Career, Classes, Student Life, Study

In Which I Freak Out Over Course Selection

I guess you could say I’m a chronic procrastinator.

When my friends were figuring out their courses last month and setting up alternatives, strategic course choices, and treating RateMyProfs like a holy book, I was shifting course selection further down my priority list. It’ll be quick to do – I can do it later became a sort of mantra for me. But this is also when my summer became a lot more packed in my daily schedule, and so courses seemed like something I could keep putting off.

That is, until I got the alert of my start time – which was in less than a week – being in the mid-afternoon. At once, the questions I had delayed answering came popping up immediately to the front of my mind. What am I going to take? What if the course will be full by the time it’s my time to choose? How do I want to schedule my week? Oh crap, did I fulfill that pre-requisite this past year? And the most important questions, Will I have enough time to nap before my evening classes? How far is this classroom to a cafeteria/cheap restaurant on campus so I can satisfy my learning munchies?

It was fair to say that I was, well, freaking out. I’m doing a double major in Political Science and Cinema Studies with a minor in History, and I remembered that in the past two years my film courses usually conflicted a lot with my political science ones. A film course is usually 5 hours a week, with one block being a consecutive 3 hours for screening and the others lecture and tutorial.

Luckily, I had sat myself in a comfy, quiet coffee shop in Kensington Market called FIKA Café, and so showing outward signs of distress would have just been rude. However, inside my brain, I was running over everything in my head twice, thrice, heck, even four times. Where would I start? This confusion had me questioning my skills, questioning my future, questioning my linner plans; the latter being the most devastating at the time. So I sat and thought it through.

I opened up Griddy and Semester.ly, both timetable makers that had their own merits. Griddy let me see both Fall and Winter at the same time, whereas Semester.ly had more colour-coordinated organization for the final schedule. I then opened up the undergraduate courses for each department and spent a couple of hours perusing through them – what did I find interesting or which ones fit in my schedule? More often than I liked, these questions clashed often.

I settled on 7 courses for the year which would amount to 5.5 credits and I have 2 backup courses on standby. It was a hectic experience though, and I do wish I had sat down and figured this all out earlier. A huge issue I encountered was leaning towards courses just to fill spaces — don’t just choose courses that work in a section of your schedule that you’re not interested in. You want courses that will engage you, that will force you to think critically and through different perspectives. Give yourself time to think about what you’re going to take, research who is going to teach you, and ask yourself what do I want to take away from this course?

At the very least, don’t leave course selection until less than a week before your start time. Cancelling plans to get delicious Nando’s Chicken is not worth it.

Albert