

For example, when scanning the course catalog one might say, “Does anyone know of this professor who teaches this course?” Before you know it, Tom’s roommate from last year, Mike, dated a girl Mary, who had that teacher first semester last year, and she thought the tests were impossible. The stories follow, until frankly, you’re sorry you asked in the first place.

There’s no way out. These are the requirements that must be met for graduation. That upper-level philosophy that you might be dreading or the third humanities course that you wish you could have gotten out of through AP credit are what drive you to distraction throughout this registration period.

If you’re anything like me, you scroll through the course catalog wistfully looking at all of the classes you wish you could get in. Criminal justice, you think to yourself. Who gets to take that course?

I believed that even if I had an idea of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I would still get the opportunity to take a variety of classes to solidify my choice.

Let’s be honest: registration is hardly the end of the world. All it determines are the classes you’ll be taking next semester. Yet, we can’t help but feel a sort of permanence. By choosing a path, we become stuck.

With the core curriculum being so advanced we unfortunately aren’t left with much wiggle room to take extra courses we might find interesting.

At least we can be thankful that we will emerge from Villanova as well-rounded students, with an understanding of greater philosophical topics, a satisfactory mastery of another language, and a good grasp of the humanities.

However, I wonder if there’s a sense of dissatisfaction at the several classes we pondered that we were too busy to take?


Caity Donohue is a sophomore English and secondary education major from Northbrook, Ill. She can be reached at [email protected].