Putting “you” in your UW education

As students, you always have to find a complicated and challenging balance in your work here at UW: how much of this are you doing because you like it, and how much of this are you doing out of obligation? The truth is you will never be completely on one side of that issue, but the more you can make your time here about you and your interests, the more rewarding and successful the experience will be.

Even if you end up in a major that seems like all work and no fun, you need to remind yourself of all the elective credits you have to use here at UW. Even in credit-heavy majors, you’ll still have more than 30 credits to take classes just because they interest you: they’re not for your major, your general education requirements, nor anybody else to say how you use them. In fact, these are the classes that will define how your UW experience differs from other students. If you take an elective because it fits your schedule or someone else tells you it is “easy” you are giving away ownership of your own education.

When thinking about how to find electives that will be the most meaningful, you need to start with an inventory of what sparks your interest: What do you read about or look up online just because you want to learn more? What ideas have the most resonance with you? What do you always find yourself being drawn to? Start with an inventory of ideas, cultures, places, histories, topics, and people that want to find out more about then set out to find some courses that let you dig deeper into those subjects. It might take a bit more work, but the electives you choose really will be about owning your own education and making it centered on you.

By Matt Erickson
Matt Erickson College to Career Initiatives/C21