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The Experiences of a Figlette

November 28, 2012

First Year Interest Group graphic

During my summer orientation, the UW First Year Programs offered Freshman Interest Groups, or FIGs, for incoming first-year students. These FIGs were a block of classes pertaining to a specific interest. There were FIGs geared towards intended majors of political science, English, history, biology, engineering and much more.  For example, my FIG is the political science fig and the block of courses that was offered were Poli Sci 202English 121 (using writing as a force for social change) and a  2-credit FIG seminar. The total amount of credits for one’s fall quarter would be 12, but a class can be added to the block to make the total credit 17. Most first years choose to have just the FIG without adding another course, but I decided to make the most out of my first year and kill two birds with one stone and add a science course (Enviro 100) to fill a natural science requirement.

The FIG course includes 20 or so other students with the same block of classes. This provides the opportunity to easily access a study group, share experiences with people who have the exact courses as you, and make new friends. I, personally, don’t study with my other FIG classmates because I am an independent learner and thinker, and I tend to become distracted with others. I am aware of study groups within my FIG, though, as they post study schedules on our Facebook group page, which is incredibly helpful for those that love study groups! Only about a third of the class have an intention of majoring in political science; others are interested in natural science, or art majors, which makes for a wide diversity of interests that provides for great conversation.

My FIG course meets every Wednesday afternoon, and a lot of it is discussion-based. We enjoy sharing stories about our classes, study habits we have (or don’t have), personal stories of student life, etc. It’s a great class to be in! But as with every class, there is homework.  There are weekly assignments and projects that are due. The purpose of these assignments is to educate us about UW’s campus and resources, but I find them to be more tedious and annoying than anything. There was an assignment on learning how to use the UW’s library resource, and learning about it was great, but the project had a two- page worksheet, survey, and reflective assignment connected with it. I just find the assignments to be a bit over the top for a 2-credit course.

I don’t have a staunch advocacy or hatred towards the FIG course. Some people think it’s just a waste of a class, others have loved the experience. I do recommend taking this course. I found the experience to be something that many other first-year students have gone through, so it is a common experience we share.  Many people have done fine without taking a FIG– they have made friends, learned about UW, learned how to register, and created their own study groups, but the anxiety that is your first year of college seems less overwhelming when the FIG course is in your autumn schedule.

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