The first two weeks of the semester are always a bit strange. It takes time to get back into the groove of school, and get back on a schedule of class, homework, and work; all the while trying to maintain enough of a social life so that you don’t forget how to interact with human beings.
It’s also a trial period for classes. I’ve heard a lot of professors speak about “shopping for classes” and “jumping around,” especially when it comes to electives. When speaking to my fellow students, and asking for advice, I often ask what they look for in a class. The words that come up most often are: interesting, fit my schedule, and easy.
Is it just me, or does anyone else feel terrible when they justify taking a class because you heard it was “easy.”
When coming into university I had the naïve and romantic idea that electives would be classes that I could take to broaden my knowledge on subjects that I don’t exactly want a degree in, but would like to learn more about. As well as possibly piquing my interest in another field of study for a minor or Grad school.
This is the attitude I held at the start of registration, even this term, scouring through the list of electives offered, checking out the class descriptions and asking around about how engaging the material is.
And then, it happens. Others question me as to why I chose a class with so many readings, or why I chose a class with a lot of essays and a major final. Why didn’t I take something easy, something I already know a substantial amount about, therefore ensuring not only a pass, but a pass that involves very little effort?
I can understand why people opt for the “easy” factor. There is the pressure to keep a high GPA, and rough program course loads that don’t leave much room for equally heavy electives.
However, I think it’s a sad state for our education system when students at this level are feeling the need to search for easy passes instead of opportunities for new knowledge and discovery.
It’s not to say that I’ve never asked the question myself. I have started to do so more and more as the semesters progress, because I can feel the pressure. However, I’m still holding on to the romantic idea of taking classes I enjoy, even if the material may be a little dense and may require reflection and thought.
Some may think electives are a total waste of time, but it’s important to see what else is out there. It’s important to understand and know what others are studying, because once you’re out of university, you will be working with many different types of people.
Having an arsenal of understanding and knowledge in many different areas when collaborating in the professional world is an asset. No, that one marketing class won’t make you a pro, but it will give you some understanding and insight, as well as a possible curiosity to venture off and research on your own.
It’s important to be realistic. If you failed biology three times in both high school and CEGEP, then taking a biology elective alongside four core program courses is probably not a bright idea. However, I think that if it’s feasible, students should stay away from easy and predictable, and grab a spot in a class that sounds interesting, intriguing, and maybe a little bit scary.
That’s just what I think. Who knows, maybe by my last semester in university my growing cynicism will consume me entirely, but for now I am holding onto this idea.