I remember it like it was just this summer, because it was just this summer. I’d been eagerly awaiting Hope emails since April when I’d committed – to sign up for classes, fill out my roommate information, etc. Eventually, I was given some sort of course guide for my fall semester so that I could send in my preferences.
But wait, what’s this? A required seminar for all freshmen… I groaned. This meant that I was going to be pushed out of my comfort zone and into my proximal zone of development and ohmygod why would I ever want that?
I’ve since disposed of my foolish ways, and I’m here to tell you exactly why a lot of freshmen, including myself, would want to take a First Year Seminar (FYS) class. I’m here to talk about the Hope College FYS.
So here is… Part 2 of FYS: What is an FYS?
To keep this post shorter, I’m going to do this in question and answer form!
Question: What exactly is a First Year Seminar? And what is its purpose?
Kerri: It’s a required class for all first year students; the objective is to introduce students to college in a small classroom setting. You do get to know your advisor, so it’s really beneficial to first year students because you’re not just a name on a paper.
Dee: A large focus is helping students to become acclimated to the college as well as assist them in making a successful transition. You’re not just a name on a piece of paper, you become close with your advisors and peers, and critical thinking is introduced early on. Your professor(s) for this class become your academic advisor(s) until you declare a major.
Question: Do you wish you had one when you were a freshman in college? Why?
Dee: I definitely do. It’s also a class outside of the description of most classes.
Kerri: The program didn’t start until the early 2000s [Kerri actually went to Hope!]. I think we both wish we would have. It’s a great way to get to know professors and other students. When I went to hope they just assigned us an advisor based on your major.
Question: How/Why do you like teaching a first year seminar?
Dee: Its unique that Kerri and I have to opportunity to teach together. Hopefully this is a benefit to the students because they have two opportunities to connect to someone.
Kerri: Yes, we like it. I like the small class setting and getting to know the students on the personal level. Choosing your own curriculum is interesting, sometimes it’s challenging to get people to talk or make something interesting.
Question: How did you design the seminar? Is it going how you planned?
Dee: The flexibility was very intentional, because we really had no sense for how the students in the class would connect. If students weren’t willing to be vulnerable we could have adapted that.
Kerri: I think that we found a topic that we thought was really relevant to college students, as well as when we were in your shoes. We designed it and it’s going well, but we’re trying to be flexible in terms of the students needs. Overall we’re getting the objectives met.
Question: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Dee: Go FYS!
At the end of the interview, both Kerri and Dee admitted that they were both quiet in class and wish they would have been more assertive. Hearing this was helpful to me, as I tend to be quieter in classroom settings.
It’s safe to say that the FYS is designed to help students, and it sure is helping me adjust to college life! Hopefully you learned a little bit more about this required course for all first year students!
Thanks for reading!