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Decisions, Decisions - Picking Classes

Alumna Perspective - Carly Leff

Picking classes, especially freshman year is tough. You want to have a good schedule time-wise, you want to take classes you are interested in, you want to fulfill some requirements, and you want to make sure the teachers you are planning on taking are generally liked and respected. Trying to find classes that fit all this criteria can drive people insane. Many students deal with this by trying out as many classes as possible during the first two weeks of the class when students are allowed to merely sit in and then decide to take the class or drop it. My advice, don't sit in on more than two classes. If you spend so much time and energy sitting in on classes you will not only be behind in the actual classes you are taking, but you will be overwhelmed by all the possibility. Some classes will hit certain criteria but not others, and you will end up feeling overworked within the first two weeks of school.

The way I chose my classes freshman year was by taking one or two classes a semester that I thought sounded interesting. For example, my first semester of school I took a general anthropology class at Columbia to get a background in the subject. I barely knew what anthropology was, but I had heard it was a mix of psychology and science. Though it's kind of scary to take a class that you have no background in, I ended up choosing anthropology as one of my majors.

It was great to be able to focus on an area just because it interested me and not necessarily because I wanted to pursue it professionally or otherwise.

Now I know a bit about the field, and it was all because I chose a class that sounded interesting. Don't stress too much, whatever class you find yourself in will have some redeeming quality. And if not....there's always next semester.