During Early Fall Start, 2016, C21 teamed up with Housing and Food Services to offer a specially tailored “Maximize Your Major” workshop to 80 first-year EFS students participating in the College of A&S Discovery Seminars. This was the first time the College has partnered with HFS to incorporate academic advising content into their residential event programming. Resident Director of Alder Hall Jessica Rashid welcomed the opportunity to situate the workshop in the Maple Hall Great Room, which filled to maximum capacity. “To get so much interest for our first collaboration is a good sign for future events.”
In this hour-long workshop, C21 staff engaged students in creative, intensive exercises to help them visualize who they want to be and what they want to do in the world. Adapted from previous work with first-year students and A&S College advisors, activities included ideation of future self and intentional learning work, well as the creation of a video message to themselves in 6 months.
In preparation for this workshop, C21 prototyped the activities with a select group of HFS Community Leaders, who helped to further shape it for a freshman audience. Said one student, “it was a great way of framing the idea of thinking about my future, by making me really think that I could be the successful person I imagined.”
This EFS initiative is part of C21’s mission to instill intention-driven learning in all students, beginning as early as freshman year. C21 programming invites students to question their assumptions early and often as a way to interrupt the autopilot that can result from checking off prerequisites and other requirements en route to “competitive” majors. Developing intentional, self-aware learners is one way that the College of A&S can help students choose their own path forward, as well as navigate in a rapidly-changing world. Rashid agreed that this kind of programming is needed for students who so often cling to prescribed plans. “So often our students jump to decision-making without first engaging in the thought process. It wasn’t about decision-making, it was about creatively thinking about the future.”
This was just the first iteration for EFS; C21 plans to offer this workshop again next year, as well as further adapt this curriculum to challenge and inspire other students at different stages of their college career.