This semester was the first in which every first-year student took a first-year experience class (FYE), which is essentially a 6-credit class with a writing workshop and a seminar class combined. FYE topics ranged over many diverse topics, including seemingly mundane ideas like food and happiness to more complex ones like climate change. The “guinea pigs” of this combined structure have reported mixed feelings about their experiences.
Yasmeen Alayli, a student in the HUMA FYE, said that it’s been an enjoyable part of the semester.
“I think the content is useful. I feel more well-rounded. I don’t know how applicable the content is to the real world, but it’s fun to have a relief from major-related classes.”
Victoria Abad, a student of the FYE, What We Know that Just Ain’t Know, had a lot to say about her experience.
“I like how we talk about things that we think are true. We investigate myths and challenge our beliefs. It just makes you ask yourself, “˜what are we doing in this world?’ I do wish the activities varied more because the classes get repetitive. Maybe we could have done some debates.”
Similarly, students in other FYEs have reported positive experiences this semester. Jordan Koeller, from the Creative Genius FYE, also greatly enjoyed himself.
“I like my topic, the professors are great, and the workload isn’t too bad. The class discussions are very productive. I do wish my section had a major research paper though.”
Not every student was thrilled with their FYEs. Emily Babcock, a student in the Science Fiction FYE, disapproves of the 6-credit, compact course structure.
“I feel like it’s made me a better writer, but it’s a lot to handle. It’s really hard to adjust to right after high school, especially if you’re a bad writer. I wish the classes weren’t integrated into a 6- credit course. My essays usually don’t even have much to do with the readings.”
Jacob Hudson, in the FYE, Being Young in Asia, is also annoyed with how FYEs demand both writing and reading.
“I like the discussions we have and it’s active thinking rather than just listening to a lecture. The volume of writing isn’t fun, but it’s good for teaching kids how to organize your writing and research efficiently. I think my class focuses too much on the content and quantity of writing rather than mechanics and syntax. I feel like I’ve gotten worse with my mechanics. I wish we could have a few lectures based solely on how to write.”
Whether a student liked FYEs or not, he or she will be able to evaluate the overall experience during upcoming course evaluations and feedback will be taken into account when designing and preparing FYEs for the future.