16. Excellent Choice! Finding the Right Classes for You
The things that intrigue you are the same things that will motivate you to devote energy to exploring them; that’s why it makes sense to pick classes based on your interests and learning style. After describing the importance of recognizing your interests, this module has you fill out a worksheet identifying your learning styles. Once it’s completed, you can use all the self-knowledge you’ve acquired to choose classes in which you’ll excel.
Unless you are completing college and med school in seven years, or involved in some other, similarly stringent pre-professional degree program, being in college offers you so much choice in terms of what to study—far beyond what you had the opportunity to explore in high school. How do you know what to pick when it comes to classes, or, to make things even more stressful, a major?
College is a place to experiment, but you want to do so wisely so that you’re making the most of your time—not wasting it.
One reason some students take so long in completing their degree is that they continuously change majors after having made choices that don’t serve them. In most cases, with each change of major, you are committing yourself to 10 or 12 required courses. So it’s important to take the time up front to find the classes that will support your interests, nurture your talents, and allow you to achieve your goals.
Supporting Your Interests
We at MyPath101 have a suggestion: choose your classes based on what interests you. That may sound obvious, but the truth is that so many students pick classes based on what they think they should study, what’s popular that semester, or what their parents want them to take. Choosing what other people want you to study can seem like following guidelines. But, often, it’s a recipe for disaster—especially if the class is a challenging one. This is because the things that intrigue you—your interests—are the same things that motivate you to devote energy to them. If you’re interested in a topic, you’ll work at it as hard as you can.
It’s a delicate balance: you need to identify what you like, and which classes will support those interests and make the most of your talents, as well as which courses you need to learn to like in order to meet your goal of getting a college degree in your chosen major.
Let’s start with identifying your interests. Think about the things you enjoy doing, but don’t just say “I like soccer,” for example. Be specific about what it is you like about playing soccer—is it working in a team, or challenging yourself, or being outdoors—and then think about how you can replicate that experience in a classroom setting—working on group projects in a lab, taking a new language, or studying marine biology in the field, for example.
Next, to amp up your chances of academic success, consider your personality characteristics and how you work best.
To explore your interests and learning style, ask yourself: