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Hands-on learning: Psych style



Major: Psychology
Hometown: Bentonville, AR

Year: Senior

When I thought about what my college classes would be like, I imagined big lecture halls with hundreds of students and monotone teachers endlessly preaching from the front of the classroom. So, needless to say, when I sat down for my first class at the Fort I was pleasantly surprised. The average class size at Fort Lewis is 23 students. Having classes this small really allows for a more intimate and interactive learning experience. I am not just a number on a roster amongst hundreds of other nameless students. Rather, every single professor I have had here at Fort Lewis has learned not only my name, but really made an effort to get to know me as a person. Having this type of connection with the professors really allows for a more discussion-based learning environment rather than simply one-way lectures. The majority of the classes that I have taken at Fort Lewis have involved interactive, hands-on learning. This, combined with some aspects of traditional lectures, really does create an ideal environment for any type of learner.

While this has been my experience across the board in Fort Lewis classes, I can speak most closely of the Psychology department. Because psychology is such an interpersonal field, it is really important that one is able to directly interact with people while learning the material. I have had many opportunities in my classes to gain relevant experience in the field, which not only makes learning the material immensely more enjoyable, but also better prepares me for graduate school and the work force. Just to name a few, I have been able to lead a series of classes at a local half-way house teaching the principles of Positive Psychology, go out into the beautiful Durango wilderness in order to observe and study the social behaviors of animals, and even work in the counseling center conducting counseling sessions with various students using a technique called Motivational Interviewing. This type of interactive, interpersonal learning has been unbelievably fun and really has prepared me for what is to come. I will leave Fort Lewis at the end of this semester with a plethora of relevant experience and information and I couldn’t be more excited.

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