By Johannes – 3rd year student
A question and/or worry that you might have if you’re looking at Quest is: What if Quest doesn’t offer a course I really want to take?
At Quest we offer a variety of really cool courses every year. Our courses can generally be separated into 2 categories, our foundation courses and concentration courses. While foundation courses represent courses in the areas of life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, social sciences, arts & humanities and language, our concentration courses can be a mixture of different fields and are generally upper year courses (And definitely much harder!) Over the years, Quest has offered everything from standard courses such as “Multivariable Calculus” to really unique courses such as “Beadwork and Social Activism” with unique and amazing tutors.
Every couple year’s our concentration courses change, depending on what our phenomenal tutors want to teach and what their students want. For example, our field courses to Antarctica or Greece (oh yes!) run on average every 2 years. But of course, given that each student has a unique major through a question, the amount of academic interests that we have at Quest are pretty much as various as students. So, it does happen that the course you want may not be offered when you want it. So, what can you do
At Quest, we have a unique system in which you can create something called an “Independent Study”, and it is exactly what it sounds like. With your mentor, or another tutor in the field you would like to study, you create an extensive syllabus, pick all the readings that are appropriate for the course, choose hard assignments that you want to do, and off you go!
For my March block, I have done exactly that. I sat down with Doug (my mentor) and I told him that I could not find a course that I wanted to study. After some discussion, we realized what I wanted to take was a course on the introduction to international law. He mentioned that that usually is a course that would be taught at a graduate institution, but since I’m a Quest student, I didn’t care about such trivial matters. My mentor has a PhD in a similar field, so he was ready to figure this out with me. He advised me to find other people who would be interested in also taking this class with me, since it would be helpful if I could talk to people about the topic. After some back and forth and a couple days later, we had worked out a syllabus and I was ready to start my class.
As I am writing this, I am in my Independent Study on an introduction to international law, and it has been a blast. I spent every day reading volumes upon volumes of good old legal texts and complement them with other texts on analysis. I have learned a lot about a topic that I thought I could not study here, since it did not offer a course in it. But, this unique structure of an independent study and the close relationship that we all have with our mentors, allows for this learning to take place. If there is one thing that I really like about Quest, it is that we can be extremely flexible. Since we are this small, whenever you want something to happen, chances are pretty good that it will. So, if there is a course that you really want to take, but you are concerned Quest does not offer it, then I would say that with a little effort you can totally make it happen here! Just don’t forget to actually do the work you set out for yourself…