Variety, asking questions can help ensure success in making class choices

Nic Britton

To some new students, college may appear daunting at first. The campus is unfamiliar, the classes differ from those in high school and it is difficult to know exactly what to expect.

Shannon Kleier, English senior, said she was initially nervous when she started at IU Southeast. Though she went to Murray State University for a few years prior, she said she did not know what to expect at her new school.

However, she said she quickly found solace in the English department.

“They helped me feel right at home,” Kleier said. “Everyone was so friendly and welcoming.”

Daniel Schoenfield, biology sophomore, is also a transfer student. After taking several computer classes in North Carolina, he said he came to IU Southeast to try a different career path, and quickly entered into his med school prerequisite classes.

Kleier and Schoenfield went into dramatically different fields of study, but there was a common element in their experiences. Both said they had fond memories of the classes they took that were off the beaten path.

“Social Problems was one I took early on,” Schoenfield said. “It was really interesting. Occasionally strange, but interesting.”

Kleier said she highly recommends classes taught by Michael Jackman, senior lecturer in English. She said she also enjoyed English G205, Intro to the English Language. She said the class focuses on the development of the language and offers a unique alternative to the typical English class.

“It goes into the history, evolution and brain comprehension of the language,” Kleier said. “It’s good for anyone interested in linguistics.”

For new students, Allison Jones, fine arts and graphic design senior, said Math M110, Excursions in Mathematics is a great starting point.

“It’s good to start out with, and allows you to get a feel for how college classes work,” Jones said. “It lets you sample various types of math outside of the normal math we use.”

Jones said she also recommends the 100-level art classes to all students, including those with little artistic experience.

“The art teachers are fun, and mainly just look for improvement,” Jones said. “You don’t have to be great at art. You just have to improve.”

Jessie Gay, business management and marketing freshman, said her favorite class so far is Philosophy P100, Introduction to Philosophy. She said the faculty and campus amenities have also helped her feel at home.

“The library and computer labs are really helpful, as well as the teachers,” Gay said. “They make it clear that they care. If you ask for help, they’ll help.”

Kara Cruse, pre-nursing freshman, is in her second semester at IU Southeast. She said she recommends philosophy as well.

“It’s good to get you thinking about the world,” Cruse said.

Maddy Cosby, secondary education junior, said she believes new students tend to overlook math. However, rather than recommending any particular class, Cosby said she encourages students to try a variety of different classes from the start.

“Diverse class schedules are always good, even if you already know what you want to do,” Cosby said. “It’s good to dip your toes into different things.”

Cosby also said that while some required courses seem intimidating, none are impossible to overcome.

“Even if something seems scary, you just have to jump in,” Cosby said. “You can always surprise yourself. No matter what you think, you’ll survive.”

Misti Whitaker, academic advisor, said that new students are often particularly excited by introductory classes in their majors because they allow students to decide if they are comfortable with their choice of major. She also said she encourages students to talk to her and her fellow advisors if they are intimidated by a class, or by college in general.

“My number one piece of advice is to ask questions,” Whitaker said. “There have been so many instances where a student has sat in silence, struggling with an issue or unanswered question for a whole semester. Our whole job is to help students navigate the college world. We do not expect you to know all the answers.”