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Out of beginner's luck? College 101 to the rescue.
Oct 02, 2012

By Hailey Willett, freshman

Originally published in the Olivet College Echo Sept. 14, 2012

And so comes the day. College. That uncertain, but exciting journey that you embark on once you graduate from high school. Sure, there are the activities associated with college that you are sure of, like picking out dorm room furniture and bedding, purchasing a laptop for school, meeting new people, going Greek, being responsible for your own person. But, what about the, eh-hem, things that we are not so sure about? You know, the things that it always seems every college kid should be automatically well-versed in: time management, budgeting your money, the whereabouts of every campus resource available to you, balancing academics and a jobOh, and understanding that awesome entity called “financial aid.”

Who’s already scratching their head, baffled?

Insert “College 101.” A fairly new, three-section course taught by Mike Fredericks, assistant professor of computer science, Clair Stevens, J.D., associate professor of insurance and risk management, and Ronda Miller, associate dean of academic affairs and director of the Gruen and Speare Student Resource Center. College 101 works to arm all incoming freshmen at Olivet College with the knowledge, confidence and skills needed to be successful in their first few semesters of schooling, as well as later on in life.

After having met only twice so far, the class has mainly discussed proactive college strategies and their experiences. Sarah Crittenden, a freshman taking College 101 this semester, explains, “We just went around and talked about how our first week went and what we like about college.” The class also conversed about “how to improve things like making dorm life better, studying, and [using] time management,” she adds.

Formed alongside the class needs outlined in past student feedback forums, and on-point with other universities who offer similar courses, College 101 has been introduced as a newfangled way of assisting students with acquiring the ability to recognize what learning style they havea major tool toward the realization of their strengths and ultimately success as a pupil and working adultand being competent and familiar in college-related subjects that can be otherwise perplexing and, let’s admit, rather dry.

But things are far from dull in this innovative course.

Students found themselves cracking open difficult topics such as budgeting by playing Family Feud-style games. They were also visited by Chartwells Food Service and asked for their opinions on the food in the Kirk Centerall within the first week.

What makes College 101 an incredibly valuable class is that it goes beyond the typical, surface-level content by coaching students on Greek and dorm life, communicating with roommates, tutoring availability, briefly covering alcohol usage, and breaking the stigma that commuter students only “come and go.” The course also takes the time to show both commuter and residential students how to get involved on campus, and take advantage of the activities and resources available to them.

Miller has clear goals set in mind for the course and its students, hoping that students take away being able to “set realistic expectations for themselves, manage time wisely, feel knowledgeable and competent, and understand what it takes to become successful,” she states.

And as for the students? They are well on their way to achieving those course goals, confident in the steps they are taking to get there, and enjoying having Miller as their instructor. “She is really down to earth and will listen to anything we have to say. The class is just really nice,” Crittenden says. “Overall it’s a great class, and I would recommend it to any other freshman.”

The class meets on Wednesdays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. this semester.

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