Introducing College Freshmen to Cultural Studies

If you are a member of faculty in a cultural studies department, you may find yourself being assigned to teach an introductory course for college freshmen. This is an exciting yet also at the same time challenging assignment. For if you run the introductory course well, the freshmen are likely to develop a real interest in cultural studies. Some may go ahead to major in it. Some may even go further, to pursue cultural studies at postgraduate and doctoral level. After that, some may end up joining the same faculty – and what a joy it would be to have them as colleagues, knowing that you are the one who actually introduced them to cultural studies.

In introducing college freshmen to cultural studies, you need to:

  1. Show them that cultural studies is not an abstract field: the goal here is to get them to understand that cultural studies have real-life application, and what they learn is likely to truly help them in their future lives.
  2. Build on the students’ already existing knowledge: the objective here is to ensure that the students don’t start perceiving cultural studies as ‘hard’. If they perceive it as hard, they are likely to lose interest. You therefore need to get them to view it as something they can understand with ease.
  3. Show them the economic potential in cultural studies: many of the students are likely to be having fears on what they can do with cultural studies degrees. So it is up to you to get them to see that through cultural studies, they can broaden their minds — which can then lead to improved earnings. Some may be worried about the prospect of ending up working as, say, porters at departments like the US Postal Service. So they could be dreading the idea of having to send their resumes to the liteblue human resources portal, and then waiting, fingers crossed, for replies. Then, even after getting such jobs, they are likely to be dreading the possibility of having visit the liteblue usps portal, to get work schedules (which are likely to be very tight). So you have to reassure them. First, you need to get them to understand that they could still end up in such circumstances, even with other types of degrees. And secondly, you need to get them to understand that if they apply themselves in cultural studies, and pursue it to the highest level (like, say, the graduate or doctoral levels), it is highly unlikely that they won’t miss meaningful opportunities in the field.

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