Q. Why do I have to take general subjects in college? I want to zero in on my area of interest and forget all the other stuff that I’ll never look at again. It’s a waste of my time!

A. The key tasks required for mastering a specific subject likely draw more heavily on functions in only one or two of the four cerebral divisions (with the caveat that all brain functions likely require the use of other functions). From a brain function perspective the main purpose of formal education is to develop skills throughout the brain, not just in one division. The study of differing subject matter helps us to accomplish this. Think of these skills as internal brain software programs that you can then utilize in a variety of ways throughout life.

Yes, some subjects will be easier for you and require less energy expenditure than others based on your own innate giftedness in terms of brain function. Some will appeal to you more because they are easier for your brain to accomplish and because you are personally more interested in them.

However, one of the laws of cybernetics says that the organism with the most options tends to be the most successful. Think of studying these diverse subjects in college as a way to develop more “options” that can help you to be more successful in the long term. Even if you never “use” a specific subject again per se, you may need to accomplish some other task or activity in life that draws on skills you built when you studied that subject.