The Dilemma of Class Selection

I believe preparing for this upcoming fall semester has been the most difficult course selection I have ever had to make. I have been torn between a lot of different class options, all of them promising some joyous new intellectual avenue, but I only have space for a few.

I know for certain that I am taking 2 courses in my program. WGST 6601 “Theoretical Approaches to Sexuality”, and WGST 2050 “Introduction to Gay and Lesbian Studies”. 2050 doesn’t directly correspond to a requirement in my program and is in fact an undergraduate course, but it is a course that interests me and Chris is willing to take with me. Beyond these courses, everything else is up in the air because of the fact that my program does not offer a lot of courses each semester, and with my area of gender studies being masculinity, the course selection is even crappier.

I am pretty certain that I am also going to be involved in  SOCY 6895 “Tutorial in Sociology”, which is a directed research and readings course that will allow me to have a certain degree of flexibility in selecting a research topic that interests me and working on developing a certain level of expertise in it. The course is offered by the department of sociology, but I intend to work on a topic that is related to gender studies and tackle it from a sociological perspective. I am enrolled in the 1 credit hour tutorial, so it has a negligible effect on my schedule, while still exposing me to the department and its policies, as well as hopefully making a good impression on the faculty.

The next course space is the one that is a bit flexible. It was my intention to have a course representing each of my potential programs for next year. I intend to apply to the Masters in Sociology and the Masters in Counseling programs. The counseling program offers a certain limited set of courses to students not officially admitted. I am trying to work inside the confines of those limitations. At the moment I have two options. First, an online course, RSCH 6101 “Educational Research Methods” and then second, a seated course, CSLG 6101 “Ethical and Professional Issues in Counseling”. The online course seems like it would be a good alternative to having classes three nights per week, in addition to having to work on my tutorial project.  Online classes can be a lot of work, but usually they have due dates sometime between Friday and Monday, making it not compete for resources with my other classes. Other things that come to mind are the restrictions that another physical class puts on me. That’s another 3 hours that I will have to be in a classroom at a set time, when I would love to keep things more flexible. However, CLSG 6101 is more in the department than the RSCH class, which is merely utilized by counseling, it is taught by the department of educational leadership.

There are other courses that I would love to take, but have no room in my schedule for. PHIL 6050 “Topics in Phil: Social Justice” could have potentially applied to my program, but the course would have been a ton of reading and a level of thinking that I don’t think I am quite prepared for yet. PHIL 6240 “Research Ethics in the Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences” seems like it could have been an interesting course, but it has a lot in common with CSLG 6101, and would not actually apply to my program. The other course I wanted to try, but didn’t see working out was ITCS 5010 “Topics in CS: Computational Photography”. The course title got my attention and the description made me initially register for it, but after careful consideration of the type of work involved in the course, it seems to be something that is very technical and probably not good for my first semester as a graduate student.

I am trying to keep my initial schedule between 9 and 11 credit hours. I know in undergrad I could do 18-21 hours without blinking, but these courses will mostly be in person, meaning they will take up more time and are less flexible and less forgiving. Also, these courses will likely be much more challenging. I want to be challenged, but I don’t presently feel like I can safely do 12-15 credit hours of graduate work, since I don’t know what I am getting myself into yet. In November when spring registration opens I will have a better idea of what the courses are like and what my capabilities are. I may find it easy enough to do 12-15 hours (in which case, I will do my best to seek dual-degree status in SOCY and CSLG), but at the moment I am not that optimistic.

I didn’t enjoy my undergraduate life too much, I spent most of it being shy and not really getting involved in the campus. For some reason now I am very enthusiastic, looking forward to meeting people in my classes and I want to be involved on campus. Doing this will also take time that I would normally have for focusing entirely on class work.