my pathway experience

Kaylah Frisbee '11 of Cambridge, N.Y., is a Child Development major with early education certification. Here, she discusses her Pathway course, “Starting Over,” taught by Assistant Professor of Business Administration Jody Murphy. Pathways, the foundation of Colby-Sawyer's Liberal Education Program, are a group of theme-based, interdisciplinary seminars that students choose for their first and second years. Starting Over explores the concept and connotations of starting over from the simplistic to the sophisticated.

This Pathway's First Year Seminar exposes students to individual experiences of starting over through reflection, discussion, readings and videos. Its Sophomore Seminar expands the study to include the broader experience of change among individuals, communities, colonies, nations and economies on an international and local scale.

Why did you choose this Pathway, and what are some of the important things you learned through the course?

I chose this Pathway because I was interested in seeing how starting over is portrayed in real life and how it related to me. I was a little unsure of what the course would really be about, but I enjoyed it and got a lot out of it.

Pathways are designed as theme-based and interdisciplinary. What do you see as some of the major themes discussed in the course?

Some of the major themes in this course were definitely the effects of my starting over stories, especially as a freshman in college. In the Sophomore Seminar we talked a lot about the economy and how the economic status of the United States is making people start over, and how President Obama is a starting over story for many people because he is the first African American to be president.

We talked about how the world is flattening and all the changes that everyone has to go through as a starting over story. Each class was a discussion and led to many topics that opened up many perspectives in the way I thought about things.

Please describe some of the resources and projects used in the class.

The major resources we used in class were the texts we read, different web sites, and a couple films to help us understand different topics. Our projects included a group paper and a group presentation; a paper about President Obama and what his presidency means to me, and lastly, a research paper and a presentation to go along with it.

The name “Pathway” suggests that these courses take students on a journey to a new place or level of understanding. How has this course, and you and your classmates, evolved from one year to the next?

This Pathway allowed me to think in different ways, and see things from another perspective. It allowed me to grow as a person, and take a journey down a road with some of my classmates. I now can hold a class discussion without being scared, and my classmates and I can all talk freely without offending someone and actually have a good discussion.

When I first walked into my firs-year Pathway, I was scared and very quiet and so were a lot of my classmates, but now I talk in every class. This pathway has made me more comfortable and allowed me to conquer my fears of talking in front of class.

Jody Murphy is a wonderful Pathway professor who takes the time listen to feedback on the class about what is working and what is not. The class discussions were wonderful – this Pathway is definitely a great choice. I would even be interested in being a peer mentor for Professor Murphy in her Pathway in the near future!