September 23, 2012

O-Issue 2012: Classes

You won’t get into “Health Care and the Limits of State Action” (TR 1:30-2:50). You can try for “Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago and Beyond” (TR 3:00-4:20), but let’s be real—don’t waste the bid. For those sufficiently inculcated in the hallowed headiness of nerdom, the choice of classes can be excruciating. It is a finite system. To choose one is not to choose others. So what do you do?

At least there’s the Core. Though at times it may feel as if the Core is robbing you of precious time in your academic schedule—try Core Biology during Winter Quarter and see if I’m wrong—the structure it provides can be grounding. Choosing between Core sequences provides its own challenges, but I promise it is a relief to at least know you’ll be taking Hum and maybe a science or two and then building up from there.

Though I am still working through this myself, allow me to portend a few alms of friendly advice:

Shop around. Pink slip period can be exciting (yes, exciting). Even if you think you’re happy with your schedule, sit in on a few extra classes your first week. Though pink-slipping may sound somewhat intimidating and that “CONSENT REQUIRED” label on Time Schedules turns you off, for the most part professors tend to bark louder than the plaid-clad dachshund pups they usually are. It’s always worth trying.

Take electives. The Core isn’t going anywhere. Despite the structure it provides, having to take classes you don’t really get to choose can sometimes be a real downer and seriously curtail your productivity. So save a Core class for second year and take an interesting elective. I hear Econ 198 is not so bad.

Don’t be afraid to take three classes. When the problem is that there are too many classes, this seems like the worst possible solution. But look, you are not going to take all the classes you might want to anyway. Taking only three gives you the time to really commit yourself to the ones you are taking, to invest your time in extracurriculars, or to work on that peace of mind which will be useful later on. Don’t let anyone call you a slacker for that.

You can realistically take as many as 48 or as few as 36 classes in your time at the U of C. Only 9-15 of these will be Core classes, depending on your AP/IB credentials. The rest are up to you and how often you change your major. But really, chances are, no matter what, you will only remember a few of them. So choose wisely, and happy picking.