The Freedom to Choose (My Courses)

Category Student Voices


Portrait of Claire
Claire Class of '21 Alumni
Authored on July 23, 2020


This past week the course catalog came out for this year, and to say the least, I didn’t know where to start.

For the past 3 years, the classes I needed to take have been pretty clearly mapped out for me – between the premed requirements, my concentration requirements, my secondary, and the GenEd requirements, my course load didn’t have a lot of wiggle room. This year however, I have only 4 requirements left, with roughly 8 course slots to fill – this is huge! Even within the requirements I have left, they’re more open ended (think "take one of these many classes that will fulfill it" instead of "take this very specific class"), so I have more choices to make than ever before when it comes to what my schedule will be.


Student studying on laptop in library


This is both really exciting, and absolutely terrifying! Coming from someone who has kept a running list of what classes I planned to take and when since freshman year, maybe a little more terrifying. I always start with what I know I need to take, so I’ve decided that I’ll probably finish out 3 of my 4 requirements for the year this semester. Of course, within that, there’s still a lot left to decide – luckily I can spend hours, and yes, I do mean HOURS, browsing the course catalog. I love reading about courses and looking at everything from their description, to the reviews in the Q guide, to any past syllabi I can get my hands on. Now especially, with less guidelines, I easily sunk the better part of 2 days this past week just looking at and thinking about classes I might want to take.

Of course, these efforts have paid off - for anyone wondering, I’m most likely taking a Neuro class on fMRI imaging, an English seminar on racially related court cases in US history, a GenEd ethics course on medicine during times of conflict, and one more class that I still have no clue what it’ll be. I’m definitely trying to use my last 2 semesters to branch out and take some courses I either wouldn’t otherwise or just that I won’t have the chance to explore once I leave college. Because of this, I’m considering taking something kind of out my comfort zone but still within my interests – maybe a HAA (History of Art and Architecture) course, or photography, or a few other options.

Either way, I’m excited to see what the (virtual) semester will hold. Stay tuned for an update on what classes I actually end up taking!


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Claire Class of '21 Alumni

Portrait of Claire