How many times have you sat through 16 weeks of a class and walked out thinking to yourself, “This was pointless. Why did I just waste my money?”
Well, it appears the university has finally realized that, too, opting to suspend the First-Year Experience class promoted to incoming freshmen as a way for them to further become acclimated to campus. Never mind the fact that we already have Leadership Safari and countless registered student organizations to help freshmen, CMU feels the need to continue to walk our freshmen through their first year, or at least the first eight weeks.
The FYE course takes encouraging students to get involved on campus to a whole new level. Through mandatory participation, students are immersed in the way of life at CMU, whether they care to be part of it or not. The students who will make a difference and become involved members of the campus community will do so by choice, not because a one-credit introductory class forced them to.
While some who teach the course bring excitement and worthwhile assignments to the classroom, most do not share their excitement and FYE becomes another meeting to autopilot through.
FYE could be worthwhile if it was executed correctly and was a legitimate use of students’ time. But alas, for $365, students sit through RSO meetings they’re not interested in and write one-page papers that mostly end up being fluff.
A worthwhile first-year experience does not arise from being forced to attend meetings and writing short papers. It happens when people intentionally seek out clubs and groups they are interested in being a part of.
Those who enjoy their time at CMU seek out their own extracurricular activities and as a result, are more likely to stick with them.
It should be noted, however, that some freshman may need an extra push to get involved on campus, but charging them to sit through a lackluster class and pay for an extra credit hour is not the answer.
Perhaps putting FYE on hiatus will help the University reevaluate the impact the course has had a students, but hopefully they will put together a committee before the last of a dying FYE veterans breed graduate or drop out of CMU.