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FCs or ‘Failure to comply results in suspension of degree’ (may have added a few more letters but let’s just agree on letting it go) OR Why FCs Suck

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Edited by: Lavanya Goswami

Don’t worry! This isn’t going to be a listicle. Not that there’s anything wrong with listicles but I’m not the best at compartmentalizing, so we’ll just be going the ‘ol’ five paragraphs filled with more run-on sentences than you can count’ route. Hopefully, it’ll be fun and even if it’s not, hey…at least we can agree that Foundation Courses suck.

I’m pretty sure it’s that time of the semester when everyone is either lamenting or celebrating over the number of FCs they have. Bit of a sore topic, isn’t it? I’m sure you remember. I surely do — the numerous emails, google forms and petitions passed around to reduce the number of FCs that one has to complete in their UG years, but to no avail. The utter horror at the prospect of having to complete nine entire compulsory courses, half of which, most of us have zero interest in.

I remember coming to Ashoka, hoping to finish the semester with a few FCs and then going on into the subject that I wanted to major in: which at the time was English Lit, and sure, my preferences changed and so did my major, but the number of FCs plaguing us poor folk certainly did not.

And therein lies my first and foremost problem with FCs (not a listicle)—it just seems unnecessary to make it compulsory for everyone, especially people who come in with a solid, clear-cut plan as to what they want to do—what they want to major in and what courses they want to take. Not only does it take away valuable time, sometimes, it also affects one’s overall CGPA, because not everyone is good at everything—in fact, most people aren’t. Who cares if an English Major got a ‘D’ in a Math FC,? they’re never going to deal with college level math in their life anyway! It just interferes with what they want to do. Besides, most people study all the basic subjects until tenth grade anyway. By the time college rolls around, most people have already decided what they want to do and be. The prospect of a holistic education seems fresh and idealistic and stimulating, right until it interferes with the real career goals of students within the institution. 

Right. Got a little serious there, time to dial it back.

Speaking of nightmares and Math…what’s the difference between QRMT and POS anyway? As far as I’m concerned, Mathematics is the foundation of all sciences, which makes it a science, which makes one of these two courses redundant. Okay, so perhaps I’m being overly reductive, but for humanities kids, through and through—who come to college to escape the prospect of Math (and science), this is an inconvenient nightmare. Well, nightmares are always inconvenient, but they disappear when you wake up. Principles of Science with Prof. ABC is right there waiting for you at 8:30 am with slides full of things you can’t even begin to understand.

Don’t worry, I’ve got something for the STEM kids as well! Treasured minority that you are — sure thought you’d gotten rid of SST, right? And then Boom–EPS, Indian Civ, Great Books, ICT, Mind and Behaviour, etc etc etc. And I know for a fact that everyone hates EPS, except the people who take Prof. except the people who take Prof. D–[Redacted]’s course. (Ah. Technically can’t say that; need to be artfully subtle and also other things like not being a headache to my editor, but if you know you know. And if want to know…just ask any non-first year.) And Thank me later!

Oh and what about FCs that refuse to act like FCs — in that, what do you mean you’re gonna be grading us strictly and there are only two absences allowed? This is a foundation course…I don’t necessarily want to be here, I’m forced to…required to. And quite frankly, the only real reason I’m here is because one of two things (still not a listicle!)—

-my best friend and I decided to bite the bullet together because everyone knows that misery loves company and pain tolerance is directly proportional to the number of people you share said pain with and bitching about class readings always allows for a good bonding session.

-the only other FC offered was an 8:30 class and or clashing with the timings of my *cough* Real courses *cough*.

You’re probably wondering by now, whether this article is just going to be a rant or do I seek to propose some actual solutions. Or maybe, you’re really enjoying the rant and want me to continue. Well if you’re the former, you’re in for a treat, because I do. (And if you’re the latter, you’re gonna have to wait a few more weeks I’m afraid). I don’t think FCs should be compulsory. Sure, they help some people figure out what subjects they like and don’t like, and what they might want to pursue—me being one of the students. But students who have a plan should also be taken into account. Students who want to explore and take all 9 FCs can do so, but students who don’t…should be allowed to be let off with maybe five. It’s hard to fit so many courses within just three years, especially with a course load cap, this isn’t news. Making the FC system optional, or at least reducing the number of compulsory FCs would really help accommodate a great many students better. See, this way, you don’t even have to permanently do away with all the FCs, because I’m sure there are a few confused, wandering souls who’ll probably take every FC to have full confidence in their chosen major, and the people who have predetermined majors are happy as well. 

Everyone’s happy and don’t we all like happy endings? (Except perhaps best-selling YA author Veronica Roth but I digress.)

In all honesty, neither the rant nor the proposed solution is truly going to change anything, seeing as the plethora of google forms, signatures and emails didn’t–so I guess the best way to to end is with an ‘all the best’, a’ belated happy new year’ and a very ‘merry may you finish all your FCs by fifth sem’.

Shreya Suhani, writer, poet and recent addition to Her Ashoka. Enjoys coffee, poems, women and cynicism, although what can you expect of a prospective Phil major.
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