FYE: Forget Your Expectations

By Geneva Nodland

nodlandge@mnstate.ed

Everyone knows the redundant speech about time management and studying priorities in college, but never would you think you’d be paying money to hear it.

First Year Experience, known as FYE, is a one-credit course that, as of fall 2014, all freshmen are required to take in order to complete their Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum (LASC) to graduate.

According to the FYE page on the MSUM website, the course is designed to help freshmen transition from high school to college life. In my opinion, the class is a waste of my time.

Since various staff and faculty teach the course, no one course is alike. However, they all require students to complete five student engagement activities outside of class. The activity categories include academic, arts enrichment, athletics, diversity and inclusion, and Dragon community involvement.

These events could range from a football game to a choir concert or a guest poetry speaker on campus one evening. It’s a really great way to get young students involved on campus and with the university, but I believe they would be more willing to attend the events if they went by their own choice.

Another commonality among classes is the all-too familiar lecture we receive.

A classroom full of young adults listening to the same thing they have been for years, again and again, isn’t going to change how they do things once they’re in college. It may take some time, but successful college students will find their own note-taking habits or ways to study for a test. If not, they are going to fail—preaching to them on the same topic isn’t going to change that.

Also included within the FYE description on the MSUM website is that the course is supposed to help students identify their support networks and mentors, including their FYE professor. The classroom is supposed to be a safe place for freshmen to be able to talk and relate to each other about what is happening in their school community, but not everyone feels this way.

Paige Anderson is a freshman currently taking FYE.

“I don’t feel comfortable there, and I haven’t made any new friends with the students in my class,” Anderson said. “If I had a question or problem with the school or anything, I definitely would not go to my FYE instructor or bring it up in class.”

Another problem with the way the course is carried out is the fact that even though it is supposed to be required for freshman to take in order to graduate, some students are exempt. If a student comes into their freshman year with a sufficient number of credits, they are considered an upperclassman and are not required to take the course.

“If the course is designed to help transition high school students to college life, why are students who have college credit and not college experience exempt?” Anderson asked.

Students would benefit so much more from learning about things that are specifically geared toward MSUM life or adult life. Adding curriculum to the course that explains how to print in the library, where and when you can use your access card, how to write a resume, how to obtain health insurance as an adult, or even balancing a checkbook would make the course more worth your time and money.

Maybe it’s the way we are treated like children, or maybe it’s the fact that I’m paying money to hear things I’ve been hearing for the last four years of my life. While I understand the purpose of the course, I can’t get behind the way the class is executed.

 

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