Neurochemistry certainly blew my mind about the mind. I never knew much about how the brain works, but this class helped to fill in some of the mysterious blanks as to how seemingly abstract processes take place. Let’s view the Neurochemistry class in light of Concordia’s five goals for liberal learning:
Instill a love for learning: I don’t think that this class by itself would instill a love for learning. What is beautiful about Concordia though, is that most of my classes had some topic overlap—even when the classes are across departments. The overall experience of seeing how so many things are connected makes me more excited about learning. I also had Religion and the Body this semester, and many topics dealing with health and positivity overlapped with what we were learning in Neurochemistry.
Develop foundational skills and transferable intellectual capacities: I think that our efforts in reading scientific articles in Neurochemistry will develop into a transferable skill. I will be going to five years of graduate school after this, and probably spend a career in academia afterwards. Being able to read and understand research by other scientists is invaluable and necessary.
Develop an understanding of disciplinary, interdisciplinary and intercultural perspectives and their connections: As I mentioned before, I now know so much more about how the brain works than I did before. In my religion class, I realized how neurochemistry can connect overall health and spirituality. In both of these classes, we made a point of trying to take our newfound understanding in the view of other cultures; for example we consider worldwide diagnosis of some diseases, but we try to remember that not all people will have the same access to doctors.
Cultivate an examined cultural, ethical, physical and spiritual self-understanding: I don’t know that Neurochemistry has cultivated ALL of those things, but it has made me a more understanding person. There is family history of some of the diseases that we’ve talked about, and being able to understand why they occur can really help with blame and treatment of those individuals. It’s been fun getting to explain the science to my grandmother—she likes developing more of an understanding as well.
Encourage responsible participation in the world: I think that the understanding that I’ve gained about different diseases will help me to be a more empathetic person. It isn’t ever really a person’s fault that they have a disease, and when there is no cure that person’s mind set must be much different from mine. During our Friday discussions, I would normally try to figure out how I would feel if I had the disease, or if someone I love had it. I think this kind of empathy is conducive to a more responsible engagement with the world.
I don’t think any one class at Concordia can really fulfil all five of these goals at once—I know that’s kind of the point of a Capstone course, but I just don’t think that that’s realistic. These goals certainly can be reached after four years of a liberal arts experience at Concordia though!