When will I use this?


Many students want to know when their high school courses will be applicable in “real life.” (Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

Sloane Warner

A common question heard at Weber is, “okay, so when am I going to use this?” It’s a reasonable question; many topics in class may seem entirely unrelatable to students. If a student is planning on majoring in English in college and is taking a difficult Calculus class in high school, they may feel unmotivated to understand the information. The question is so popular that if “When will I ever use this?” is Googled, newspaper comics pop up, satirizing the topic.

The comics on a Google search (Sloane Warner/The RamPage)

It is important for students to understand that even if they are not interested in a topic, they should still have a working knowledge of a variety of subjects. As senior Shayna Fraley said, “it is important to spread your wings with classes. You don’t know if you will like something until you have tried it.” This reflects the thought process of many universities, too; having a liberal arts education, a popular choice for many college students, entails having a broad, well-rounded understanding of different subjects, not just a student’s intended major.

Mr. Chris Chapman teaches students of all grades in “Algebra 2,” “Introduction to 3D Modeling” and “AP Computer Science.” He says that “computer science is the most useful in everyday life” because it uses a “way of thinking; breaking things down, which is important and useful. It is a class that teaches students that they can fail until they succeed, which makes them feel good. They are motivated to do better next time.” Mr. Chapman says that even people who aren’t going to become programmers should learn how to code because “coding is important.”

Dr. Carlie Hoffman teaches “Anatomy and Physiology” and “Environmental Science,” both senior classes, and “Biology,” a freshman class, at Weber. She said that learning gives her an “informed view of the world” and that she is “intrinsically interested in learning.” In terms of her courses, Dr. Hoffman said that no “one (course) is more important than the others. I feel like all of them are applicable in different ways. Anatomy, we all have bodies, so it is interesting to know about, even if it won’t make us a better person. Environmental science is most applicable in life; learning about how we interact with the world around us.”

Dr. Hoffman says that when she took calculus courses in high school, she would think, “I don’t know how this applies, I know it does and can, but I don’t know how.” She says that this may be why some students struggle to connect with a subject, saying, “if a teacher is not telling or showing a connection, finding that connection or “why” helps the student learn more and understand better. The point of learning is to make you well-rounded and to learn about the world and how it works.”

Mr. Chapman’s advice for students struggling to appreciate a class is to “recognize that you may not use the topic” but to understand that having a “larger knowledge is part of being human in the 21 century.” He says that many students have a career in mind and don’t realize just how involved other subjects are in their potential careers. Mr. Chapman says that he took more calculus classes when he should have been taking computer science and art classes to supplement his degrees in engineering and design. Dr. Hoffman wishes she had taken government or economics courses so that she could “have a general working knowledge” and be a “responsible citizen.”

Overall, high school classes are meant to broaden students’ understanding of the world at large. That entails taking courses students may not be remotely interested in just to try something new. By taking a variety of courses, students can, as Mr. Chapman said, “start to figure out their interests” for the long run. While the reason for taking a class may not be readily apparent, it will be applicable in one way or another in a student’s future career.

Do you have classes that you feel are useless?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...