On this fourth week of class, we are offering a reflection on what first year student might benefit aside from classes: as adults in midst of growing up, their needs go beyond academic disciplines. In “How to Live Wisely”, Professor Richard Light describes a noncredit seminar “Reflection on Your Life” at Harvard university for the enhancement of the college experience on campus for first year students.

“Imagine you are Dean for a Day. What is one actionable change you would implement to enhance the college experience on campus?

I have asked students this question for years. The answers can be eye-opening. A few years ago, the responses began to move away from “tweak the history course” or “change the ways labs are structured.” A different commentary, about learning to live wisely, has emerged.

What does it mean to live a good life? What about a productive life? How about a happy life? How might I think about these ideas if the answers conflict with one another? And how do I use my time here at college to build on the answers to these tough questions?”

Light offers five engaging exercises to help freshmen identify their goals in college, reflect on their personal lives, and make connections between what they yearn for and what they actually do. Through the exercises, the seminar encourages first year students to think through their college life and adopt a more introspective stance.

Students enrolled in the First Year Experience class, UNIV101 get to practice similar activities to guide them in their college experience. You can learn more about the First Year Experience at UD here.