Scheduling classes is certainly a stressful, difficult time for most students here at the University of Michigan. Between having your desired classes fill up, not being able to get into necessary courses and the overall chaos of what to even take, it is so easy to become overwhelmed by all the choices to make. It doesn’t help that there are so many classes to choose from, and when combining that with outside obligations such as work, it can feel like a total mess.
During quarantine, I’ve had more time to think about literally everything (a mixed blessing), and one thing I’ve noticed is how I haven’t really taken advantage of the breadth of courses offered; I’ve resorted to taking “easier” classes, as opposed to ones I was actually interested in. As the Fall 2020 scheduling date approached, I decided to start taking classes that actually piqued my interest.
I’ve tried to take that approach in the past, and I’ve realized college is an incredible time to learn a little bit about everything. For example, when I was younger, I was never taught Japanese and therefore felt a little disconnected from that aspect of my identity. When I got to U-M, I took Japanese courses and honestly feel really empowered by it, especially because I can now communicate with my mother’s family without the need for her to translate. Though the class is challenging, it has shown me the power of interest over ease, and how my dedication to the topic trumps my desire for an easy course. I know people are limited in the courses they can take for various reasons and personal circumstances, but if you are able to, I highly encourage and recommend that you take a variety of courses, even if they are challenging.
One example is WGS258 or Introduction to Transgender Studies that I am currently taking. It is something I thought I would never be able to learn about in an academic setting. I was really happy to discover and learn about a topic I previously didn’t know a ton about. I have found some cool first year seminars too and even took a class about the history of Poland my freshman year (History 331) just to take a course with friends, but ended up learning so much about a country I knew nothing about before.
College does not have to be viewed as just a means to a job, but can be viewed as a place where experience and knowledge are gained. I know when I am older, I won’t be as likely to take a foreign language or a course on the environment, and I should take advantage of the availability and access I have right now. I think there is power in learning a little bit about everything, and if something even remotely interests you, try it. It may be the topic you find yourself engulfed in, or one you just don’t connect to. Either way, you leave knowing a little bit more about something you didn’t know before, which is never a bad thing.