Sunny Purighalla: Coveted First Seminar classes make for a lousy program

Within the Possible


Christopher Gittings

The SAGES Fellows’ Office Area provides students a place to meet their professors and study

I seriously hated my senior AP English class. Everyone hates something like spiders or early mornings, or even the dark. For me, it was having my teacher hand out obscure supplementary documents inscribed on the rainforest he’d just killed so all his 7,000-page packets could collect dust in my binder.

Then, I got my acceptance letter. I finally found the light at the end of the tunnel. My one-year sentence to senior AP English was finally over until Case Western Reserve University shoved me back into the tunnel and shut out the light with five letters: SAGES.

But, I was wrong. My First Seminar experience left me excited for the next one, or at least relieved that I had a class with less than 300 other students. More impressively, I actually left a literary discussion-based class without cursing under my breath. SAGES is now the only class I go out of my way to be 10 minutes early to. I’m enrolled in my first choice class with a professor I enjoy listening to and peers I actually want to have educational discussions with.

Other freshmen haven’t been as lucky. While some students didn’t end up enrolling in their first-choice SAGES seminar, others didn’t even end up with a class in their top four. With such a wide variety of possible SAGES class, it’s unlikely any student will have the same experience. While ensuring a diverse experience for students is important, in this case it is not a good thing.

While I’m content with my SAGES class, other students find themselves feeling like I did in senior AP English. SAGES is supposed to engage students and facilitate discussion, but if I’m in a fly-fishing class and I’d rather be discussing chocolate, there’s little I’d be willing to learn.

Not only that, but staying motivated in a class you’d rather skip is pretty difficult. My SAGES topic is interesting and something I could enjoy thinking about after leaving the classroom. So, getting prepared isn’t very hard because it’s something I’d instinctively want to do.

Overall, experience doesn’t just depend on the subject, it also depends on the professor. According to CWRU’s website, SAGES professors are also here to advise students. But if you and your professor are on two completely opposite ends of the personality spectrum, you can’t really trust your professor to give relevant advice.

Many classes here contain an ocean of people. SAGES is more like a puddle. It allows students to have their thoughts and opinions heard when they’d usually just be one in the masses in other courses. However, without a compatible SAGES, whether it comes to the right professor or an interesting topic, this unique opportunity is really for nothing.

Sunny Purighalla is a freshman majoring in biochemistry. She likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain except when it’s on her way to class. She hates that.