Peer to Peer Advice

I ask for specific feedback at the end of each semester, and for advice that my current students would give to someone taking the course in the future. Here are some of their comments:

“Even though it fulfills a lot of LASC requirements, this is not a filler class. It is very demanding.”

“My advice is to take this class! Not only will you learn about citizenship and what it means, but you will also learn about the history of the United States of America and how different groups of people were treated because of factors they could not control like race and gender. My other advice is to start to become more aware and follow what goes on politically. Not just on a national level, but a state and local level because those decisions have more of an effect on you. It is important to stay involved politically because you can change the system. You will learn a lot of information to help you become a more aware and conscious citizen.”

“My advice for the next group of students that take this course is to genuinely try to learn something new. I think that I went into this course assuming that it was going to be a large review of things I already knew from history and from government classes I had taken in the past, but to my surprise it did contain similar information, but from a different lens: a way deeper lens of citizenship and what certain points of history and present day mean for citizens (and non-citizens). Therefore, my advice to others would be to not just complete things for the due dates but to engage yourself and learn a little because it is different from the things you already know!”

“Get involved! I never payed attention to politics till this semester and they can actually be interesting.”

“I think the biggest advice I would give to the next group of students is get the readings done early and take good notes, it will help lot to write the papers and discussions questions. I also think it’s important to be passionate or find something you are passionate about regarding this class and it will make it much easier to participate and engage and understand. Also, make sure to ask Professor Hangen a lot of questions, she is a very helpful resource :)”

“Absolutely keep up with the news! It’ll help tie things together, AND you’ll be excited about how much more you understand as a result of what you learn in this class. Do all the readings, it’s worth it, and don’t wait until last minute to write your assignments! You’re going to want to really think and absorb everything you learn.”

“One thing that I found helpful in taking this class was looking ahead to the prompts for the response papers at the beginning of a new unit. I found it helped to keep me focused on the objectives of the unit, stay organized and made writing the paper at the end of the unit a lot easier.”

“This course is valuable in learning about the components of a functioning democracy and the complexity of citizenship, voting, and civic engagement. Taken during an election year, brings all of it to life in real time. The work involved in immense compared to other courses so prepare to be immersed in extensive reading, writing, and analysis. But it’s worth it.”

“Some advice that I would give to future Citizen Nation students would be to do the reading, come up with [a research] question about citizenship, but be prepared to do your work. It is not a course that you can just show up to and get a good grade, but that is what makes this class fun and interesting.”

“Now that I am a former student of this course I would advise everyone on Worcester State’s campus who is in any way interested in politics or history to sign up for this class. Before taking this class I thought I knew a lot more than I did in regards to how the government works… Unfortunately I found out that I am not quite the political genius that I thought I was and therefore Citizen Nation broadened my knowledge.”

“Go into the course with an open mind and don’t be overwhelmed with the course load. All of the assignments, although challenging, are spaced out and well instructed. A key point I would emphasize is to READ THE READINGS and to read them on time. Falling behind is not fun and the lectures are easier to understand if you have read your homework assignments. Other than that I would tell them to actively participate in class and enjoy the course.”

“Don’t take the subject matter lightly. Thinking that you are prepared for the subject matter, based on previous classes can be detrimental to your learning experience. I would suggest keeping an open mind, and prepare to not only fully dive into each lesson, but to think outside of the box, and find connections that might be there between them. I would also recommend to students that if writing papers, and working on multi-faceted projects are not your strong suit, then to seek any and all available help in strengthening these abilities.”

“Stay up on the readings. They are not extremely hard, and doing them will stimulate better conversation in the class.”

“Take your time with the readings. I would say that some time should be taken to reflect on the difference between the two [main] books. Another point that may be helpful for the students would be to pay attention to the political actions within their own towns while the class is being taught.”

“Aside from keeping up with the readings, because it is a lot, is to pay close attention to [a] news outlet and what their takes are on the current political system. This is helpful because outside sources continue to present the same issues that we talked about in the book. Even today in the 21st century, there are groups out there in favor of disenfranchising others.”

“Make sure you read, and not because it’s required, the reading helps you appreciate the course more and makes it easier to understand what is going on. This course was very rewarding, but you determine that by the work you put in.”

“What I would recommend for anyone taking the class is to be prepared to learn. The course is going to cover a large portion of American history and it is a lot of knowledge to remember, especially for the final exam. Stay caught up in the reading because falling behind is painful especially when trying to read more than one chapter at a time. It also helps to constantly synthesize information over the duration of the course. Additionally being active in the classroom discussions would allow me to follow along much easier, and to process the information.”

“If someone were interested in this course, active participation, consistent attendance, and informative notes on the key points highlighted in class through personal notes, it will be very beneficial when it comes time to complete assignments or papers…. I would recommend this class to anyone who shows interest in citizenship and who is willing to read!”

“Don’t wait until the night before the class to do the readings because you will almost instantly regret it. Doing the reading assignments with enough time to read the chapter twice and take notes on it will be extremely helpful in class discussions and response papers. Also coming into the class with a general curiosity about citizenship will go a long way because that leads to more research done in free time that can help understand the class more clearly. If you put the effort into the class that it needs to earn a good grade in it, you will walk away with a more informed outlook on life.”

“Keep up with the readings! I admit to falling behind from time to time and it’s always difficult to contribute when you haven’t read the material (our discussions were generally very good and its always frustrating feeling unable to contribute to a good conversation).”

“My advice for a student that is enrolled in this course next semester is to NOT FALL BEHIND ON THE READINGS and pay attention in class by participating and voicing your thoughts! This is one of those classes that you need to read the books in order to succeed and pass. The class discussions go over the readings but in a whole other sense of them than reading them. The readings are designed to spark your thoughts and get your mind working and then the class period is designed to hear the students’ thoughts, opinions, and even own experiences related to the readings. I absolutely recommend this class for any student that is willing to try hard and actually put the work in. This class completely changed my outlook on democracy and politics and taught me what it actually means to be a citizen of the US.”

“Get started early on the research project and the state constitution requirement assignment. Otherwise keep up with the readings and it shouldn’t be too bad! Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to be interested in the subject matter either.”

“My advice for anyone taking this course next semester is to not wait until the last minute to do your research paper. That was probably the smartest thing I could have done. I was not as overwhelmed with it as I could have been and because I took my time on it and took the time to actually work on it, I ended up getting a really good grade.”

“Be well-read on politics and really try to grasp the information brought up in class. I know that after class I would have some questions about what was being discussed, so I would research it. In order to really get something from this class it is important that students pay attention and really become involved with the material. It is one thing to listen, but it is a whole different thing to understand it.”

“Expect a large amount of work investment, but the reward it yields is much greater than other classes of the same level or credits. Overall, I feel that Citizen Nation has given me a means to understand the problem of American politics today without a specific party bone to pick it with, which is all one could ask for.”