The school year is officially here! Whether you’re excited or not, it’s time to tackle this year’s course load. This first week of classes, I’ll be doing something I always do— course shopping! For me, I usually have one or two spots in my timetable which I’m not sure how I want to fill. Course shopping is a great solution if you don’t know exactly what to take.
To course shop, I’ll sign up for six classes per term (even though I intend to only take five), and write down the names of other classes I want to visit. I’ll then go to multiple classes in the first week of school and choose which ones I actually want to take.
So why do I like course shopping so much? First of all, it really helps me engage with the courses available at U of T. Instead of just making the obvious choices when it comes to courses, I’ll look at courses from multiple different departments and write down anything that interests me or would be beneficial to my degree.
The experience of going to a course and sitting in on the first day can also be super interesting. I often find it hard to tell what a course is going to be like from its description. Sometimes the descriptions are pretty vague, or sometimes there’ll be a new prof who’s teaching the course in a completely different way. Because of this, I never really know what I’m going to get until the first day of class.
Sitting in on a course can also be a great opportunity to try something completely new. In fact, sitting in on a course actually made me change my major. In my second year of university, I was shopping for courses and decided to sit in on an intro class in the Sexual Diversity Studies Department- SDS256. I didn’t think I would particularly like the class, but after the first class, I realized I liked the professor and the way he taught so much that I absolutely had to take the course.
Fast forward to the end of the year, I enjoyed SDS256 so much that I decided to register for an SDS major; it was my favourite class that I had ever taken at U of T. I’m so glad that I decided to sit in on this class and see what it was like, especially because it didn’t seem that interesting from the course description.
So, shopping for courses is my best trick to make sure I have a schedule that I truly enjoy. This week, I’m going to go to 8 classes, which sounds crazy, but by the end of the week I’ll know exactly what I want to take for the rest of the term.
Whether you’re an avid course shopper, or you have it all planned out already, I hope you have an excellent first week of school!