Posted 9:02 a.m. Thursday, June 22, 2023

Lilly Ninneman at the UWL Gallery. Ninneman is grateful for courses like Art Appreciation that have broadened her awareness.

Third in a series: General education and studying skills

By UWL student Lilly Ninneman. Ninneman wrote this post during her first semester of college in a First Year Seminar course. She’ll be a sophomore at UWL this fall. 

When I thought about General Education before college, I thought of math and science. I had no clue that I would be required to take classes that appreciate the arts and classes that address the racism, class and gender issues of our society today. I didn’t realize how much these classes would help me in the future whether it be my job or simply existing in society, until I went to the first day of classes.  

I’m thankful that UWL requires liberal arts classes like Art Appreciation, Music Appreciation, and Dance Appreciation. I am thankful for these classes because it helps me appreciate what makes up most of my culture. It helps me understand the beauty behind things and gives me an opportunity to connect with people that I think differently from. Overall, it helps me connect to the world and other type of people in the society that don’t think boringly like me.  

When it comes my Race, Gender, Sexuality class (RGS), I am being taught about the history of what shapes our society today. I learn about different difficulties that different races and classes struggle with. I learn about the fight for inclusiveness that race, class and gender have to endure. Coming from a wealthy small town, I never had to think about diversity, class, gender, and race struggles. This class gives me a door into seeing what other people’s lives in society are like. It gives me a way to understand others. Overall, if I can understand others, I’ll contribute to society in a much more positive way. I think that UWL requires these general education courses to help people critically think, understand others and our culture, and how to exist better in society.   

My RGS and Art Appreciation classes are very different from one another. The learning that takes place in the classrooms is very different. Because of this, I study and do things differently for each class. For example, in my RGS class, I take a lot of notes and ask a lot of questions. I try to remember and understand the different vocabulary terms I am learning. However, in my art class I don’t take notes. The class is mostly just looking at art work and expressing how it makes us feel. We focus on how to interpret different things in this world. I don’t talk a lot in that class, I just try to focus on my personal connections to the art work I am shown. So far, my study skills are working for me. My study skills differ a lot from class to class. For example, I study a a lot more for biology and use different tools than I do for Art and RGS. However, I like the habits I have created. I’m happy I have a wide selection of classes to learn what works best for me, so that I can learn how to function in society better.   

Read Lilly's advice for first-year-students.