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Back to School, Stuck Between Two Classes


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It’s hard to decide what you want to get sometimes, isn’t it? (Cartoon Stock image)

It’s back to college classes for me, and it has been a healthy dose of a new building, familiar faces, and interesting insights. With only six units on my belt, it becomes a decision of which classes I need to take immediately versus those I can put up with later on. What makes it more difficult is that several scenarios are in place that could constrain my class choices even further, including:

  • An interview delay that could cost my potential seat at an important seminar;
  • A very limited number of two-unit offerings available at the university;
  • An enrollment that came in so late that the classes I need (and want) have no more space; and
  • A need to fill in a vital component needed for my graduation.

Initially, my top choice was to take an internship seminar–which, by the way, I attended but did not enroll last semester–and work at a company in San Francisco. However, there are two drawbacks to this plan: one is that I haven’t gotten into some of the agencies I applied for because one of their requirements for a student to become an intern is that he or she is a graduate student, which I’m not. I know I may be thinking bigger than myself, but, at least I tried putting my feet on their doors. The other concern is that once I book for the internship class (four units total), I will only have room for one class worth two units, which I mentioned earlier is very limited and may not necessarily be the class I need for my major. With those in mind, I browsed through my university’s class schedule list, along with checking my progress report and bulletin, and came out with two classes that I thought would be interesting: Human Sexuality and Music, The Listener’s Art. I will break down those two classes according to what I saw in the class description, as well as weighing in the pros and cons for both.

Biology 322: Human Sexuality
– Meets Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays from 9:10 to 10am
– Meets Lifelong Development (LLD) requirement needed for graduation
– A class that explores the symbiotic relationships between biology and society throughout the life cycle, as well as discussing the challenges associated with human sexuality and the tools for dealing with them
Pros:
– Knowledgeable professor who provides adequate class activities, discusses sexual issues clearly and in detail
– Alerts students in advance when explicit media (film, photos) will be shown in class
– Provides attendance through iClicker, a device that is also used to make choices when the professor posts questions on a slide
Cons:
– Early morning start means I need to leave home at 7:10am to get to school
– iLearn experience needed (I know this stuff, but many students may not) since quizzes and homework will be posted there
– Watching or viewing explicit media can be of concern because it may cause students to get “aroused” as the professor explained
Music 501: Music, The Listener’s Art
– Meets Mondays & Wednesdays from 2:10 to 3:25pm
– Meets Lifelong Development (LLD) requirement needed for graduation
– A class that describes music literature in historical and cultural contexts, as well as providing skills and techniques for analytical listening

Pros:
– Enjoyable professor who likes describing his travels, knowledge about playing violins, even flying airplanes
– Expected from him would be watching two concerts and writing a report on them, which would be easy
– Late start means I don’t need to leave my place until lunchtime
– Class meets twice a week, meaning I save some commute money
Cons:
– Once I get an internship in San Francisco, overall schedule may be impacted by this class since I usually work all day
– Can become boring if not a lot of students participate

As I continued my quest for what classes I want to take, I suddenly stumbled upon one of the many billboards a program at the university is offering, saying “Give back to your community, and you can earn 3 to 6 units for doing it.” That harked me back to the days I was volunteering as a tutor for middle and high school students in San Rafael, in which I have fond memories of helping struggling students succeed in school. The program, called the Community Involvement Center, has been very welcoming and accommodated me very quickly into thinking that I want to return to volunteering;  this time, however, I will get credits and I will work on campus. Sounds great, right?

Not really, as I needed to sign an endless number of forms, many of them having strange redundancies (I wonder why I needed to write both my real name and nickname on several of those, but I didn’t mind) and policies I thought were quite intriguing (“the seminars [will be of] unusual and intense in nature”).

So as I got deeper into the process of being a volunteer at the CIC (and eventually enrolled for it), I read through the center’s list of agencies with various locations, from Santa Rosa to San Jose, and I found one particular agency that immediately stroke my chord and reminded me of a friend I’ve worked with before: it’s called Project Rebound, under the Associated Students, Inc. of San Francisco State University, and I already got to know the director of the agency, who’s a really cool and open-minded person. I told him about my tutoring skills for math, and he immediately put me to work starting next week… great news for me since last semester, only two students provided tutoring for math, particularly statistics, leaving many students who need algebra help behind.

And, I have basically decided on what to take between the two choices since I had a heart-to-heart (albeit heated) discussion: I’ll take the Music class over the Biology class. Not only I’ll save a day’s worth of commuting, it will also allow me to do my errands in the morning. Although I’m planning to take another internship in the process, my schedule is pretty much set for the rest of the semester; it’s just that I need to be flexible whenever necessary so that I can fulfill both my volunteer work and internship (if I get it) at the same time. Cheers to Spring 2012, and I’ll work my very best.

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