As this semester is winding down, I wanted to reflect a bit on my experiences at USG in a new program with only three cohorts thus far. The first cohort had five students, the second had two which included me, and the third which began last fall had three. This experience of learning amongst others in such small classes of 5-7 people has offered a unique and special experience for me that has definitely created lasting benefits beyond academic achievement. The intimacy and closeness of these small groups has fostered a sense of community and support that has definitely made a significant impact on me. Which is why, it is very bittersweet to see the first cohort graduate this spring because they became a core component of the biocomputational engineering family.
One, and the main, significant benefit of small classes is the opportunity to form close relationships with classmates and professors. With fewer students in the class, it’s easier to engage in meaningful discussions and develop deeper connections with classmates. We can also benefit from more one-on-one time with the professor, allowing for a more personalized and individualized approach to learning.
Furthermore, small classes create a sense of accountability and responsibility among students. In smaller groups, everyone’s participation and contribution are crucial. We can clearly feel the difference on days where one student ends up missing class. Which also encourages us to take our education more seriously and make an effort to be present and engaged in class at all times. These small classes also provide a more comfortable learning environment for students who may feel overwhelmed or intimidated in larger groups. With fewer people in the class, it’s possible to feel more comfortable asking questions and sharing opinions. This leads to more open and productive discussions, ultimately leading to a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Lastly, the friendships and connections made in these classes last well beyond graduation, providing a strong support system as we navigate our academic and professional careers.
In conclusion, small classes offer a unique and special learning experience that extends far beyond academic achievement. The intimacy and closeness of this group has fostered meaningful relationships, accountability and responsibility among students, a comfortable learning environment, and a sense of community and support that will last a lifetime. I am very grateful for my BCE family and proud of the first cohort’s completion of the program!