Ask A Fifth-Year: Classes

Jacob Horn

Dear Jacob,

 I’m registering for classes for next year, and I have some openings. Do you have any recommendations?


Classless Clown

Well, Classless, I don’t have the same worries as you do. I don’t even know what’s being offered next year.

I definitely don’t encourage you to take a class that you’ll consider a “blow-off” class. If you have that kind of money to throw around on classes that you neither need nor have any interest in taking, I recommend that you waste that cash on other ventures. Like giving me money to take useless classes.

Obviously, I recommend knocking your gen eds out as early as possible to make room for whatever else you want or need to take later on. Otherwise, you’ll end up like that fifth-year student whose only required classes his last year involve the Spanish sequence to fulfill his foreign language requirement. I have no idea to whom I could possibly be referring.

If you have all of your gen eds and required classes taken care of, I highly recommend taking a class outside of your comfort zone. Hate science? Take Introduction to physics just to test yourself.

Don’t like economics? Find an interesting intro class like Entrepreneurship in the Arts and Society. Confused by philosophy? Well, so am I. That’s why I avoided that department like the plague.

I decided to take Introduction to Computer Sciences once during my junior year. My science gen ed requirement was already fulfilled with a biology class the year before. I had no previous programming history to speak of and no real desire to get into the software building field. This was reason enough for me to take the class.

It started off easy enough, assigning values to variables and creating sets and loops, but as the class progressed I found myself struggling with the most basic assignments. The final was to build a program that simulated a tic-tac-toe game. Needless to say, I didn’t come close to accomplishing this task.

I considered it a victory whenever my computer yelled at me less each time I screwed up the code. This shouldn’t deter you from taking a challenging class in the hopes that it will provide a learning experience, but be prepared to leave a learning experience without learning a thing.

Another class that I didn’t need to take that I took anyway was Warfare in Classical Antiquity. It was a wonderful examination of the creation of basic military strategies that are still used today — attacking from the higher ground, pincer movements, etc. — and touched on the history of the ancient Greeks who practiced these techniques.

The only negative aspect was I enrolled after the movie “300” was released, so after every battle was described, someone would always pipe up with “I remember that!”

Really, you should take anything and everything that you can while you’re at Lawrence. There are not going to be many opportunities for you to study post-Soviet Union literature or nutritional anthropology. You’re supposed to be learning something while you’re here. Better make use of your time.

If you’re looking for a lecture on how to spend your own time and money, email me the appropriate subject at