PACE: The Class That Should’ve Been an Email

As we get further into the semester and work starts to pile up, the last thing we need is a useless drain on our time. Unfortunately, freshmen are plagued by two required, institutionalized wastes of time during the Fall semester: Health 100 and Pre-Major Advising Connections at Emory (PACE). PACE is an inefficient use of students’ time, and the information it covers could be disseminated in a much more streamlined manner.

Emory tries to justify this requirement by marketing PACE 101 as an easy, one-credit course to help freshmen adjust to college by providing them with information about various resources and programs. The administration should realize that PACE is trite, tired and unnecessary. My orientation leaders described PACE as “an email that they turned into a class.” So far, that seems to be an extremely accurate characterization of PACE.

Though I admit that one weekly 50-minute class is not a lot to ask for, the time really does add up. For me, PACE is longer than a 50-minute affair; it also includes a 15-minute walk to the North Decatur Building, a location so far past even the Goizueta Business School that it’s basically off campus. Not including its outside assignments, PACE takes up more than an hour of my week, which could be better spent studying for other classes, doing extracurriculars or even just sleeping — Lord knows college students are notoriously sleep-deprived.

PACE is described in the Emory course atlas as a “multifaceted academic advising support system” that provides Emory freshmen with “the resources and skills necessary to explore a liberal arts education … and become familiar with campus resources and opportunities.” If that description sounded like a whole lot of fluff, it’s because it is. Freshmen at Emory are already provided with plenty of academic support; we have academic advisors, professors available for office hours as well as plenty of pre-law, pre-business and pre-med advisors and clubs, like GlobeMed, the Pre-Law Society, Alpha Kappa Psi and a number of investment and business clubs. Students can be made aware of these resources through other means that aren’t an entire class: an email, for example, or during orientation sessions.

PACE itself is reminiscent of high school — and not in a happy, nostalgic way. Most of the information PACE provides about Emory was already given to freshmen during orientation week. At least in my case, the course’s structure is tedious, and its facilitators are expendable; class time is mostly spent reading directly from a PowerPoint. A smart way to save everyone’s time would be to simply email the PowerPoints to students. Trusting that people will actually read said emails is irrelevant — many students already don’t listen during PACE. Behind the screens of their laptops, they’re free to online shop or browse Facebook.

Another qualm many freshmen have regarding PACE is that the wasted 50-minute block could be used for another class that either interests students academically or helps them with more important major or general education requirements.

There are plenty of alternatives to the PACE class; lots of logistical information is given to freshmen during weekly hall meetings, and information from weekly PACE classes could easily be added onto the agenda for those meetings.

Despite its intended purpose, adjusting to college would actually be a tad bit easier if PACE wasn’t a class. Emory administration, cut it out — incoming freshmen classes will be eternally grateful.

Maryah Amin is a college freshman from Syosset, N.Y.

     

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