Nick Wendell

Taking electives transforms the learning experience

January 19, 2022

I spent most of high school taking classes I hated.

I never had the potential to love learning in high school. I wanted that to be different in college.

Upon reflecting on a first year filled with stressful and sad online classes, I enrolled in a contemporary dance class for fun.

I added the course to my schedule a week before the semester started when I realized I wanted to try something different.

As a Spanish and secondary education double major, dance isn’t in my typical class rotation.

I figured taking contemporary dance would give me a chance to reconnect with the more creative side of myself while adding some movement to a long day of lectures and school work.

Contemporary dance quickly became one of the best classes I’ve taken at UVM, even though I took it as an elective.

It had been years since I had seriously taken a dance class. So, stepping onto the dance floor again was just as nerve-wracking as it was exciting.

Throughout the semester, I watched in awe as my confidence grew.

In early October, my contemporary dance professor mentioned a performance opportunity called STAND.

STAND was a public outdoor performance where students and faculty from UVM’s dance department would take one hour to rise from laying to standing in the center of campus to show solidarity with domestic violence survivors.

The confidence I gained from just over a month of contemporary dance pushed me to perform alongside less than 10 other people on the steps of the Howe Library.

I left the hour-long performance feeling like I could do anything.

No amount of fear, embarrassment or uncertainty phased me anymore.

After going through a schedule with courses focused on similar topics, classes got boring.

Dancing twice a week was a welcome break and added a lot of joy into my semester.

The class was a reminder that learning comes in more forms than exams, essays and presentations.

Since taking contemporary dance, I feel a shift in my mindset and a boost in my confidence.

I now look forward to challenges, openly try new things and allow myself room to fail.

The greatest lesson I learned in college came from a class I took for fun.

Contemporary dance allowed me to love learning in the way I always wanted to.

I cannot wait to take hip hop, ballet, musical theater and a bunch of other classes that have nothing to do with Spanish or education.

UVM offers courses across a wide range of subjects. There are so many options to explore outside of a comfort zone.

College is a time to see what the world has to offer.

Electives brought to me something my majors never did.

I am excited to continue traveling along this exploratory road. There are surprises around the bend of every turn.

When looking at the course catalog, students should consider doing something they love.

Taking an elective could help find happiness, passion or even the incentive to change a major.

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