A friend of mine was chastised by another in conversation, as he had admitted to skipping class now and again. “You pay for your classes, you know.” His wise response:
“You pay for the chance to take a test.”
Do not skip class, do not only take the tests. But, in theory, he has a point.
So there should be no harm in attending a few lectures in which you are not enrolled, whether to judge your need to take it in the future, to judge its difficulty, or ease (I’m glad I didn’t take CSC104), for interest, personal research, or for inspiration for that ‘Greek Gods in College’* sitcom you’re trying to write.
Check the class size beforehand; usually in the Calendar, sometimes on ROSI.
Uhh, prior to that, check if the class is actually running this year/semester.
A small class means you’re noticed. You may want to introduce yourself to the prof before the class begins, after, or during a break, especially if it’s well into the semester. During the first weeks, you may be on the waitlist for all they know. A giant class in a lecture hall means you’re NOT noticed, clearly. Other students may recognize you’re not in the class, but they look at people funny all the time, regardless. Giant classes also allow you to stealthily sit-in on their lectures more often. Technically, you could go to every lecture… you just won’t get the credit.
The spy class has to fit your schedule, a no-brainer. Conversely, a true nerd can keep note of the classes that don’t; if your enrolled torture time-slot is cancelled, or the fire alarm goes off, you can attend that Beatles course you’ve been coveting. Or sleep. It’s up to you. The smaller the class, the better it is for you to arrive early. You can also ask a student in the class if the prof gives them a break, thus allowing you to leave/enter at that point.
When you sit-in, make sure you minimize your disturbance level, especially in a tiny class. You can never know if crinkly wrappers and/or whispering are tolerated. This also goes back to time; if it’s your first time sneaking in, and you are ten minutes late, the professor might be the type to barbecue you.
NEW150Y1: Introduction to African Studies
SIZE: Big room, non-intimidating amount of students.
NOTABLE-NESS: “Now, I know, I cannot compete with… Barack Obama…”
Eurocentric ideas propelled me to want to attend ‘African Systems of Thought’, but it’s half-over by the time I can go. 🙁 Anyway, this is a course I am considering, but general mistrust of first-year courses (because of the six-course limit, or something) led me to see what it was like first.
In addition to asking friends, taking their words with a grain of salt, and consulting the Anti-Calendar, try to attend classes you are unsure about. You can get an idea of what you will learn, can ask the professor questions, and clear up any doubts you have. It may turn out the course is completely different from what you expected. In mentioning the class and the professor’s last name to Mom, she deduced he may be from my Dad’s hometown, which itself is kinda small, in addition to being in a small country. 😯
I left halfway for the Inauguration, of course.
WGS262Y1: Texts, Theories, Histories
SIZE: Large, unpopulated room.
NOTABLE-NESS: Two of my high-school friends just so happened to be in it, so I had ‘justified’ company. Note: If you attend a friend’s class, be polite and do not make a plethora of noise with them.
Be sure to check if your desired course is cancelled. The list of courses for Women & Gender Studies is heartbreaking. But, this one was not!
Many courses have vague, poetic, rhetorical and potentially misleading names and descriptions. Just because it sounds interesting, doesn’t mean it will be completely riveting for your soul. An example; first-year calculus has an exclamation mark at the end. Because everyone hates it.
“Texts, Theories, Histories” is… vague. But the course seems to be just that, from a feminist/gender-aware perspective. I got a better idea of how these texts were read, analyzed, applied to (or derived into) theories, and related to history! Added Bonus: I felt very at home, ideologically, with the material. After Petrarchan sonnets, Milton’s Eve and other English class/Old World disparities I have to appreciate, it was beyond comforting to hear the professor’s personal and feminist take on the apparently existing X-Files movie, and all the things that were clearly wrong with it. I haven’t seen it, thus, I forget her details, but if you’re looking for an angry Quantum of Solace analysis and rant on the portrayal of the sexual freedom of abuse victims in the media, get at me!
FAH262H1: Art and Visual Experience in Modern and Contemporary East Asia
SIZE: Full lecture, completely obscured…
We all want to be artists. We all want our parents to not-kill us. So, we do not become artists.** Attending this course allowed me to take in the art, and learn of all its historical, ideological, political, national, psychological and other-i-al implications, without the memorization of dates upon dates upon dates! That, and it seems any U of T student can create an account at FADIS, the ‘Fine Art Digital Imaging System’. The usage policy on images is probably restricted, but at least you can enjoy the paintings of Kano Hogai as much as I did.
I still do not know if their syllabus covers manga.
RLG337H1: Witchcraft and Magic in Christian Tradition
SIZE: Very small! Very awkward!
NOTABLE-NESS: The prof’s Doc Martens and the possibly transgender Elagabalus
One figures U of T has courses on everything. But, when one actually sees that this notion is true…(weeps with joy). Because the class was not in a concealing lecture hall, I actually spoke to the professor at the five-minute break. It had turned out they were not covering magic that day, and I had already missed the lectures on non-Western influences! When this happens, the prof may be kind enough to email you the information you desire. So, ask!
I then left because I was starving.
You won’t receive a credit, so lecture-bumming is not ‘stealing’. Take advantage of U of T’s vast, random, and often scarily specific pool of academic knowledge.
[/end bad poetry]