Changing Tastes: The Difference Between UM Seniors and Freshmen

Ah college, it’s been an interesting journey. I remember when I was a freshman, feeling cool cooking my ramen noodles in my resident hall microwave. Now that I’m a “grown-up” senior, I’ve graduated to cooking ramen (hundreds of times), on my shared house stovetop.


Now, college feels a little bit different, too, than it did on day one of freshman year. When you’re a freshman taking a 100-level course, you get to meet people from different majors and backgrounds. Sometimes the 100-level general education courses are a good way to immerse yourself in a topic that you may never have thought you’d have an interest in. For example, I never would’ve known to look for the Lake Missoula shorelines on Mount Jumbo if I hadn’t taken geology.

However, a nice aspect about 400-level classes is that I’m now only studying the classes that are for my degree! Throughout the years, it’s been nice to get to know my professors on a more personal level, than when I was in a larger class. Another benefit of a 400-level class is that you and your classmates become more connected and familiar with each other. It’s comforting to have other students who are going through the same class struggles, challenges and triumphs as you.

On a non-academic note, another difference I’ve noticed is in the amount of effort people put into their appearance. Speaking for myself, I used to spend time putting together a top-notch outfit every day to make sure I looked presentable. Now, I find myself throwing on whatever clean laundry I have lying around!

Whether you are a traditional freshman or a sixth-year senior, here are a few differences between a 100- and 400-level class, as told by fellow UM seniors:


“Words of wisdom: You can’t skip your 400-levels like you can your 100-levels and get by with it.” Andy Nelson, history

“Pay attention to your 100-level class, because you’ll need to remember that information in your 400-level classes.” –Bailey Harper, marketing

“A 400-level with a professor you like can be better than a 100-level with the wrong professor. Also remember that while the 400 classes may technically be harder, you get to take them with people you have gotten to know over the last few years and they are related to topics you like in your major!”-Tyler Morgan, communication

“In general, lower division courses are not as involved, Whereas, upper divisions the professors challenge you to strive and produce your best work through research and deeper meanings with content.” -Melissa Unger, art and education

“Situation No.1: you’re in a dark room, and cannot find light. However, a flashlight is provided for you, but it only shines a short distance without batteries in it so you can only see the beginning of what’s in front of you. This is a 100-level class.

Situation No.2: You have the option to increase the brightness of your flashlight, however, you have to find the batteries in the dark room, which requires more effort and work than just shining your flashlight. However, with the batteries, the flashlight illuminates the room so much more that it was worth it to search in the dark to find them to see the full brightness. This is a 400-level class.” -Tatum Holland, communication

“Get as much sleep as you can when you’re taking 100-level classes. But appreciate the devotion to your craft during your 400-level classes!”-Freddy Monrares, journalism

However, one thing remains the same …



The amount of caffeine that I consumed in my 100-level classes is consistent with the amount that I consume now. Whether you are in the middle of your general education courses trying to figure out what major is right for you, or busily working toward finishing your degree – it’s an exciting time to drink up all of the knowledge possible (pun intended).