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If ALA 102 pops up in your schedule during, it means you’re a new or returning member of the Michigan Comunity Scholars Program (MCSP for short), a living/learning community in the University of Michigan. Even though being a member of MCSP requires a small workload, there are some requisites that you have to complete in order to fulfill the communities requirements (which you agreed to complete once you decided to join). ALA 102 is one of those you-don’t-want-to-but-have-to type of classes.

1. It ends midway through the semester

Since it’s only a one-credit course, it ends halfway through the semester. That means that you won’t have to worry about walking all the way over to East Hall when the chilling November and December winds creep around the corner.

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2. Interesting speakers

Without a doubt, the most interesting aspect of the class is the speakers, which range from Forbes 30 Under 30 members, a Holocaust survivor, teachers, and activists that have set foot and left an impact in the University of Michigan. Their outspoken and charismatic, charming and extremely interesting, so listen to their stories. They will, without a doubt, change your point of view and challenge your opinions on one or many subjects.

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3. Minimal workload

Even though there are some assigned readings for ever week, the minority of the students do them. The reason is that, depending on who your discussion leader is, you won’t need them! Discussion sessions revolve around various activities and, well, discussions, that put in to play what you heard or learned during the other two-hour long “lecture”.  (I say “lecture”, but it really isn’t. It’s just the time when the speakers talk.) Additionally, you have to write two essays for the class, which is almost nothing.

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4. Creative RAs

The discussion leaders are also members of the community: they’re your RAs or residential advisors. They are the upperclassmen who will live in your hall and make sure that you obey your residential housing rules. Even though some might make you read the homework, they’re all extremely creative and will come up with hundreds of ways of discussing what you learned during the week. They also have a lot more experience dealing stress, homework, and classes that you might be taking; so talk to them, they’re a great resource if you want insight about anything related to the university.

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5. New friends!

You’re going to be living with each and every one of the people that take the course with you; don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. MCSP is full of students who embody what the community stands for (leadership, community service and diversity), so you can be more than certain that they’re all down to earth and nice.  Who knows? Some of them might end up being your lifelong friends.

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Even though, at times, it might seem like a waste of time, ALA 102 is actually a good destresser from everything going on around you during your freshman year of college. Enjoy it. You’ll learn a lot, change your opinions and make new friends along the way. What do you have to lose?


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Natalia Carolina


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