SECOND FLOOR OF THE JRC - This year, Grinnell hosted its first Advising week. The intent was to inform students of the multiple opportunities, majors and concentrations that Grinnell provides.
“We figured it was time to start treating the second years like members of our Grinnell society,” Associate Dean Carol Chambers explained. “I mean, they’re basically the redheaded stepchildren of the college, so we decided to throw them a bone.”
The week began on Monday September 21st, when SEPC members from each department tabled for their respective majors in the JRC. Not only did the tables feature important details about the coursework required for each major, but they spotlighted interesting facts about each department and showed photos of all of the department majors dressed in white, standing on the steps of JRC.
“I know Grinnell doesn’t have any Greek life,” Amara Kyuzak ’17 explained to a group of second-years on Monday, “But each department is basically its own fraternity or sorority. You make lifelong friends, bond with the professors, and your dues are already included in the overpriced college tuition!”
Students reacted positively to the comparison to Greek life.
“After hanging out at the History table, I decided that I may want to major in that,” Sadie Roswater, ’18 said, clutching at an ‘Intended History Major’ pin. “Their colors are pink and green, and those are my favorite colors, too. Besides, there’s a lot of diversity, which is super important.”
George Polk ’16 said, “I think this is a really positive move on the part of the SEPC’s. I’m on the English SEPC and I know that our “Drink with Dostoyevsky” High Street party gained a lot more interest in the major then cookies and candy at study breaks ever did.”
The event concluded with an alumni banquet, with tables adorned with each major’s color. As students filed into the banquet, each of them sat with the alumnus at the table of their major and waited to be accepted or ignored.
Said Chemistry Professor Diane Toer, “I’ll admit that the whole process might seem a little harsh and arbitrary. But considering that so many of our Grinnell students end up going to graduate school and even academia, the convolution of the Greek system is actually good preparation for the future.”
After the formalities were over, the CLS staff arrived and led a discussion about the lifelong implications of Majors.
“I majored in Religious Studies,” Biedwagon ’05 explained to the second-years as he sat cross-legged in front of them. “And now I’m a Pizza Entrepreneur! I got to talk to you during my lunch break!”
“But I want to emphasize that your major means so much more than that,” Biedwagon continued. You make a lot of connections and your major is your family for life. Once I realized that my major was more about who I hung out with than what I was learning, my life completely changed. I know that I depend on my Religious Studies ‘siblings’ to let me crash on their couch occasionally, and to pay me to come back to Grinnell and talk to you all!”
Chambers’ next move will be to implement an Advising Week for the Faculty. It seems that asking students what they want to do with the rest of their life has led to many of the professors questioning their own life choices.