With the momentary high of Halloween now fading, it’s time once again for students to register for courses for the upcoming Winter Term and spring semester.
Just keep in mind that registration is not just for finding courses with a favorite professor or avoiding the dreaded 8 a.m. classes — the decisions made during registration can have significant effects on one’s college experience and beyond.
Unfortunately, registration can sometimes be a pitfall for students by inviting them to select courses solely based on major or minor requirements, rather than their interests.
In some cases, it seems that students only want to take these requisite courses, paying little mind to the multitude of alternative options presented to them.
While it is important that students constantly remain aware of what they need to take to graduate, this sort of tunnel-vision approach can often be challenging to one’s development as a student.
The problem is that we sometimes become too focused on making every academic decision a matter of practicality. This is to be expected, of course, when we have to pay tuition for attending college, thus making the possibility of “wasting time and money” a real and valid concern.
But I think that this perspective devalues the importance of exploring one’s interests, that being able to learn something new (and possibly discover an interest or passion for a completely new subject) is well worth its investment.
College is an essential time for expanding one’s horizons, not only to develop skill sets that might be applied to future careers but also to help shape more well-rounded individuals.
To this end, I believe it’s necessary that students consider courses well outside their majors, perhaps even beyond their established comfort zones.
This opportunity to find new and exciting courses outside of one’s primary academic interests is often used as a selling point for Winter Term, but I think applying this perspective to semester-long terms is just as important.
To the students preparing for registration, consider what you want to take away from college going forward, and consider the limitations you might be putting on yourself. If you’re an art student, take a look at the social sciences. Likewise, if you’re majoring in computer sciences, take a chance on a literature course.
These unique interactions between students and courses are worth so much more than just “studies outside of the major” — they create more interesting individuals and, in the broader sense, a better community.