Griff 101: On its first birthday

By Breanna Pawlowski and Amanda Drexel
Opinion Contributors

The Griff 101 courses offered this year are virtually brand new, and the Griff 101 idea is only just celebrating its 1st birthday. The idea of the Griff 101 courses is a freshman seminar to essentially help freshmen adapt to college life. It presents freshman with opportunities to learn how to navigate a whole new ballpark. It is a class with many pros, but a few cons as well.

Griff 101 is a good idea because it gives freshmen a conversation starter. If two freshmen don’t know each other, but they are both in the same Griff 101 course, it allows for common ground to be opened and expanded upon. It can help freshmen find friends in this difficult period of transitioning from a high school student to the young collegial adults we all are. These courses also introduce the new students to college life. They inform them about upcoming events, such as Banned Book Week, and they talk to students about getting involved on campus. The advisors give advice to the freshmen, like on building a relationship with their professors so they’re not scrambling at midterm time to discuss why their grades are what they are.

With all these good things coming out of the Griff 101 courses, how can there be anything bad?

On the flip side, students have found a few reasons to allow for some cynical thinking about these classes. For one thing, the freshman class is devoting a little under an hour each week to these courses, yet we aren’t receiving any credit for them. While these courses are mandatory, they will in no way whatsoever help us reach the credits we need to graduate, either as electives or degree credit. Although there are several impressive learning opportunities throughout the duration of the class, it is somewhat unfortunate that the time we spent in these learning environments will have no effect on our transcripts. For the second con of these courses, there is a repetition of information. For example, the first workshop that we had to attend as a Griff 101 class was essentially something wholly covered not only in our freshman orientation week, but also in an online course we were all required to take. The remaining workshops seem to be that they will be following a similar pattern of repeating information we have already covered.

There is a problem with the repetition of information. While it is useful to go over things and remind students of them, if students have the same information repeated to them too many times, eventually they will stop listening and it will have all been for naught. While these Griff 101 courses are good for students, they also have some ‘chinks in their armor’ that should be worked out.

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