One of my favorite things about Naz are the unique courses offered in various subject areas. Nazareth wants students to explore different areas and ponder thoughts and questions about their classes. In fact, students are required to take one course in each of the following subjects: history, literature, math, philosophy, religious studies, science and science lab, social sciences, and visual/performing arts. These are known as P-EQs (Perspective Enduring Questions) at Nazareth College. P-EQ courses examine common subjects in a dynamic way with the addition of “enduring question” that aim at helping you to understand your courses in a more profound way. The questions can range from “What is the relationship between religion and culture?” to “What is the significance of music in our lives?” This link describes the courses and Naz’s Uncommon Core in greater detail.
As a freshman, I was excited about taking P-EQs in some of these subject areas, such as religious studies and literature. Other subjects, however, such as math, are not my strongest areas. I dreaded having to take an additional math class in my course load. I ended up taking a math P-EQ at Naz over the summer with Professor Kevin Laley. I was registered for a class called “thinking mathematically” and, as I read the course description on the syllabus, I wondered what my chance at an A in the class would be. Thinking mathematically is a course involving “mathematical reasoning.” This may sound similar to probability, but it actually covers different math subjects including sequences, geometry, and reasoning, to name a few. Math is definitely one of my worst subjects, however, I ended up doing amazing in thinking mathematically and actually enjoyed being there. The course included projects, quizzes, a final exam, and a professor eager to help his students.
I’m sure at least one of the subjects areas listed as a requirement won’t sound the most appealing to you right now. Personally, this is how I felt before taking my math course. Despite your fears, look at P-EQs with an open mind; this will allow you to enjoy the courses more. Nazareth requires students to take P-EQs in order to help students broaden their horizons and find new subject areas they will enjoy. You’re also not limited to a single course choice per subject, as Naz has a number of courses for each discipline that can count as your P-EQ, so you’re bound to find something that you at least find a little interesting. As a second-year student halfway done with the math requirements in my major, thinking mathematically has been my favorite math course that I’ve taken at Naz so far.
During my fall semester of freshman year, I took religious studies to fulfill my P-EQ requirement. Religious studies was one of the subject areas I was excited to more learn about. I took the course with Professor Susan Nowak, who made the course even more interesting with her intelligent insights. The religious studies P-EQ course at Naz is discussion based with a few “essay exams,” as well as a midterm and final. Professor Nowak also had the class keep a journal to write in on a weekly basis and I was able to develop the discussions I had in class with my peers in my weekly journal. I’m extremely lucky to have taken the course during my first semester at Naz. Freshman year is a great time to reflect on your beliefs and I believe this course provides a great setting for this. I remember having the class in the morning at 9:30AM; it was my first class of the day. This was a perfect way to not only start off my freshman year, but my morning. I enjoyed discussing different religions, cultures, and current events with my classmates and miss this class now that it’s over.
P-EQ courses are a great addition to the course load at Naz. Right now, I’m taking my last P-EQ course, Integrated Science Inquiry. It’s definitely possible to complete your P-EQ courses within your first two years at Naz; just remember to stay focused. I also always try to take P-EQ courses with friends, which helps make the course become something to look forward to and gives me a chance to study with a group. Though some courses may seem like a daunting task at first, it is important to try your best and take a course that you think will spark your interest. I’m happy to have taken different P-EQs with professors from different departments at Naz. Not only does it build your network, it helps you meet students and professors from different majors with diverse viewpoints.