[Editors’ Note: This piece originally ran in our April 12 issue, around the time the course catalog for the fall semester was issued. It’s written for the uncertain upperclassman, but as you start poring through the course catalog in anticipation of freshman registration, you might find its advice useful. To make a handy schedule gWraphic of your own, go to ice.tigerapps.org.]
We have three full weeks left before the end of classes. In these next three weeks there will be papers, two weekends of prefrosh visiting, beautiful spring weather, Lawnparties and fall class selection. With so many things going on, who honestly has time to pour through classes for next fall, laboriously coordinate times and prerequisites and find the best lecturers? And all for classes we won’t even start for another four months? If you want to avoid all of this additional work, take the following quiz and discover your fall schedule!
You are in the dining hall and have finished all of the food on your plate, but you’re still hungry. You:
A: Ask around the table to find out what was particularly good on your friends’ plates. Based on others’ suggestions and the pitches they made for their particular choices, you make your own executive decision.
B: Go back and grab some of the dish off to the side of the buffet table — maybe it’s vegan or questionable-looking or not right in line of sight of the masses. But no matter what it is, you go for the dish less eaten.
C: Don’t have an exact craving, so you wander through the dining hall looking at everything — maybe you head for a second taco, but on your way you see the frozen yogurt machine and grab a little bowl, but you still want a taco because it was your original intent and it will be more filling. On your journey back to the table, you pass the cereal, and cereal is always such a good fallback just in case the other options don’t turn out so great in the long run. So you have a bowl of cereal too.
D: Yeah, you are hungry, but there are over a million kids starving in the world. Not just in far-away countries, but right here in the United States, and you couldn’t possibly go back for a second helping knowing they are not getting enough nourishment for their growing bodies. That gets you thinking about a potential group you could start on campus, which could promote a campus-wide movement against second helpings and all the food people throw away. And this isn’t even taking into account all the water and energy something like this could save. By the time you leave the dining hall to walk to your Anti-Animal Cruelty Without Borders meeting you have a name for your new club, three different potential events and a design idea for the T-shirts. However, you are still hungry.
TYPE A: Straight to the top
If you answered A, you are a straight-to-the-top kind of person. It is all about the networking, and what better place to do that than at Princeton? In order to achieve your rigorous five-year plan, you need the classes that will teach you all of the necessary skills to be a future CEO.
ECO 468: Behavioral Finance. This class delves into the psychology behind economics, and the class will learn through “lectures and class games.” After all, the path to the top is all about playing the game.
POL 416: Moral Conflicts in Public and Private Life. It’s a fine line between what is legitimately public and what is private — you are going to want to know where it is before you land on the cover of Fortune.
MUS 225: The Symphony from Haydn to Stravinsky. This is your ticket to rubbing elbows with some of the finest. Remember one impressive fact, and you are cultured and knowledgeable and worthy of those balcony seats you will occupy.
CHI 101: Elementary Chinese I. You know why. Better start on those character flash cards now ...
TYPE B: The Obscurist
If you answered B, you are the Obscurist. Those articles in the middle pages of The New York Times — yeah, you read them, but only when you finish the Bolivian and Lithuanian newspapers early. People walk away from conversations with you slightly bewildered but in awe of your incredible fascination and knowledge of only the most obscure topics.
SLA 517: Russian Short Prose: Chekhov. You know there is nothing quite like Russian prose, and while Chekhov is mainstream, the seven-person class limit is very appealing.
AOS 578: Chemical Oceanography. Because chemistry and oceanography were far too broad and applicable on their own.
ENG 314: The Medieval Romance: Writing Sex and Death. Two key topics in current society, so naturally you want to be well informed of their bearing and representation in society 1,000 years ago.
ART 469: Maya Painting. You have always wanted to be able to analyze and decrypt ancient cave drawing and hieroglyphics (NOT EGYPTIAN). The class recommends knowing Spanish, but you are pretty much fluent in Quechua so maybe they’ll let it slide.
TYPE C: “Well-rounded”
If you answered C, most of your conversations start with, “Hi! I am a Comp Lit major, but don’t worry, I’m also pre-med and getting certificates in Applications of Computing and Geological Engineering. So I’m kind of all over the place.” [Cue self-deprecating laugh but assertive smile.] You couldn’t choose just one direction, and the natural solution was to do them all.
COM 411: Origins of Language. It’s for your major, and it’s definitely your passion — passion in the sense that it will make great conversation points with your patients.
ENV 304: Disease Ecology, Economics and Policy. If classes looked like human beings, this one would look a lot like you.
COS 375: Computer Architecture and Organization. Regardless of what profession you go into, knowing intimately how a computer works can’t hurt.
CWR 203: Creative Writing (Fiction). Your high school English teacher always said you were a great writer, and who knows? Maybe it will help when you write a book about your life.
TYPE D: The Do-Gooder
If you answered D, you are all about giving back. It is such an incredible opportunity to go to Princeton and it has really opened your eyes to all the injustices in society. You now realize your life calling is to fix the world.
CEE 334: Global Environmental Issues. Closing the achievement gap is a pointless cause if the ozone breaks down before you have a chance to implement your after-school academic enrichment program focused on individual creativity with an emphasis on navigating group dynamics, which you plan to outline in your thesis.
JRN 448: The Media and Social Issues: Reporting Inequality. You can’t trust the media, unless of course you are the one reporting on a cause you are intimately invested in. That, or you have a social injustice video with great potential to go viral.
AMS 325: Urban Education Reform. Urban is such a buzzword in the realm of societal reformations and initiatives.
GHP 350: Critical Perspective on Global Health and Health Policy. An entire world of problems and people to heal — what are you going to do about it?
So get on SCORE and get signed up. You can thank me once you:
A. Land that great job in the city and develop a personal frienship with the CEO after a great conversation about the symphony. You are asked to head the Bejiing office, and those flash cards really come in handy.
B. Create a gallery using Maya painting techniques to depict sex and death in the Middle Ages. Everyone loves it. No one gets it.
C. Publish an autobiography that details the contributions you made to engineering while you simultaneously completed med school and developed the next social networking site. It is the top seller for a week, and then a fifth Twilight book is released.
D. Are not heard from for the next 10 years because you are trying to live without making a carbon footprint while rehabilitating abused bush babies. You are also a prominent social reformer but conduct all your work under a psuedonym — you aren’t in it for the fame. At least not until they offer to make a documentary about you; documentaries are the best way to educate the public.