Oberlin Blogs

Course selection?

February 13, 2011

Chinwe Okona ’13

Apparently, a large part of taking classes in college is having the ability to choose which classes you think are the most interesting or will contribute the most to your very expensive education. As a science major and a pre-medical student, I would say this is a luxury I do not possess.

For those of you unfamiliar with medical school, as an undergraduate student you can major in whatever you would like as long as you complete two years of chemistry, one year of biology, one year of physics, one year of math (including calculus), one year of English and take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT!). Some medical schools recommend that you take biochemistry or only require you to take half a year of English, etc., but generally, they follow these requirements.

So yeah, currently I'm working on all that, in addition to fulfilling the requirements of my major. Therefore, my course selection process is pretty much that, I look to see which ones of all my required courses are being offered during the upcoming semester and I fit as many of those courses into my schedule as humanly possible.

I'm sure to some people this sounds like a terrible existence, but frankly I think it's great. I never have to comb through the course catalog, reading class descriptions, trying to sign up for whichever ones sound the most interesting. In addition, I never face the disappointment of attending a class during the first week of classes, realizing it's not as interesting as the course summary swears, and scrambling to find a better class before add/drop ends. Point blank, I have my one million requirements and all I have to do is take them.

Although I've mostly taken science classes here at Oberlin, the general distribution requirements here force students to experience classes and learn in other departments. Not just to fill general distribution requirements, but also because I've wanted to learn the language for so long, I've taken a Spanish course every semester thus far at Oberlin. I had hoped to minor in Hispanic Studies, but I'm afraid it probably won't happen considering this semester will be the last semester I'll be able to take Spanish for awhile (maybe even the rest of my entire undergraduate career =/) due to the upcoming year of MCAT-insanity. However, I've learned SO much and am very glad I decided to explore the department.

So what am I taking this semester?:

Organic Chemistry - required for my major, as well as for medical school. Truth be told, I'm probably most excited for this class this semester. It's going to be extremely difficult, but it's those things that are the most difficult that pay off the most in the end...right?

Genetics, Evolution, and Ecology - biology course, NOT REQUIRED. I'm actually taking this course because I want to learn! Go me.

Intermediate Spanish II - Perhaps my last Spanish course for awhile, so I'm trying to get the most out of the language this semester. My professor is extremely enthusiastic, so the fact that it's at 9 am is almost completely forgivable.

I did sign up for an Exco this semester (Ma'ayan's Exco!), but I didn't get in (proof that she doesn't play favorites haha). It would have been nice to do something different since I have a little more time this semester than usual, but I'm not too bummed out. I definitely feel like I need to take an Exco before I graduate, but I'm sure I'll enjoy it more later when I'm not so pressed for time.

As you can probably tell, my class schedule isn't too heavy (even though I'll be putting in a lot of hours in the library; I even got a carrel in the science library!), so it'll be interesting to see what hobbies and pastimes will arise. Stay tuned!

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