Enhance classes with extra effort

Class registration is well underway, and before winter comes, we’re already looking ahead toward the spring 2015 semester. What would we do differently to enhance our academic experiences?

For some, the answer might be a change of major or the adoption of a new minor. But if you just want to get more out of your classes, it can be difficult to determine how.

With the honors program to be phased out in the next four years, this is an ideal opportunity for students and faculty to collaborate on developing another comprehensive academic program.

Honors courses still exist, but are so concentrated in particular subject areas — 35 out of the 111 honors class sections in the spring are in biology — that they are not viable options for all students looking for a challenge. Students with majors not well-represented under the remnants of the general honors label may discover, however, that their departments have their own honors programs.

The English and History departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, for instance, offer a track where students complete a senior thesis under the supervision of a faculty member. The School of Communication also has its own honors program.

But the word “honors” should not be the sole determinant of whether a course is enriching.

In smaller classes, students often feel freer to participate in discussion, and it may be worth seeking out such a class even outside your own major for the valuable interactions it can facilitate.

After all, there is more to school than the facts you cram into your head.

According to a 2014 Gallup survey of 29,560 college graduates, having a professor who cared for them and encouraged them to chase their dreams more than doubled chances of eventual satisfaction in the workplace. Maybe the professor who will make you excited about learning teaches in the art department, or math, or anthropology, or any other uncharted territory, as the case may be.

Ultimately, classes are what you make of them. Rather than stressing about whether the courses you’re taking are the “right” ones, put in the effort to making sure that they are. Whatever classes you decide to take, they can only pay you back what you put in.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

November 9, 2014


The Miami Hurricane

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.