Last semester, I took Religious Studies 209: Varieties of Early Christianity. Walking into the first day of class, I immediately heard my professor mention the term “pagan” — a foreign word to me at the time.
I heard whispers of people who clearly had background knowledge in religious studies. As they started comparing some of their favorite stories of saints and apostles, I said to myself, “Oh I'm dropping this class!”
I hold zero judgment on people who are very knowledgeable about religion, their beliefs or spirituality. It’s just not a topic I am well-educated on. Instantly, I felt overwhelmed knowing none of the jargon that my classmates did.
Spoiler alert: I did not drop out of the class (and not to brag: but I got an A!).
I didn’t have to worry about pleasing the professor because she didn’t determine whether I’d get into the major. I didn’t have to worry about making sure I liked all the content of the class because it had nothing to do with the field I want to enter into. I didn’t have to worry about being the very best student in the class either — for the first time, I got to learn with no pressure.
I would’ve never even thought of taking a 200-level religion class as an advertising and public relations major, let alone nor fought for it during course registration. The only reason I did add it to my shopping cart, was for the ideal fact that the lecture only met on Mondays and Wednesdays, leaving me with no Friday class.
I wouldn’t have had this awakening of an experience in such a random class, if it weren’t for UNC's IDEAS in Action requirements. The curriculum requires students to take classes that are typically unconventional for their academic plans.
In this class, I sat next to a nursing major, a public policy major, a music major and an economics major. None of us were the same.
Admittedly, the curriculum isn't perfect. I wouldn’t necessarily praise the Triple-I classes — more formally known as Triple-I: Ideas, Information & Inquiry — but it at least allowed me and my freshman-year roommate to have one class together, despite the fact that we had drastically different majors.