I'm jumping on the "my classes!" bandwagon! (albeit two weeks late). I also apologise for my long, long absence from blogging - I don't really have a good excuse, except that I've long thought that "we are oberlin. procrastinators." fits Oberlin a tiny bit better than "fearless." Anyway, I'm back and here to stay!
Until this semester, I have never shopped for classes. I've always gotten into the classes that I want with pretty much no trouble (taking a lot of mathematics and computer science helps). I didn't understand why everyone always made such a huge deal about Add/Drop (the one and a half week after classes start that you can add or drop classes). Now I do.
I started this semester off registered for German 102, Mathematical Logic, Group Theory, Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology and two athletics courses: Racquetball for the first module (until spring break) and Women's Strength Training for the second. I was pretty excited about all of them, but then a few days before the second semester started back up, I went to look at my textbooks online. (You can do that on the Oberlin Bookstore's website - just select your classes, and it'll pop up what textbooks you need and how much they are. It's cool.) Anyway, I discovered that my linguistic anthropology class seemed to be (surprise!) more about how people used language than how language was structured. I also discovered a class in the Religion department called "Ancient Mystery Cults," which sounded really cool. Also, I'm one class away from a Religion Minor.
Now, I've never had trouble getting into a class. So I drop Linguistic Anthropology from my schedule and try to add Ancient Mystery Cults, piece of cake, right? No. I need instructor's consent for Ancient Mystery Cults. I then figured I had to show up to the first class, and then the professor would let me in. Everyone talks about how they do that. So I attended the first class, and it was awesome. However, the waiting list for the class was a mile long and I wasn't even on it. For some reason, I'd failed to consider the possibility of a waiting list. What could I do now? Why did I drop Linguistic Anthropology so hastily?
I didn't have time to figure it out, because I had to eat a quick lunch and rush to Racquetball. This was easily my most intimidating class. I'd never set foot in the gym in my life, except to see OCircus, and I'd never played any sort of sport. I remembered to take trackpants, but I completely forgot that I needed proper athletic shoes and not snow boots. (Yes, I'm a nerd.) I ended up pairing with a very nice sophomore that taught me how to play. I could serve pretty well, but I can't volley to save my life. My hand-eye coordination is terrible. It was a lot of fun, though.
After much soul-searching, I realized that I was actually signed up for 12 credits of classes, including the two athletics courses. Maybe I'd take a light semester. I could certainly afford to - I've never taken less than a full load - I did some quick calculations. I could sign up for an ExCo (or ten), keep up with my five jobs (yes, I'm insane), practice my German, and maybe even have some free time! I was terrified by the idea of taking only three classes, but it seemed good from a practical standpoint.
My story doesn't end yet. The ExCo Fair happened, and I ended up signing up for about fifteen ExCos (as usual), and put off the decision until later. I was trying to choose between Combat Robots, Card Tricks, Documentaries in China, Japanese Post-War Film, Women's Self Defense, Go, and Star Trek. Among others. I'll cut the descriptions of the agonizing decision-making process - I'm taking Star Trek for one credit, and also trying to learn Go (although not in the ExCo). I'm also going to stop by Javanese Gamelan (which I took last semester) and play with the current ExCo students sometimes.
Although I was a little uneasy with this schedule (only three real classes!), I figured it was all for the best. Then, on the day before Add/Drop ended, I went in to work at the CIT Help Desk (we fix your computers!), and had the usual beginning-of-semester conversation ("How was Winter Term? What classes are you in?") with my co-worker and fellow computer science major, Gabe. It turned out that he'd also dropped Linguistic Anthropology for similar reasons, completely independent of me, and he'd signed up for a computer science class called "Mind and Machine" that he hadn't gone to yet.
Mind and Machine? Sounded great. Since this seemed to be the semester of impulsive scheduling, I signed up pretty much immediately for the class. It's worth it. We're building robots and trying to make them sentient, while talking about neuroscience, consciousness, and philosophy (of mind and machine, as the name would suggest). Robots and programming! YES. Oh, and I dropped the athletics courses because ... I'm lazy?
So now I have four classes (German 102, Mathematical Logic, Group Theory, and Mind & Machine), one exco (Star Trek), two auditing-excos (Go and Javanese Gamelan), and five jobs (blogger, web developer, technology consultant, website manager, web developer). Wish me luck.