Being in my 3rd year, I’ve realized that my class sizes have gotten significantly smaller. As opposed to first year, when I sat in Con Hall with approximately 1, 500 students, I now have classes that range in size from 25-45 students. It was daunting for me to think about sitting in a large classroom, with so many students that my professor would never know any of us by name. In my first year, I decided to pursue a One program as well as a First Year Seminar – which greatly enhanced my learning as well as eased the transition from high school to university. Both the One program and the First Year Seminar were awesome courses to take because they were atypical. They were focused on participation and creative projects, rather than the typical essays and exams. This gave me a break from the monotonous life of constantly writing essays for days. Now that my courses are smaller and focused on a specific topic, I’ve really come to enjoy the small classroom setting.
I appreciate that my classes don’t feel as intimidating as they used to. When there’s only 25 students, it’s easier to get to know people and plus, it’ll be easier to recognize them instead of having them lost in a sea of people every class. My seminar style courses are also incredibly participation based, so I’m able to voice my opinion as well as hear the opinions of my classmates (while also getting some participation marks). It can be difficult to feel like just a number when amassed in a crowd of people. But in these classes, it has been easy to get to know my professors and my peers.
Seminar style classes have given me the opportunity to enhance my learning style. It’s much more simple to put my hand up in a smaller classroom when I have a question or comment rather than in a large classroom. Even though I know many larger classes have made an effort to create the feel of a small classroom, I just prefer seminar courses. Also, since classes become more individualized in upper years, it’s awesome to be able to pick courses in which professors are truly passionate about a specified area. When given an opportunity like this, I highly recommend you get to know your professors. Whether you’re (eventually) looking for a reference letter for grad school, advice on what to do after academic life, or more help with your course work and assignments, professors can be an enormous source of information and they’re always willing to help!
In essence, seminar style courses are a great opportunity if you take advantage of them! If you’re planning on taking summer courses or just thinking ahead to the future, I truly recommend that you try out just one seminar style course. I used to be hesitant about participation; it would make me endlessly nervous, but I was able to overcome that in my first year tutorials. So go forth, try something new in the next school term, and see how it goes!
Is there a seminar style course that you’ve really enjoyed? What was it? Let me know in the comments!