L.I.F.E.: Learning Is For Expansion

Hopefully this doesn’t come as a shock to the continuing students here at Weber State University, but the time to register for next semester’s classes has come at last. Starting last week, top-o’-the-listers were able to register for their classes.

As you sign up for classes, here are a few pointers that I thought would be helpful:

Take off the blinders.

Too many students think that they think they know what they want from college.  Rather than recognizing the full range of classes at the college or university, their narrow view leads them to a limited number of possible courses from which to choose (notice how I didn’t end my sentence with a preposition — classy). They feel they should only take classes that fit their interests and academic plans. Boy, was I a victim of this error! Take off the blinders and take into account the captivating courses that are at your university.

No-No No. 1: Staying within your comfort zone.

People, people, people!  For some reason, we humans have this knack for sticking in our comfort zone. Instead of taking some radically new or different class, most students would take a pass and stick to the classes they think they will like and do well in. Is that a real education? Hardly. A real education should confront us with new ideas and perspectives. In a recent poll, graduates expressed that, if they were to repeat their college experiences, they would take more classes, take more diverse classes, and do more research. In other words, they would take advantage of opportunities that would challenge their preconceptions.

Not all professors are created equal.

Classes do not only differ in subject, but also in quality of teaching. Do your homework! Many universities ask students to evaluate the performance of their professors that semester. Oftentimes, these anonymous results are available for review. If not, Rate My Professors is a great tool for students to obtain information on possible professors. It really doesn’t matter the subject matter; a teacher can make or break the class. Remember that professors are not rewarded for teaching well. Those professors who do teach well and those who are devoted to undergraduate studies do so out of the goodness of their hearts.

Do-Do (and I’m not talking about horse manure here, folks) No. 1: Visit classes this first week of class. 

If you are like me and weren’t able to register for classes early, you were left with the classes nobody wants to take; every class you wanted was already full. I cried. Really.  However, if there is one thing I know, it’s this: Some of your fellow students will drop the class you want. Therefore, this week, attend the classes you want to take and watch the statistics of those classes like a dingo watches a baby. You even might consider asking the professor for an override number after sitting through the first class. You certainly will be surprised what some professors will do to accommodate students.  Plus, you get to sample these classes and determine if they really are for you.

All in all, be liberal with your education (and I’m not talking about political platforms here, folks . . . a North Ogden parent withdrew his student from WSU because WSU’s mission statement includes a phrase about providing a liberal education for its students). In other words, get a good breadth. You may be surprised what you like and dislike. What do you have to lose?