What I learned from a term of Freshman Studies

On a surface level, it sounded like everything that the conceited, snooty, wannabe intellectual in me thought I wanted at a high achieving liberal arts institution: a wide array of different material, classical works, art, literature and engaged discussion between young, vibrant minds. In truth, Freshman Studies did for me what it promised. I did, indeed, learn how to write and think like a real academic. What constituted decent bullshit in high school was quickly called out and put to rest. I learned how to read closely, write in the margins of books—a sinful practice that I intend to quit when the term ends—and be a reasonable contributor, at least to some extent, in a conversation about a larger, more intricate world. All of this happened during my first few months as a halfway independent, functioning human being. I’ve learned as much about myself as a freshman as I have about anything in Freshman Studies. In that sense, it was much like the actual study of the freshman specimen, which seemed fitting. In any school, the first term of any class may feel like a large freshman study experiment, but at the Midwestern haven that is Lawrence, it is given a name and a parameter for existence—meetings on Monday night at a time that used to be my bedtime.

So really, I learned how to read poetry and write a decent paper. For everything I bargained for in moving across the country to attend Lawrence, that was worth at least something. But what was Freshman Studies really getting at?

There is, of course, as my professor mentioned on multiple occasions, an overall prevailing theme in Freshman Studies. There is a reason why the works were ultimately chosen, and it’s here that Freshman Studies suddenly made me feel as far away from home as I was, centered in largely progressive rhetoric. In fact, Freshman Studies has seemingly less to do with academic pursuits than with social-political teachings. If there is one theme that Freshman studies is built on, it’s a finger pointing at an institutionalized society with much too many shortcomings. Natasha Trethewey’s collection Native Guard largely centers around institutionalized racism. Plato’s Republic seems painfully outdated, and as the large student lecture appropriately pointed out, lost in translation along the way. Plato serves to present a curious academic vehicle, the Socratic Method, in it’s early stages, but then builds an entire society void of free choice—rather totalitarian, based…

Read the full article from the Source…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *