Dream scheduling

| Senior Forum Editor
I just finished a course where, after taking the last exam, more than 75 percnt of the class walked out of the classroom without staying to watch the final DVD. I’m sure the extra stress of this final week of classes squashed right next to Thanksgiving had something to do with the mass exodus, but it was also a testament to the way most people felt about the lecture course—it was just another class to check off on the way to a degree. And when I left that class, I have to admit I felt overwhelming relief that next semester I would be able to study material that I was truly interested in and spend my last semester at Wash. U. in an academic haven. But that feeling only lasted a moment. As I contemplated my last semester, I realized it was rife with goals and commitments to achievements other than learning.

There are lots of conflicting goals for every semester. You want to make progress toward your degree and take a schedule that will allow you to challenge yourself, but also schedule a constellation of classes that will allow you to maintain a certain GPA. For me, I’ve been told I need to take an easy course-load my last semester in order to ensure solid grade performance and finish up all of the various minors I’m nearing. I find myself one course away from a Women’s Studies minor and one course away from a Psychology minor and done with my 400-level course requirements. And I’ve decided to take a leap and not care.

I looked through WebSTAC for the first time, asking what I would take if I weren’t trying to achieve anything. I penciled in courses that wouldn’t be prudent to take from the standpoint of protecting my GPA as well as courses that conflicted with the ones I needed to finish up minors. Suddenly the semester started to look really fun and I became more and more excited about it. The more I thought about the engaging schedule I could possibly create for myself, the harder it was to convince myself that any of my other goals for that semester really mattered. I asked myself to seriously think about why I had been working to earn specific minors and what the value of the possible GPA differences might be. For me, neither of those goals could compete with the possibility of my dream schedule. So I dropped all the classes I ought to take and tossed in all the ones my prudent self wouldn’t add. And I’m excited.

Clearly, there are certain goals we all need to meet with our course selection, specifically the goal of graduating. But past that, it’s worth making sure we haven’t added on minors and majors just because it’s become the norm, and being close to completing one of those might not be a good reason to take a class you don’t really care about. So, as you finish up the semester and find yourself in the midst of the heaviest part of your workload, take a moment to reflect on how you’ll feel at this time next semester. If you have a schedule filled with classes that you’ll finish while breathing sighs of relief, it may be worth taking a break to reconsider.

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