Pretty much everybody at Cal can agree that signing up for classes is a difficult process. Whether that difficulty is caused by the system itself (@calcentral) or the process by which one chooses the classes they want to take is up for interpretation. However, in my personal opinion, I find the latter way more confusing than the former. Every semester I am confronted with what classes to sign up for during phase two (because phase one is set aside for the classes pertaining to my major). Should I take an easy course? Should I take a course that will challenge my views on a certain subject? The questions that go through my head are legitimately endless. However, even when I do narrow down my options and sign up for those two classes that will fill up my schedule, I am often confronted with at least one of three concerning situations.
1. I find the classes more interesting than my “major” classes:
Even though I pretty much know what path I want my life to take, sometimes I will question that path due to how interested I am in a course that has nothing to do with the future that I have planned. Right now, for example, I am currently taking a social psychology course that I find extremely intriguing. I do not plan and have never planned on studying individual behavior for a living. However, now that I have been exposed to certain theories and explanations, I think that studying such behavior would be incredibly fulfilling. For now I comfort myself with the idea that I am just a tourist in the psych major: I see all of the good and none of the bad.
2. I find the classes extremely dull
This situation is stressful in a different way because even if I find the classes boring, I still have to do well in them. This means that I have to engage myself with the class in a unique way. But, more often than not, engaging in the classes in this way actually makes me more interested in the class, which in turn helps me to work harder in the class.
3. I am performing better in my elective classes than my major classes:
This situation is perhaps the most difficult of all. Performing well in a class that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t really matter makes me feel worse about the major that I did choose. If I can perform well in these elective classes but not in my actual major classes, why did I choose that major? Once again, elective classes make me question the validity of my future, which is not a great feeling. But, the point of college is to challenge and push you. How much would you actually learn if you weren’t proven to be wrong once or twice? At least, that’s how I rationalize this situation.
Overall, electives prove again and again to be very dicey. They have to toe the line of being interesting enough to pique your interest but not so interesting that you consider switching your major and easy enough that you do well but not so easy that your grades in major classes fall way short of your grades in your elective classes. With these situations in mind, carefully choose your elective courses for phase two and good luck!