Participating in campus life — whether as a student, faculty member or staff — can wreak havoc on your sense of time.
Perhaps I feel this notion more acutely than most, as I work not only with students as an academic advising dean but also in admissions, a field where we are constantly planning ahead. Embarrassingly often, I find myself confused about the current calendar year, especially after spending a morning reviewing applications for a program that starts a year from now.
College students are constantly asked to plan ahead.
There is, of course, pressure to plan for life after Georgetown, as students ask: What kind of career will I pursue? Will I go to graduate school and if so, where? How difficult will it be to get my first job out of college?
More immediately, however, students are asked to plan their future courses during preregistration, which begins next week for the spring 2018 semester.
The logistics of preregistration are well-known to upperclassmen, and by now, even first-year and transfer students have been through the preregistration process once and are not complete novices.
Nevertheless, the multitude of available course options can be intimidating and stressful despite experience with pre-registration. It is important to remember that whether or not you have already selected a major — whether you are embarking upon your second semester or your eighth — you are fortunate to be a Hoya who has choices. You have a vast menu of courses, taught by an excellent faculty at a top-rate university. Embrace these choices.
Regardless of whether you have already determined your academic or professional path, Georgetown expects students to take a wide variety of classes through both the core requirements and the free electives.
As academic advisers, we hope that you will use those courses to take risks and to think outside of the box when mapping out your non-major classes. Is there a minor that interests you, a cluster of courses that revolves around a topic that you enjoy or a problem you would like to work to solve?
The purpose of attending a liberal arts institution is to push yourself in multiple directions. Perhaps you are a humanities-centered student who wants to try a physics or cognitive science class for a change. Maybe your days typically revolve around solving quadratic equations, but you want to explore Buddhist art or think more deeply about human rights and global justice.
Allow yourself the chance to embrace these choices — you never know where they may lead. Take advantage of being at Georgetown, an institution grounded in the tradition of broad and holistic education.
When I asked my own advisees in the health care management and policy program how they view choosing non-major classes during preregistration, they provided thoughtful insights.
Ajay Mishra (NHS ’19) said, “I always try to think of classes outside of my major that might have real-life implications … A personal finance course will probably be more helpful to me in life than a course about the history of ancient Greek literature. That being said, college is the time to learn about unique things that you will not have the chance to learn about anywhere else.”
Grace Vogelzang (NHS ’19) also noted her thought process for preregistration: “My favorite way to expand the types of courses I’m taking has been to talk to friends who study in drastically different disciplines than my own.”
Take a break from the frenzy of the second half of fall semester to think creatively and broadly about what you want to be reading on Healy Lawn on a beautiful spring day in April. Feed your curiosity! You never know where that experience might take you.
Sarah Shohet is an assistant dean of academic affairs in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. From the Dean’s Desk appears online every other Thursday.