I often hear stories from underclassmen who are interested in the Experimental College, but aren’t aware of what opportunities there are beyond taking classes. Then I hear from junior and seniors who would have liked to be more involved with the ExCollege earlier, but just didn’t know everything that was available. In an attempt to rectify this trend, I’m going to let you know about the upcoming super cool opportunities the ExCollege is offering for the next year.
(I know it’s a bit early to be thinking about next semester, but to be honest I’d rather think about that than my numerous upcoming midterms, and I suspect I’m not alone in this productive form of procrastination.)
If you’re a rising junior or senior and you want the opportunity to create your own course to co-teach with a friend, you should apply to teach a first year seminar next fall. The ExCollege sponsors the Perspectives and Explorations programs, which allow upperclassmen to mentor first-semester freshmen while lecturing on a subject they’re passionate about. When I was a freshman, I took the Perspectives course “Superheroes in the Media,” and it was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had at Tufts. My co-leaders, Becca and Jehan, acted not only as teachers, but as mentors for me and my peers. They helped me to pick out classes and figure out which activities I wanted to do. I still get dinner with Becca around once a week, and meet Jehan at least once a month. My Perspectives leaders made Tufts seem inviting and fun on that scary first day, and I’ll always be grateful for their warmth and intelligence. The Perspectives program influenced me so heavily that I already am planning to apply in my senior year, with a partner and course subject in mind. (“Feminist Narratives in Science Fiction Television,” coming to you in Fall 2016.) If you want the opportunity to help freshmen while having a genuinely great teaching experience, you should apply for either of these programs. Also, you get 1.5 credits. The application for teaching an Explorations or Perspectives course is due March 11.
If you’re a freshman and want to be involved in the ExCollege next year, fear not: there’s opportunities for you as well! You can apply to be a member of the Board, which is an overall phenomenal experience that I would recommend to everyone. I’ve written extensively on why I love the Experimental College Board, but I’ll take the time to advertise it even more. On the Board, you have the opportunity to work alongside other students and faculty members to organize events and choose which courses will be taught in the next semester. The Board is great not only because you get to be on the ground floor of decision making, but also because of the relationships you forge with your peers and the professors. The application for becoming a member of the ExCollege Board is due February 27.
The ExCollege is such a fantastic place to learn, lead, and grow, and I really hope that students take advantage of the opportunities presented for next semester. For more information on becoming more involved with the ExCollege, visit excollege.tufts.edu.