Freshman seminar: an extra class everyone has to take where the credits don’t count but the knowledge does.
The point of the seminar is to learn basic Rider skills and meet people within your major. Things such as how to pick classes, and how to receive refunds from overpaid dues and loans are covered. Those two things were the most important to me personally.
Picking classes was a new experience for me. Not knowing how to use the system would have been detrimental to my schedule. Seminar showed me how and eliminated a lot of the stress I would have felt come 7 a.m. on registration day.
Plus, loans were new to me. I didn’t know about the extra money that could be applied to my account for books. Having advisers from Financial Aid helped tremendously. Anytime I had a question about money issues, I was comfortable asking them.
You could say you would meet people within your major during classes, but when do you have time to actually talk during class? In classes where there were no group projects, I never had time to get to know people. Seminar was a chance to make friends with people I had seen in my classes, but whom I never had a chance to befriend.
Seminar also brought outside groups in too, so we would know what was on campus. The Eco Reps stopped by to tell us how Rider stays green and how we can help. One of the assignments in seminar was to attend the Awareness Fair, which I may not have gone to if it was not an assignment. That helped me learn about what was on campus and where I could fit in.
Seminar was the place for freshman concerns. I did not have to bother an RA with constant questions, nor did I have to wonder whom to ask because I already had a place to ask: Freshman Seminar.
Another important aspect of seminar was covering the Source. Coming to Rider, it wasn’t a concern of mine to read over the rules and regulations. But when I arrived, I realized it was a little more than plain common sense. I did not know about some of the rules on freshmen and other underage students not being allowed near alcohol. If seminar didn’t mention the Alcohol Policy, or other Source information, I could have gotten myself into serious trouble without even meaning to.
There were some problems with seminar though. After a few weeks, it became redundant and less engaging. We were running out of things to cover. Seminar could be shorter, with more focused topics covered in the period we had. Also, it would have been nice to have a professional from our field come in to talk about their experiences. Or even have a professor come in and talk about the classes they offer or their experiences.
I do not believe seminar was a waste of time. I feel it helped many freshmen in ways they didn’t even realize. However, I do think there is room for improvement, and that is what we should work towards.
Junior communication studies major
Printed in the 10/14/15 issue.