Many years ago, as an undergraduate science student, I was required to take courses outside of my discipline. I enrolled in a course called “History of World War II.” While I remembered enjoying my history courses in high school, I was not sure about this class. It met only once a week but for three hours at a time. Regardless of the time commitment, I was skeptical about the level of interest I could maintain in a class that required a whole semester to detail one war. Nevertheless, I went in with eyes wide open, and I am happy that I did.
I was encouraged to learn that the professor of this course was very entertaining and could keep everyone’s attention for the duration of each class. He appeared to be very enthusiastic about his teaching. I thoroughly enjoyed every three-hour session and looked forward to it each week, which took me by surprise. I was amazed at how little I knew about this particular war that shaped the America in which we live, and most of that information remains with me today.
There was not one particular moment throughout the semester that made me pause, rather a realization of the experience after the class was over. I had learned so much, and I never once resented the fact that it was not directly going to contribute to my future in science. I even found it to be my favorite class of the semester. The information that I learned has contributed to many great discussions with my father and other veterans in my extended family. I now view this experience as one of the most memorable intellectual experiences of my college career.