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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

The FYE Experience

Is it a valuable transition program, or is it just a pain in the neck for incoming students?

The First Year Experience program (FYE) is a great experience for freshmen who don’t understand what college has to offer, who don’t really know what they want in a career or who aren’t properly prepared for college because of a less rigorous high school experience.

For others who feel more confident, FYE can feel degrading.

Right now, blocks are set up with beginner courses in a variety of majors. Intertwined in these blocks are popular courses to fulfill the divisions of liberal studies.

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If a student doesn’t like the classes offered in each block, what are they supposed to do? Students are being forced into classes they don’t necessarily want to take and forced into an institutionalized structure that doesn’t feel adult.

What happened to signing up for classes on your own or choosing where you want to go?

“I didn’t really like the blocks because I couldn’t take the classes I really wanted to take,” said Ashley Dale, a freshman psychology graduation school prep major. “It felt like I had no control.”

Then there are students who are more advanced by the time they reach college. I’m sure there are options for students who have community college credits, AP credits and the CLEP test under their belt.

It’s a hassle to skirt the system, though, and what really bites is the lost freedom to choose your own courses and plan your semester.

Some students feel that UN 100 (Freshman Seminar) is a complete waste of time.

“It was kind of just a blowoff course,” said Michelle McCormick, a senior criminal justice major. “It was like, ‘Welcome to college!’”

McCormick said she participated in the program when it was just beginning; however, Dale as a freshman was required to be in the experience.

“It didn’t feel like a college class; it seemed more like a high school college-prep class,” Dale said. “Everything we learned we already knew from orientation. It was honestly a waste of time.”

The things that are “taught” in this course are things that are learned during the already mandatory three-day long freshman orientation.

During orientation, I learned about time management, Public Safety, the Health Center, authorities in housing and residence life, stress busters, how to open up and make friends and so on. From what I understand, UN 100 is all of that. Just throw in a few papers and stretch it out to last a semester.

Let’s be honest, FYE is like high school all over again. People are making decisions for you, holding your hand and taking you on field trips you don’t really care about, but you have to go if you want to earn the credits. It’s treating you like another number.

I chose NMU because I thought I wouldn’t be treated like a number. When you call NMU’s admissions office, you get a person every time. Call Michigan State University and you get an automated system where they literally assign you a number in the admissions process, even when all you want to do is schedule a tour.

I came to college to escape the prison that many feel high school is. I came to find myself, to make my own decisions, to live on my own, to make new friends.

For some people, FYE is a good thing because you take the same classes with everyone else in your block, so you make friends. That seems a little forced though.

I want to make friends who haven’t chosen the same major as me.

I want to make friends the old-fashioned way, just bumping into them and getting involved in extracurricular activities.

I chose NMU for freedom and a fresh start, but it seems that freshmen are signed up for another semester of high school.

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