by Joseph Cohen
The University gives students a great degree of latitude in choosing which classes to take in the pursuit of their degree. Students are advised to choose classes while making a conscientious effort to find their calling and to seek skills and knowledge that will help bolster their future professional, personal and civic life. You will miss out on great opportunities if you choose classes willy-nilly and let more trivial matters influence your choices (like choosing a class because it is conveniently scheduled or its professor is said to be easy and entertaining).
When I advise students, I recommend that they choose classes with the goal of:
- Finding their Calling. Many students struggle to find their natural gifts, genuine interests, and inner self. This type of knowledge can be of great help in building a professional, personal and civic life. One strategy for choosing classes is to study topics that you feel will help uncover this type of self-knowledge, and hopefully help you find a direction in life. You dabble in different topics, and try to figure out which topics seem to bring out your talents and passions.
- Building Valuable Skills. If you do have a clearer view of your personal talents, passions or callings, college can be a place in which you acquire knowledge and skills to succeed. Students might choose courses in order to learn things that will help them perform important tasks that are necessary to perform in order to meet one’s goals. For example, an aspiring teacher can learn about culture to help them manage diverse classrooms. Those with law enforcement aspirations can study the social causes of criminality to help them think about ways to manage or solve crimes. Knowing the social bases of consumer choice can help people market product better. This list could go on, but the basic point is that you can choose classes to develop specialized competencies that you can use after you graduate.
This is, of course, very broad advice. You may want to talk to others about the specific aspirations, goals or concerns. Aside from people whom you trust personally, college personnel can also help:
General Advice. The college provides students with the opportunity to meet with trained, experienced advisers who specialize in helping students plan their curriculum. Please consult the college’s Academic Advising Center.
Sociology-Specific Advice. If you are interested in getting advice from someone with a greater familiar with sociology, you can come to the sociology office to meet with a faculty adviser. Faculty are on-call throughout the week. If you want to meet with a specific professor, contact them directly to make an appointment.
Taking Advantage of the CUNY System. CUNY is one of the largest university systems in America. The University gives you the opportunity to take classes at other colleges. The specific courses you seek might be offered at other colleges, and you are able to take them as a CUNY student. For more information on other college’s departments and courses, visit TIPPS.