I’ve never been much of a shopper. Instead, I’m an avid pre-shopper. The weeks before classes begin, I score Yale Course Search (RIP Bluebook) and CourseTable with a fervid intensity and attention I wish I could translate to my assigned readings during the semester. From this frenzied search, I usually pinpoint about seven or eight classes to try, then narrow that list down to four or five classes relatively easily once shopping period rolls around. While this strategy makes for a more relaxed shopping period, it doesn’t necessarily make for a better semester.
Last spring, I landed myself in the worst class of my entire college career. I had pre-shopped the course extensively, reading the syllabus over and over again and Googling the professor. It sounded interesting. Not perfect, but interesting. When I sat down in class on the first day, it was simply really bad. For one, I was the only girl in the seminar. Yes, my friends, the sole female human being. Second, the conversation was undeniably dry from the first moment. It wasn’t my kind of environment, yet I didn’t want to try to find another course so late in shopping period.
Instead of running for my life, I decided to stick around because it’ll definitely get better as time progresses!!! It definitely did not. It, in fact, got worse. Throughout the semester, I hated this course. H-A-T-E-D. Never in my elementary/middle school/high school/college career have I felt such passionate displeasure toward an hour and fifty minute class. The worst part was that the class wasn’t even required for my major. I wasted a spot that could have been dedicated to something exploratory, fun, and unique. College is supposed to be interesting and useful, and this class was neither of those things.
So many of us are stuck in a “grin and bear it” kind of mindset when it comes to taking classes. I’ll get through it, we tell ourselves while crying over a reading or a p-set the night before it’s due. My advice to myself from that semester forward: shop selfishly! I beg all of you to do the same.
If a class that isn’t required for your major doesn’t spark joy or academic intrigue within your soul on the first day, don’t take it. Don’t carry on with the idea that it’ll get better. Find something else, and be happy. Even if it’s late in the game, there is ALWAYS something else.
Shop selfishly, ladies. You deserve a schedule YOU love.