OPINION: Goodbye, 109

OPINION: Goodbye, 109

By PHU NGUYEN Guest Columnist

I felt great excitement when I read about SDSU’s decision to remove IGR classes from its graduation requirements, including the first-year seminar, or 109, classes.

I personally think it’s the right decision, albeit a little late.

I understand the need for helping freshmen take a first look into college life. However, for the other students who are confident enough to start their majors, including me, the course is usually considered useless and a waste of time.

I had to take UC 109 alongside my senior capstone in my last semester, just to fulfill the requirements. It already sounds crazy enough — what’s the point of sitting with undecided freshmen, when I already survived four years of college?

The problem was worsened as the University College is designed to help indecisive and undeclared students. Therefore, UC 109 tends to help them discover themselves, as well as the surrounding community and environment, albeit in a pretty forceful way.

I want to emphasize the word “forceful.” And, naturally, anything done in a forceful way is not going to be enjoyable. Not at all, not in any means.

Besides taking the Gallup’s StrengthQuest assessment, to help us discover our strengths, the rest of my class was my worst experience at SDSU.

Every time I came to class I felt like I was in a prison.

We were assigned a heavy load of group work, which included going to many Brookings and campus locations together and taking group photos to turn in as “proof.”

Literally, we were forced to make friends with each other and spend a considerable amount of time together.

We were assigned to go to at least five campus events, of different criteria, and turn in our reflections and, again, turn in group selfies with tickets or posters signed by the organizers as proof.

We had to read the “Common Read” book and give thoughtful reflections. Or, in other words, the book was shoved into our mouths.

To sum up the nightmare, my instructor was serious about grading those assignments. She counted the proofs, as well as how many group members were presented in them. If someone failed to complete an assignment, she did not hesitate to toss an F. I remember looking at the class grade distribution online, and found out about 15 of the students were given Fs for their assignments.

I was not sure if those students failed the entire class, but I can’t think of anything sillier than hurting your GPA with an F for first year seminar.

I got a B for the class, which was a hairline close to a C. I think that was good enough to end a nightmare.

Now, SDSU has come to the decision to remove 109s from the curriculum. I am glad the next generations won’t need to suffer what I had to.

Farewell, dreadful 109.

Phu Nguyen is a reporter for the Pierre Capital Journal and can be reached at [email protected].