FEX classes: Open your eyes to ultimate college experience

In the sometimes-chaotic world of college life, it is important to develop the skills needed to sustain your academic and social education throughout the next four years. The transition from high school to college, or from college to college, brings forward many issues for all students. You can breathe easier knowing that UM has support services in place to make the transition as smooth as possible.

The UM Experience (or Freshman Experience, FEX) is a course developed to blend academics, leadership, learning, networking, and community building skills to enrich your collegiate years. Building a solid foundation during the first year is key to a successful college career.

“This course helped me learn the strategies and techniques to be a successful college student,” Chris Igtiben, a former FEX student, said.

In small class settings, with prominent faculty and administration members as mentors, new students receive one-on-one instruction. One of the objectives of FEX is to provide students with a working knowledge of the university’s academic requirements, advising system, various degree programs, and policies and procedures of the institution. Specifically, students are exposed to campus leadership opportunities, academic and career planning, UM traditions, study abroad opportunities, and personal wellness programs, just to name a few activities.

FEX is designed to provide students new to UM with effective strategies for academic success and enriched opportunities for understanding the variety of human cultures, values, and perspectives that a university offers. The course seeks to assist students toward self-actualization and integration into the life of the campus community. Sebastian the Ibis, the UM mascot, has been known to drop by unexpectedly.

According to Academic Resource Center staff, high school is a teaching environment in which you acquire facts and skills, whereas college is a learning environment in which you take responsibility for thinking through and applying what you have learned. College life is a balancing act, and there are many resources at UM to help students succeed – FEX was created to help students make good decisions along this road.

Perhaps the most important perspective on FEX comes from the students who have participated in it first hand. Kelli DeDecker took FEX in the fall of 2001.

“I was a new 17-year-old freshman at the University of Miami,” DeDecker said. “Learning how to navigate my way through the campus seemed like an impossible task. I found myself constantly trying to balance class time, study time, library research, Hurricanette practice, sorority activities, and academics all at once. Though challenging, I found the solutions I needed in FEX. The course made what was supposed to be a difficult transition from high school to college easy.” I