Getting Started

General education courses get students off on the right path
Portrait of student Christine Nibitanga '23

I spent my whole first month weighing different majors, and seeing my options. Students should try to experience other things.

Christine Nibitanga ’23 recalls sitting in the audience at her high school graduation in Worcester and wondering about her future plans. She decided she would give college a try, and enrolled at Fitchburg State.

“When I got to Fitchburg I was all over the place,” she recalled. “I spent my whole first month weighing different majors, and seeing my options.”

She was always drawn to the notion of a career helping others, so a medical field appealed to her. She decided to declare a major in exercise and sports science.

“When I was thinking about all of this, I was taking Writing I with Dr. (Kisha) Tracy, where we did a disability seminar,” Nibitanga said. “It was a great environment. It was both Dr. Tracy’s teaching and the subject matter. She was very engaging and I could tell she was very passionate about the subject. I ended up learning so much, and I declared disability studies as my minor.”

Nibitanga, who has an outgoing personality but said she can be shy in class, found the Writing I course meaningful. The course offered a strong academic foundation that also yielded dividends for her longer-term plans. She said she hopes that future students will also be open to new ideas through their first-year studies.

“Some people come to college like, ‘I want to be a nursing student,’ and they’re just lost when they find out that it’s not for them,” Nibitanga said. “They should try to experience other things.”

This story first appeared in the Summer 2021 edition of Contact magazine.