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The Catalogue's Most Popular Course: Confusion


As the Faculty recognized repeatedly during its debates on the core curriculum proposal last semester, the course catalogue can be a confusing piece of literature. The courses offered here cover a mind-boggling range, from "Elementary Akkadian" (Akkadian 230) to the "Social and Historical Aspects of Cruelty" (Sociology 152).

The range problem is often compounded by an additional complication, which the Faculty did not discuss last spring. Somehow, an impressive number of courses listed each year in the course catalogue appear inside brackets, which means they will be given next year--by which time you will have forgotten they exist. That's one of the drawbacks of learning from a faculty that has to take time off for research, it seems.

Everyone here comes up with their own ways of dealing with the chaos. One senior in Dunster House said yesterday she tears pages out of the course catalogue and throws them down the stairs, looking only at those that land on alternate steps. A Lowell House junior said he simply follows the crowds. Yesterday he wandered into Astro 8, "Cosmic Evolution," along with another 400 or so spacey folks, and fell in love with the music-and-slide presentation--although he says he isn't interested in stars at all. Another senior could not be reached for comment yesterday, because--as has been his wont for the last two years--he plans to stay home until next Tuesday. The ambitious fellow will then fill in his study card by asking other students in the Mem Hall line which courses they plan to take.

But for most people, there are two real theories of course-choosing. You can go with the liberal-arts look, in which case you try to sample every discipline under the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Or you can take a pre-professional route, finding all the courses in various departments that seem likely to give background for a needed career. Pre-law types, for instance, can take courses like "The American Lawyer" (History 1682), "Law and the Social Order" (Soc Sci 158), or "Thinking Like a Lawyer," (Dudley 108). Sounds like fun, eh?

Still, not quite everyone is prelaw or premed, and not all paths to a professional career are as clearly marked as those two fields. Say, for instance, you want to become a lumberjack. It isn't as easy to decide which courses to take here as you might thing. So, for the would-be lumberjacks among us, we have compiled a list of courses you should think about taking while you're here:

Bio 101, "Trees, Forests, and Man," alias the Three Musketeers.

Bio S-146, "Plants in Relation to Their Environment," oh, sorry--only offered in the summer. Also known as "Learning to Live With a Deciduous Roommate."

Bio 161, "Environmental Physiology." Technical stuff...and it's only given in the spring.

Bio 165, "Plant Growth and Development." Prerequisite, Bio 11. From seedling, to sapling, to adult tree.

Bio 298, "Soil, Land and the Human Environment." Nope, not offered this year.

Bio 299r, "Forest Practice and Research"--offered daily, "at the pleasure of the instructors."

Soc Sci 160, "Non-Verbal Communication," is not offered this year. Clearly, though, it's a must for lumberjacks who want to be able to communicate with nature.

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