How an Intro Course Can Give Clarity

Freshman year of college is a time for a lot of self-discovery—socially, emotionally, and even academically. It takes time to settle in and figure yourself out. The former two are highly complex and well beyond the scope of a blog post, but the academic aspect is something I can hopefully shed a little light on.

Deciding what you want to do with life is a rather important decision—one that often times has a very elusive answer. So the questions arise: “What do I major in?” “What courses do I take?” This can be challenging as a lot of people are not entirely sure what they want to pursue.

I, for one, had no idea what I wanted to do with life until a few months ago. All I knew is that it had to be something to do with biology.

Then I took introductory courses. Here’s how they changed my life.

Snow at Wilson Commons

In general, 9 am classes in college have a notorious reputation for sucking the life out of you. Last semester, contrary to many of my peers, I genuinely looked forward to my 9 am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (BIO 112 with Prof. Goldfarb).

That class was truly an eye opener to the incredibly detailed universe of molecular biology, with the intricate structures within our cells being laid out for us in such a way that it captured my imagination. As each new lecture brought something new and more fascinating into focus, I found myself yearning for more. I had fallen in love with learning.

The semester ended all too soon for my liking, but I walked out of Bausch + Lomb 109 one last time truly inspired and for the first time in my life, with a relatively sharp idea of what my future might look like.

I walked into BIO 113—a course in evolutionary biology—in the spring a couple weeks ago hoping for a similar experience. However, it was not to be. It has nothing to do with the class or the professor. They’re both perfectly good, but the material has just failed to capture my imagination as the previous semester’s had. Thinking about it, such a huge contrast is rather shocking. On the bright side, I now know what I love learning about. Molecular biology seems to be the way to go for me.

So, if you’re nervous about being unsure about your major or your life’s ambitions, don’t be. Take courses in areas that even remotely interest you. You never know, you might just discover something beautiful. Or, worst case scenario, you’ll definitely figure out what you don’t want to do, which is never a bad thing.

About the author

Adit Ganguly

18-year-old optimist, photographer, blogger, guitarist and foodie here. If you're the kind of person that gets irrationally excited when thinking about processes like the phosphorylation of fructose-1-phosphate to fructose-1,6-phosphate, you and I would get along nicely. Jack of all trades, master of none. Content Editor for the Journal of Undergraduate Research, proud Yellowjacket and member of the Class of 2020.

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