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OPINION: Challenge yourself when choosing courses

Published: Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07

As New Student Conferences begin for transfer students and incoming freshmen, students will meet with academic advisers and have both the challenge and privilege of selecting courses for the upcoming semester.

Although academic advisers have a wealth of experience and sound advice to share with students, as I approach my fourth and final year at Texas A&M University, I found some of the best decisions I made came from the advice of fellow students and my own insights.

Three years ago as I walked into my first advising appointment at my New Student Conference, it was difficult to comprehend how I could take any other course other than what had been planned out for me. I was given one sheet that listed each course I was expected to take for the next eight semesters.

Very few options were given to fulfill core curriculum requirements by the advising office, yet our University offers an astonishingly wide variety of courses. At my New Student Conference, I was offered one, maybe two choices for categories outside of the natural sciences although some categories involve more than 100 courses.

As a result, I encourage students in their first year at Texas A&M to look beyond what’s offered firsthand. Ask yourself, what interests you? If you could choose a second major, what would it be? Take a course in that area. Or be daring. Take a class in an area that’s the complete opposite of your major? You may find you’re completely out of your element or you may just find a new passion.

During my freshman year, I couldn’t imagine taking anything that wasn’t science-based. Now I wish I had. It wasn’t until my junior year that I added a minor in journalism studies. The few courses I’ve taken so far have taught me to articulate myself far better than I did before. As a biomedical sciences major, I have found branching out of the sciences allowed me to meet different people and have different experiences. This is exactly what college is supposed to do — broaden our horizons and introduce us to new ways of thinking.

Don’t be misled. Pre-meds or future engineers can pursue fields such as music or English. However, wise decisions must be made for a student to have time to take classes outside such demanding majors.

Academic advisers should encourage more diversity in the courses chosen to satisfy the core curriculum. At least one course you take in the next few years spent at this University should have nothing to do with your future career aspirations or major. Instead take a class you wouldn’t take otherwise. Challenge yourself.


Naila Dhanani is a senior biomedical sciences major and editor in chief of The Battalion.

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