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Fall 2012 and General Education

2:06:00 AM

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم

 Alhamdulillah...Thank you Allah for getting me through my first day of fall sem 2012.
First day macam biasa..profs appear scary mary. I think it's the going through of the syllabus that makes them appear cengei. Every prof stresses their wants and don't-wants. There was this comel prof of mine, she told all of us to register for voting by the end of this week, as a first assignment which worth 15 points. Since I'm not eligible for voting, she asked me if I'm interested in politics. I said "Sure... (while chinking my eyes, curious of where she's going with this)". "Then you could chalk on a pavement in any town with a political statement, take a photo of it and show me" I'm not sure which would get me more into trouble...not getting the 15 points or chalking on a pavement with a political message. Oh should be fun. She also made us sign an agreement letter indicating that we've read the syllabus and promise to abide the rules as far as working hard and not slacking in class. Comel lah prof ni :)

But out of the three profs I encountered today, the was one prof that I particularly liked. She appeared very professionally and amicably even when going through the syllabus :) She had been on a sabbatical leave for 15 months and was dying to meet students. That's the spirit, prof! She didn't start lecturing yet but already, I was jotting down notes only because every word that came out of her mouth was pearl! Nak share sket lah. (I'm writing this post while referring to my Communication lecture notes from last semester and my first day of Art History class scribbling)
She told us that time and again, we should ask ourselves "Why am I here?"
In case of the ARTH 292 course that I take, which is a pre-requisite and/or a gen. ed course for non-art majors, she said, the university is the one who should be responsible to answer that.
University is derived from the word universe. Therefore...
     1. There are some disciplines that we should be familiar with
               2. They are there to enrich our lives and...

               3. Expand our minds
Which brings the topic of Gen. Ed (General Education) to the surface. Why do universities (in America, specifically) require students to do gen. eds?
Liberal Arts - training freeman to act in a civic society (when Greece got its democracy in 511BC)
  • Trivium - grammar, logic, rethoric (most of Gen. Ed. courses)
  • Quadrivium - arthimatic, geometry, astronomy, music
Ooo..sebab itu ke sem ni ramai non-art major students ada dlm hall besar Jack Arends Building yg ACnya selalu full blast, membekukan keringat yang menitis tengah2 summer yg hangat ni. Rupa2nya mereka nak train kita jadi students of today, to be good citizens of tomorrow dengan general knowledge yg luas disamping kita specialize in something. Thinking back, in 1500's, there was no Psychology to study human behavior but there were Liberal Arts. 
Why Art History? 
History | She said, American are notoriously bad at history (it's true for many of us). Why history? Just ask a dictator. Dictators used to kill intelligentsia in order to manipulate and control what should and shouldn't be known of one's history. They know that people with no history (of lineage, origin,  etc..) are weak people. It got me be blind of history if one thing. But to be blinded by history (falsified, exaggerated or half way truth) is another lethal thing. 
Art | Looking in to Art is looking into human beings. Not primates. For instance, throughout history, when somebody dies, there would be a graveyard, a burial custom, grievances. Being humans, why do we present flowers or try to keep the graveyard clean? The aesthetic values and the art of these behaviors divulge that maybe there is a some kind of beauty, afterlife or beliefs rendered in the practices which distinguish human beings from primate.
Art is not necessarily to impress but supercededly, to express. When one expresses, the other would respond (tacitly or in-tacitly). It's a two way communication. Art is easy and effective for propaganda uses because our visual brains don't work very well with logic. It doesn't ask to think but rather, to react, which in some ways make them deceivingly very sophisticated (especially in media and marketing). Although writing proves to be more enduring as far as persuasion go, visual art is very impactful, at a first glance. Subhanallah.

I love Art History. I learn a lot. Beyond the scope...

Speaking of gen. eds, I'm so happy that NIU made me take Math. as one of the gen. ed courses.
I learnt statistic, normal distribution, probability, logic, price unit, finance (which is a big deal) and many other topics. Not only was the course designed to be pragmatic and applicable for daily life, the prof made it so easily digestible. The best prof. ever lah! Kembali balik flashback when I used to ponteng kelas math a lot masa kat UK dulu. I remember flipping out when I got moved up to the first band class. I remember cursing myself "Ya Allah, I worked so hard to be a good student and maintain my grades in the second band class. Why did I get transferred to the first band where now I've to compete with the smart kids? I don't mean to work hard only to work harder for something I don't really like T__T" Astaghfirullah haladzim. I did struggle back then. I had kakak and abang undergrad to tutor me math. I've always liked maths, to be honest with you since sekolah rendah. Favourite. Tiba time kat UK je jadi meluat sebab tak faham. Tp ended up dlm first band. Lagi la tak faham. It was hard, actually. We had to do coursework and research which all went toward our final grade of O Level/GCSE. Syukur alhamdulillah all despite that, Allah bagi kefahaman dlm ilmu hisab tu jugak sket2 :)

Now, surely enough, I know that just working with my right brain is not enough. I have to get both cerebral hemispheres working, kalau tak mengelebeh sebelah otak. Nauzubillah himinzalik. Taking math last summer really gave me an insight on how crucial it is preparing for the real world. We learnt about mortage, savings, interests and all that matters in budgeting my own finances.

Pastukan, kebetulan, saya ada seorang kawan yg bermentorkan Haji Aman Tahir (the guy underneath here), an icon who has been promoting the cause of wang silver dirham and gold dinar for years, especially now, in times of economic crisis. Subhanallah. I'm yet to educate myself on the the topic but one thing that made me realized and thankful that NIU incorporate the gen eds into the school curriculum the way it does.

"Eduction is important. But what they don't teach you at school is financial intelligence"
"It's not the problem of purchasing. It's the problem of what you want to buy in the first place"
"When you have a bigger income, you would think you'd have a bigger purchasing power but actually what differs the rich and the poor is their choice of what to purchase" - paraphrasing Haji Aman Tahir


Do you have any comments, concerns or inquiries? Or else, just drop me a note to say hi! :)