The Human Experience course, also known as, HMXP, is a general education course taught at Winthrop University. This course is the second of the General Education Core, coming between Writing 101 and CRTW 201. According to Withrop. edu, this course “explores the self and its relationship to education, to community, to the natural world, and to the sacred (General Education Core). Dr. Gloria Jones states in her letter to the students, “our hope is that you leave this class with greater selfknowledge and with an awareness of perspectives that are different from your own” (The Human Experience iii).
Although some may say HMXP is not beneficial to their academic development, I will argue that HMXP should continue to be a required course for all students because it introduces topics to one that would not be experienced in other aspects of life. The first section that HMXP explores is the Self and Education (The Human Experience 1). In the section, it focuses on what an actual educated person truly is and as someone becomes educated do they begin to change. In Book VII: Allegory of the Cave, Plato discusses that a man is drug out of a cave and into a world that he is not familiar with.
He begins to learn from what he sees and from those around him (4). This relates to myself, as I came to college and began a new journey, I learned from what is around me and from those that are around me. When reading this reading by Plato, it opened my eyes to see that there is more to an education, rather than just attending a college. Secondly, HMXP explores the Autonomous Self. In this section, the Human Experience class discusses how “we are independent, self-sufficient, and self-reliant” The Human Experience 51).
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote an article, SelfReliance, that was about focusing on oneself and how others should not influence you (69). Emerson states, “It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know… but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude” this brings up to everyone the question of should I listen to what others have to say? Or when is a good time for myself to intervene with another.
That quote also brings to mind of should I be focused on just myself and what I believe or focus on what others have to say? I would have never thought about this in the way I did, if I was not attending the Human Experience class. It has crossed my mind before but after taking part in this class it pops im my head more frequently and I have begun to change my views towards it. HMXP next explores the self and the community, focusing on one’s identity and the common good. This looks into how our communities make us who we are and also looking at the groups that yourself belong to (The Human Experience 93).
The first part of this section focuses on the social self, finding out who you are. David Myers wrote an article, Ingroup and Outgroup, which focuses on explaining that we are all apart of different groups, but are also not a part of other groups (99). This is an important read for students entering college because it shows how they may be a part of one thing but also shows them that they can be excluded from others. The second part of the self and the community is the diversity of the other. A reading in this section is White Privilege and Male Privilege, by Peggy McIntosh.
This explains how White people and male people are privileged over others. This opens the eyes of those who don’t see this happening in their lives. One of McIntosh’s conditions that she can do, but others around her of different color cannot do states, “I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial” (142). As a white female, myself I can see this being true in our world today. I never realized these different scenarios before having to read this reading. The third and final section of the self and the community is alienation.
This shows how one is separated from a group that they should be a part of. The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, by Ursla K. LeGuin is a good example of this. This story is about a young child who is locked in a closet, and is the real reason that the city is happy. This brings to our attention that we may have something in our world that is locked away and is holding us up and allowing us to be the way that we are (172). Without the HMXP course, I would not have been exposed to these different articles that open the eyes of young adults. Fourth, it explores the self and nature.
This is where the course explores not the man-made world but the natural world around us (The Human Experience 187). This section looks at the reason why we exist. In the reading, The Secret of Life, by Loren focuses on what the real secret to life is. It looks more into why exist and how do we exist (238). Many people have their mind made up as to how we got here and why we all exist. Some may say that God put us all here and others may say it’s because of other reasons. This reading and discussion that follows it in class brings it to life and gets you thinking critically why you are here and how you are here.
Even though I am a Christian and believe the reason we are here is because God put us here and has a reason for doing that, it is also interesting to see the way others think we exist. Lastly, the Human Experience looks at the self and the sacred. This section focuses on “the role ideas of religion and spirituality have on one’s identity” (The Human Experience 245). Many people have their own thought about what faith is, but in What Faith Is, Tillich makes you look at faith in a different way (247). Also, in this reading it makes you question what the ultimate concern in your life is.
Before coming into this course, I never looked at this the way I looked at it when we discussed it. As the diverse campus that Winthrop is, I believe this course helps us view these situations in different ways. In this particular section, religion is the big concern and not everyone has the same belief on religion and I think it is important to see other options and see through other perspectives. The Human Experience course that is required for all majors at Winthrop University, should be kept as a requirement.
It allows all students to explore the self and education, the autonomous self, the self and the community, the self and nature, and the self and the sacred. Everyone explores all of these on their own and through their perspective, but in this course, it allows you to see it in different perspectives. It also allows you to read and think about topics that aren’t discussed much due to them being touchy subjects. The Human Experience course is a class that all students who attend Winthrop should be required to take.