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Electives are compulsory courses for all undergraduates, and while some of us may dread filling our timetables with them, this is the time you get to take whatever you choose. While some choose to take the common Gal Pals, Social Media for End Users, or Astronomy, there are so many other courses available that are not advertised. After much sleuthing, I was able to find classes that appealed to me and that I found interesting. So, here are some of my favourite electives from my undergrad.


Culture, Literacy & the Printed Word

This isn’t exactly an elective (well, technically it could be), but this is a third-year history class all about books! Perfect for those interested in learning about how books were first printed and published, this class allows you to do just that. 

Not only did I have the opportunity to examine books from as early as the 1500s, you also get to go on field trips! Yep, field trips in university. We got to look at archives in the US, including the collections at the University of Michigan and the Detroit Public Library, as well as the special collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts. This class does require a bit more work than other electives, but the overall outcome is beneficial and perfect for anyone interested in this subject. 


JWST-2350. To Auschwitz and Beyond: Reflections on the Meaning of the Holocaust

Going into this class, I was not sure how such a difficult subject would be handled in an academic setting. While this is one of the Jewish studies classes, I found it perfect for history majors or those interested in learning more about this time in history. This class covers the multiple concentration camps, the weapons used, the people segregation, and many other areas that are not covered in a normal history class. 


Mentorship & Learning

For specific courses in FAHSS, you may remember having to take a class that had mentors. Well, this is the class that teaches and places those mentors into those classes. I had the opportunity to be placed in the first-year history class, and I got to meet so many amazing people, with both my mentees (the students) and my other fellow mentors. This was definitely my most rewarding class as I had learned how to create specific lesson plans, adapt to students’ abilities, and many other things that I can use in other areas of my schooling.


ENGL-1006. Writing Creatively

I took this class in my first year, and when I did, it was pitched as ‘creative writing for the non-creative writing majors’. While that may be slightly true, I had people from a variety of majors in my class. Anyone interested in creative writing should check out this class. Learning to write creatively is a beneficial skill, and I have found that it has helped in my academic writing as well. Learning to form poetry and short stories from experiences, this makes you understand the breakdown and the thought process that goes into creative writing, and may even shift your interest to the creative writing program (if you are an English major).

Carly Coombe is currently in her last year of Teacher's College for P/J, additionally with an Honour Bachelors Degree in English and History. When she’s not busy balancing school and work, she often volunteers her time as a Girl Guide leader for a local unit or is working on her small business, which has taken off since quarantine. She will always be found with her nose in the latest book, sometimes even ones that have not been published yet. She aspires to earn her TEFL degree and become an English and History high school teacher.
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