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Courses That Would Prove More Useful Than The Language Core

Tengo 99 problemas y son todas las tareas espanoles.

On a scale of “enlightening” to “perpetually slamming your head on the corner of a granite countertop,” the tedious work required by Boston College’s Intermediate level Spanish classes lands somewhere around “rolling your ankle while playing basketball with your sister” and “hopping around on it in stifled agony.” BC’s language requirements—I’m speaking from experience about Spanish courses and anecdotally about Italian classes (It seems like only people who truly enjoy French take it, so berets off to them)—are nasty, brutish, and long.

If you’re an Arts and Sciences student, that is. Passed four years of a language in high school but ended up with no glorious AP Test or SAT II to your name? Out of luck, amigo, straight to the swirling pit of early morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday romance language despair for you. Get ready for mini pruebas, composiciones, the breaking wheel, workbook activities, and of course, unending Punto y Aparte homework. Oh wait, sorry, you said you’re in CSOM? Well, you’ve got those four years in high school already, looks like you’re good to go. Grab a beer and head on over to Advanced Group Projects, and please try not to spit on the plebeians no matter how tempting it may be. Deloitte will see you later.

Excluding the amount of time I’ve spent working on this newspaper, the single biggest black hole I’ve run into at BC came from the language core. I crashed through four semesters of Spanish like McClellan at Antietam, got A’s and B’s, and learned nothing of consequence while doing exactly what I was told—I had to Google Translate that opening sentence. BC’s language requirement is outdated and needs reevaluation. It’s time for much-needed change. So here are some things the University might want to require instead.

Simple Coding—When computers inevitably enslave mankind, one plucky hero is going to have to crawl through a maze of vents in the machines’ headquarters and drop down into a pristinely metallic control room so he or she can hack the mainframe to liberate humanity. A little HTML or Java knowledge would be a be a nice place to start.

BASSYCADAP (Basic Adult Stuff So You Can Avoid Death And Prison)—Learning how to file taxes, balance a checkbook, and handle basic personal finances seems more useful than spending entire units focusing on waterfalls and rainforests. Sorry, cascadas y selvas.

Woodworking—If I could kick back in a hand-crafted mahogany rocking chair, I probably would be listening to Bon Iver in front of a roaring fire while snow falls gently on my rural Canadian log cabin.

English Intervention (pre-req: a declared English major)—A class dedicated to convincing English majors to turn back and abandon their lofty dreams of literary relevancy before it’s too late and they are second semester seniors. Features a strong emphasis on disproving Elite Daily stories claiming English majors are useful for society.

Geography—Seriously, where the hell is Iowa? Romania? Hogsmeade? I’ve always wondered.

Anti-Douchebaggery—Covers simple social behaviors that parents should have taught their children, like not pushing at the back of lines, not yelling at bouncers, not forcing your way into Mods (sneaking is respected, though), not speaking loudly in public places, not cursing near children, not drunk driving. This course is directed specifically at people who still say “no homo” and refuse to wear a jacket even though it’s below 20 degrees outside.

Intro to Asian Cuisine—Someone with a strong heart and a firm handle on sweet and sour chicken, lo Mein, and kung pao needs to step up and challenge New Hong Kong’s market domination. BC should provide the tools for the revolution. NHK’s reign of greasy delight and next-day regret has remained unchecked for far too long. We need a champion.

Featured Image by John Wiley / Heights Editor

February 2, 2015