It’s a love/hate relationship

Bob Trettin

Despised by some, yet respected by all, simultaneously esteemed and notorious, Freshman Studies is undeniably a legendary element of the Lawrence experience.

I am now halfway through my second trimester — I’m still unaccustomed to that term — at Lawrence, and I would like to use this article to reflect on the course which all Lawrentians either endure or savor in their first year on their path toward graduation.

Although I have yet to complete my second term of Freshman Studies, so far my experience with the course has been positively rewarding. I place value in the degree of difficulty of every course I take, and I am pleased to say that Freshman Studies has been a considerable challenge.

Challenges inevitably generate and tend to accelerate growth, and this particular course has produced measurable intellectual and academic progress for me and undoubtedly for my peers.

I think that my partiality toward Freshman Studies and its overall success comes from its unique approach. The wide range of material consisting of science, art, philosophy, film, music and much more might seem like a chaotic attack of subjects to students. However, I view it more as a calculated strategy of increasing intelligence through the careful examination of a broad sphere of topics.

Through Freshman Studies, Lawrentians procure a foundation for future education. This course is a concoction of subjects designed to develop knowledge about and a fondness for many areas of learning and not an acute focus on one, with the hopes of producing balanced students.

The other aspect of Freshman Studies which I truly appreciate is the different perspectives of the professors who teach the course. The experience is entirely different each term due to the distinctive personalities and expertise of the professor to whom you are assigned.

The course has a completely different spin on it depending on who it is taught by and the angle they pursue. For instance, a French professor and a professor of mathematics will have quite separate approaches to the material, which makes this such a unique and influential course.

The only complaint I have must be that I wish Freshman Studies were required for the whole first year of school. The benefits that I have received from the class have been exciting. It has taught me how to properly write a paper, how to effectively voice my opinions in class and listen to the opinions of others.

The analysis of the material is far more in depth than anything I have reached previously. The critical thinking involved for reading, watching or listening to these works is challenging and feels important, and the enthusiasm of the professors makes for an excellent class.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the infamous Plato’s “The Republic” in an article about Freshman Studies. Let’s see if I can successfully tie in the allegory of the cave into my conclusion.

In a sense, Freshman Studies has brought me out of the darkness and into the light in a number of ways. I have been acclimated to college courses through it; I now know the truth about what a paper should look like, and hopefully someday I’ll be able to stare directly at the sun, that is, the ultimate goodness of education and importance of developing a passion for learning.

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