The force of CLA

The required course for CLA students doesn’t help and may be a detriment instead.

This semester is finally coming to an end and so is my first year in college. It is weird that  a whole school year has passed.

This day last year, I was only dreaming about all of this, and here I am. This year has been a lot of fun in and out of school, but accompanying me this year was also the punishment of starting college in 2012. From the 2012-13 school year and on, all College of Liberal Arts students are forced to take the CLA 1001 and CLA 1002 online courses. Unfortunately, this experience has been anything but fun. CLA 1001 and CLA 1002 are easily forgotten in the pile of everything else going on. I think this is a class that is wasting students’ time and energy. These are hours they can spend on a paper or homework in a class that will count toward college credits or their major. It is not an enjoyable class and does not help in any way, whereas CLA’s goals can be accomplished in other ways.

I understand that CLA 1001 and 1002 try to inform and explain to students the different opportunities available  at the University of Minnesota. Unfortunately, all of this information would be better received if it was not forced upon us, with accompanying tasks that make little sense. Although there were parts of the class that I enjoyed, such as engaging in a thorough discussion of “The Hunger Games” with professors and finding out where and how I could get help with my résumé or cover letter at CLA Career Services, the other activities were unnecessary and a waste of time.

Throughout this year in these classes I have spent  between 30 minutes and several hours each week  evaluating my strengths and values, exploring different organizations and majors, planning for my sophomore year, writing a personal story and making a video summary of my freshman year. I have also had to write a story for an imaginary paper about where I will be in the future. I understand that some people need to explore majors, but sending an email informing students about how they can explore majors or get help from their academic adviser might be just as helpful without forcing everyone else to do this, especially for those who do not need it.

I may be more fortunate because I know what I am majoring in and who I want to be, but a lot of students are not stressing about these things in their first year of college. Many of us just want to get into the system and enjoy our college years, which is what everyone keeps telling us to do. But I find it too personal and unnecessary to write to a complete stranger, my program assistant or a college student who is supposed to supervise my work in the class about my hopes, dreams and aspirations for college and my future.

I have not yet met another CLA student who has actually enjoyed this online class, and some have even been lucky enough to get out of it. To say the truth, with my five courses, three of which are upper level, I have no time or energy for the CLA classes. If only the University would listen to the students and spend the money on something more beneficial to us all, a lot of students would be much  happier, including those in upcoming classes.