I’ve technically been at the college for the past six years; my first four as a student in the English department and the past two in my current position as the Programs Specialist in the H&S Dean’s office. I’m so lucky to call Ithaca home and recently have been feeling even luckier that Ithaca College helped me grow into the burgeoning academic that I am today. I largely attribute this growth to having completed the ICC. Early on I viewed/perceived the ICC as a checklist: a series of annoying general requirements I couldn't wait to be done with. Like many students, I wanted to dedicate my time to classes that truly interested me and that would advance me in my major. I suspected I would never use skills I learned in a course I was taking to satisfy a general requirement. Of course, I also never suspected having to live through a pandemic.
The ICC is not your standard liberal arts requirement- Yes; students must satisfy area competencies, but a student’s choice of theme informs their completion of courses in four perspectives: Creative Arts, Humanities, Natural Science, and Social Sciences. I chose the identities theme and worked my way through classes I wouldn’t have otherwise chosen to take. I found myself enjoying it. I grew as a student as my horizons were expanded and as I gained insight into disciplines that I wouldn’t have thought would interest me In our current world, I’m appreciative that I took a quantitative literacy course - an attribute to my theme- and can now see data regarding the pandemic and understand it. My Natural Sciences course taught me about genomes, and from that knowledge, I understand the behavior of viruses and of COVID-19 better than someone with a BA in English Literature. My Social Science class has helped me understand issues and feel as though I can have productive discussions with family members.
Like others during this time, I have been thankful that we have the humanities in times like this. I gravitate to novels, tv shows, and films in an effort to momentarily distract myself from constant anxieties associated with the pandemic. I took a film class to fulfill my Creative Arts which led me to a greater love for films and for different genres that I wouldn’t have known about before. These courses have helped shape my tastes and While I know that this pandemic isn’t going to last forever, the knowledge I gained from the ICC will come up in ways that I least expect, and I am ever so indebted for that.