Here at CWRU, we have a program called SAGES – Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship. SAGES offers Case students a series of small, interdisciplinary seminars that extend throughout the undergraduate curriculum. All students – from engineering to communications to language majors – participate in SAGES. In the first two years, we take three different SAGES classes across a variety of disciplines. During junior year, one takes a SAGES departmental seminar, usually within their major, and, in senior year, completes a SAGES senior capstone that demonstrates the intellectual agility that the SAGES program aims to foster.
SAGES classes at Case really are interdisciplinary. In the summer before freshman year, I put together my class schedule without SAGES, adding my biology classes, chemistry classes, and whatnot. Then, in the middle of August, I chose three SAGES classes that interested me from a set of classes that fit into my schedule. Then, one was assigned to me. This semester, I am taking a “Life of the Mind” seminar, which is what most seminars are generally called, with a concentration in music. We are currently studying Beethoven, his creativity, and the role that his impending deafness played in his music. I have been a piano player for the past fourteen years, and this really interests me, despite the fact that I am not an English or music major. For me, SAGES is a way to be able to take something different in an area that interests me but does not directly apply to my career goals. Next semester, I am hoping to take a class called “Nonprofit 101”, where I’ll get to learn about the administration and “behind the scenes” of both local and nationwide nonprofits. As a member of the planning committee of Relay For Life, part of the American Cancer Society, this is something that really interests me.
Another amazing part of the first-year SAGES classes is something called “Fourth Hour”. Generally, a SAGES seminar involves three hours of class a week (for example, my current class is from 8:30-9:45 on Tuesday and Thursday). However, the first seminar that a Case student takes, in their first semester as a freshman, involves a differently scheduled “Fourth Hour”. This is an opportunity for learning outside the classroom. It’s a way for professors to teach their students, many of whom are not from the area, about Cleveland and what it has to offer. For example, I have been to the Planetarium at the Natural History Museum in University Circle, something that is right on CWRU’s campus. Another “Fourth Hour” was reserved for a presentation on music and the mind, and yet another was for seeing a special performance of the Cleveland Orchestra in Severance Hall. It’s an amazing opportunity for freshman like me, not from the area, to learn some of the things that both Cleveland and Case have to offer, and to do some pretty awesome things along the way.
With all these classes and jobs that I have, I never have time to actually go out with my camera and take photos despite photography being one of my most favorite hobbies. However, this year, I decided to take black and white photography as my last non-nursing class.
Because of the assignments, I was forced to go out around campus to find specific angles and objects to photograph. For one assignment, my friend suggested that we go to Wade Lagoon in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Of the three years that I’ve been here, I’ve never once set foot there. Once I got there, the sun was just setting or the “golden hour” as we photographers call it. I had never seen University Circle look so pretty before and to think that I’ve been missing out on this for more than half of my time at Case.
The same could be said for the classes here. It’s college! You don’t have to stick to the academic classes anymore. If you have the time, you can always take classes that aren’t part of your major. Often times, these classes will be required for you to graduate (For me, photography fills my arts & humanities requirement). So go out there and explore. You’ll never know what you find, and maybe it might be something that you’ve been looking for.