Mawrter Advice: Choosing Courses, From Claire Petitt ’19

Preregistration and choosing courses might seem intimidating or scary, but when looked at in the right way, it can actually be an exciting process! Many first-years mistake preregistration as a sort of binding contract and think that the classes they end up taking their first semester will end up dictating the entire course of their future academic career. However, as a first-year, signing up for (and taking) classes is really more of a chance to explore the multitude of options available to you and to hopefully learn more about the academic paths that interest you the most. Below are some tips for how to successfully tackle choosing your first courses:

  • Keep an open mind. Even if you think you know which discipline you want to major in right now, don’t lock yourself into taking the prerequisites for that major right away; there are paths of study here that you might never have thought would spark your interest.
  • Give some novel courses a try, even if you’re not sure you’ll like them. Your first few semesters here are a time for exploration. Take advantage of this time to figure out what really interests you.
  • Don’t worry too much about getting your college-wide requirements (CC, SI, IP, ) out of the way in your first few semesters. If you take the time to explore various disciplines throughout your time here, they’ll take care of themselves by the time you’re a senior. It’s a good idea to keep them in mind, but don’t let them completely dictate which courses you end up taking.
  • Have some variety in the classes you choose. You’ll have plenty of time to specialize later.
  • Don’t overload yourself your first semester. It’s a time of adjustment for everyone, and a heavy course load can make an already challenging (though rewarding) time more stressful than it needs to be. That being said, make sure that you do take one or two courses that you know will challenge you. College is a time for great personal growth, and challenging courses that take you outside of your comfort zone will help you become a better student.
  • Choose courses that genuinely interest you. Every discipline is “relevant” in some way, and all will help you to become a better thinker.
  • Ask any older students you know about what they know about particular professors or departments. While the courses you choose are important, it’s equally important (if not more so) to consider the professor and the department you’ll be spending a good portion of your time in.
  • Talk with your Dean! Your Dean is there to help you navigate through the sea of choices available to you.
  • Breathe! You don’t have to have it all figured out right now. Take this time to get to know yourself and the school better.

–Claire Petitt ‘19

Metacognition and the Transition to College

Metacognition and the Transition to College (GNST B048) is an alternative pathway to fulfill your Wellness requirement.  Unlike the THRIVE Seminar (the traditional way to fulfill your Wellness Requirement) that meets only for the first 10 weeks of the semester, this class will meet twice a week for the full semester.  In addition to earning 2 Physical Education (PE) credits, students in this class will also earn 0.5 academic credits while using metacognition (a fancy term for learning about your own learning) to bring out their best selves in and out of the classroom.  The seminar will be a small, inquiry-based course that will promote and encourage intellectual confidence by developing student success tactics including critical thinking, written and oral communication, research skills, self-reflection, and self-regulation – all while addressing larger questions of justice, identity, and community.  First-year students will have an opportunity to preregister for this course starting when preregistration opens on August 3rd.  Simply search for the course under the General Studies subject in the drop down list.

An Intro to THRIVE, from Wellness Coordinator, Tonja Nixon ’15

Hello Class of 2020!

Welcome to Bryn Mawr! We’re all so excited for your arrival, especially now that we’re in the second half of summer! My name is Tonja Nixon, and I serve as the Wellness Coordinator here on campus. My primary role is to oversee the THRIVE Seminar, from helping finalize the course content to being a resource for you as you complete your Wellness Requirement. My other hats include being an Assistant Coach for the Track & Fields teams and being an alum (Anassa Kata!) from the class of 2015. You can find me in Guild Hall (where the Dean’s Office is located) at my desk, or in Schwartz gym during Track Practice. On behalf of the Dean’s Office, we’re so excited for you all to get settled in! Part of that settling in, as you all know, is final registration for all of your courses once you arrive. One of those courses must satisfy your Wellness Requirement, which, as Wellness Coordinator, I’m here to tell you all about!

Your Wellness requirement is very important! Not only does the successful completion of your Wellness Requirement give you two of your PE credits for your PE requirement, but it is also a Graduation requirement. That being said, when the time comes, you must make sure you register for a course that satisfies the requirement! One of the courses that many of you will take is called THRIVE. THRIVE is a 10-week-long course solely for first-year students created to help with the transition to the Bryn Mawr community, adjust to college life, and help you navigate your way through all aspects of health, self-care and a good well-being. Essentially, this is a course built for you and your needs, and we’re super excited to partake in this experience with you!

Another way some students will fulfill their Wellness Requirement is through a course known as ‘Meta-cognition and the Transition to College’. More information about this course will be shared soon, so be on the lookout!

Congratulations on your enrollment into Bryn Mawr, and I can’t wait to meet all of you in person!

Tonja Nixon

Wellness Coordinator

Assistant Coach, Track & Field