I'm Megan, a senior at Susquehanna University. My hope is that this blog will cover my four years here, from the firsts to the lasts.

In college, you learn how to learn. Four years is not too much time to spend at that." - Mary Oliver

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Scheduling For My Final Semester

Last Friday, the newspaper was in my mailbox. Yes, the newspaper. The registration newspaper. My final one.  

The Friday before a course registration period begins, Susquehanna students all receive a list of the course offerings printed on newspaper. This information is online, but it’s handy to have in paper form—something I think Susquehanna students agree on, judging by how often I’ve seen students consulting it or circling things in it. Registering for my final set of Susquehanna courses is a big reminder of how short of a time I have left as an undergraduate. 

When students register for courses, they can consult something called a “degree audit” that shows all the required courses that students have left to take, including courses for majors, minors, and the university’s Central Curriculum. In past semesters, I always had a list of requirements to consider. Now I only had a few items! That's a great thing because it means I will graduate on time. However, it still feels very strange. 

The requirements I have left are an Oral Intensive course for the Central Curriculum (which I plan on fulfilling with a Modern Philosophy class), an English course called Forms of Writing that I need for my Creative Writing major, and the senior honors program requirements, which include a senior honors seminar and some type of research. The research requirement will be filled by the Capstone, or culminating project, I’ll be taking on in the Religious Studies department.  

All of these courses will amount to 14 credits. A standard credit load here is 16 credits, though people may take as little as 12 while remaining a full-time student. Many students exceed that 16. Right now, for instance, I'm taking 18 credits. Next semester I may have time to add an additional course, though it wouldn't be required. That course would probably be New Testament with one of my favorite religion professors. A part of me, though, thinks it might be better to stick with my 14 credits and dedicate more time to my independent study, especially since I will definitely be taking classes dealing with the New Testament if I end up going to seminary. One of my options might be auditing the class, which would mean sitting in and participating but not getting credit for the course and not having to do the homework.

Looking forward to next semester, I’m most excited about my independent study—though I’m a bit intimidated as well. I’ve decided to do a 4-credit independent study which means it’ll be quite a hefty paper. I believe my advisor told me I should expect to write around 40 pages. This makes me wish I'd completed more of my research over the summer like I had planned. Perhaps I’ll be able to get some more preliminary reading done when I’m home over Winter Break. For my project, I will be studying dating advice and approaches to pre-marital romantic relationships in American evangelical Christianity. I’m especially interested in focusing on the concept of “emotional purity” and the boundaries places on emotional intimacy within these relationships.  I’ve already looked at When God Writes Your Love Story by Leslie and Eric Ludy and Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship by Joshua Harris, some of the popular titles in Christian nonfiction addressing these topics. This independent study should be great preparation for the work I hope to eventually be doing in graduate school. 

I met with the advisor for my Religious Studies major yesterday, and this afternoon I will meet with my Creative Writing advisor. Afterwards, I'll be able to register online. Unlike some other colleges, registration isn’t a first-come, first-serve, dog-eat-dog ordeal. Rather, the Registrar’s Office figures out who gets into what classes by class year, requirements that people need fulfilled, etc. I won’t know right away, then, about what courses I get—though, as a senior who needs almost everything I’m taking to graduate, I'm assuming I won't have any difficulties.

Right now, I'm just hoping this isn't my last course registration period ever and that a few months from now I'll be doing this from graduate school--a beginner again.

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