Sunday, August 9, 2009

University Seminars

Wherever you go for school, I have a few suggestions as to class choice. For starters, take professors, not courses. Professors can have a phenomenal impact on their students. An amazing professor can turn dirt into gold, opening your eyes to horizons you had never known existed while a terrible professor can make you want to change your major. Expand your views by signing up for a professor with views different from yours. Frankly, if you're going to college to have all of your views reaffirmed, don't go; you already know everything. My last piece of advice is to take advantage of courses that are on a time basis. What I mean by that is UVa has courses that only specific years can take. Take them; you have such a limited opportunity to experience them that you shouldn't squander any.

What a University Seminar (USEM) is
These are classes capped at under 20 students and led by phenomenal professors. As a First Year in my first semester, I had Dr. Wormington as one of my professors. Not only was he extremely approachable and personable, he was the Director of Undergraduate Programs, so right from the start I got to see the head of my major department.

My Favorite Class (so far)
When I first heard of University Seminars, my impression was that they were watered down courses for students who weren't ready for the big time college scene. I. Was. Wrong. They are amazing. While signing up for classes, I saw a class entitled Clones and Genomes and was too intrigued not to sign up for it. I'm so glad I did. Our class discussed the ethics and methods behind how to clone frogs, sheep, and humans. By no means was the material elementary: we delved into the techniques and ethics headfirst. About a third of the class was against cloning, a third in favor, and a third uncertain. Having seen Dr. Wormington's views, I asked where I should go for the other point of view. I know what I think now, but I want to hear the arguments from both sides. For that reason, I want to take a course in the Religious Studies department.

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