Course Selection As A Second Class Student / by Simmon Li

Ahh, that time of year. Music students, like myself, only get to access courses in the Arts and Science faculty in the second round of course selection. By this time, a majority of the courses are filled by arts and science students. It makes sense, but it doesn't mean I like it. Anyway, I managed to juggle my degree plan around based on the reality of being crowded out of the classes I want, and well, it changes the path of my degree a little, at least in terms of meeting the new breadth requirements for honours BA degrees. So here's the frustrating thing: A lot of courses list their BR's as "TBA". Like I'm supposed to take a chance on how the registrar labels a course. I get the breadth requirement, and I think it makes for well rounded degrees. I'm going after a specialist Political Science (that's the plan), so I've built my whole degree plan around taking out all my breadth requirements in the first two years of my degree, but I'm hitting a little hitch in that there's no easy way for us, as students, to know the breadth category of a course unless we scan through the whole damn calendar. It makes it frustrating. I wish UToronto would put the course listing in a database so that we could search through it by Dept, BR, Course type (full or half), semester, or perhaps even day of the week. I know we did this in that CSC108 course that I took, and while I failed at the assignment, someone much more capable is certainly able to handle it. I think it would reduce the grief and stress for students a lot.

Anyway, all that frustration aside, I am happy to have sorted out my courses for this year. I didn't get the courses I originally wanted (I'm on the waiting list for three of the ones I really want), I have managed to avert crisis by shuffling a few credits around. Instead of taking POL200 to transfer, I'm now taking POL208, and saving POL200 for my 'actual' second year. No biggie. The part that's gotten a little screwy now is my breath requirement for the degree. Instead of doing 1.0 Full Credit Equivalents (FCE) in 4 of the 5 breadth categories, I am now doing 1.0 FCE in 3/5 of the categories and doing 0.5 FCE in the other two. Both ways satisfy the university as far as breadth is concerned. The problem is, I'm not able to find a lot of the BR category 2 courses. Philosophy is in BR2, but I'm unable to find any others that I have any interest at all in taking. Maybe if I could list all the BR2 courses, something interesting may pop up, but until then I will just wallow in disappointment and do it another time.

It was a fun morning, and it makes me very happy to be able to shuffle some courses and still get what I want (for the most part) done. The courses I ended up getting into still seem interesting to me, but not quite as relevant to the POL degree as I would have liked. PHL100 (Intro Philosophy) and ECO105 (Economics for non-specialists) would have been more helpful than NMC101 (Ancient Near East) and ANT100 (Intro Anthropology). Alas, such is life, no sense crying over spilt milk. On the upside, I am now taking POL208 (Intro International Relations) instead of POL200 (Political Theory). While I would love to have taken POL200, I'm not exactly bent out of shape that I now "have" to take POL208 instead. I'm pretty stoked, actually.

So we'll see how it goes. If I get into PHL or ECO, but not the other, it will seriously make me cry because I'd have to re-balance my credits to fulfil the BR requirements. I am hoping to take just 1.0 FCE of 100 level courses in my second year to fulfil my breadth requirements, but one can never be too hopeful. By then, I hope to be an actual Arts and Science Faculty student, so I will get a better chance at the high-demand courses.