Though many undergraduate courses are engaging and applicable to student interest, there are a few GenEds at Binghamton University that students should avoid. These three classes aren’t the world’s most challenging classes, but they are definitely the most annoying.
1. Writing 111
Writing 111 is a course for Harpur College freshmen that’s meant to help students improve their writing. Instead, students learn the art of bullshitting essays and how to understand what a teacher wants in a paper rather than what the student wants to convey.
The class puts a lot of emphasis on essays. At the end of the semester, you’re required to submit a portfolio of three essays to be graded by multiple instructors. The problem is you may not be able to please both your teacher and this panel of instructors. What your teacher may like or dislike in an essay, a group of other teachers may feel differently about. There’s pretty much no way to win.
Justine Teu, a freshman majoring in history, disagrees with the way essays are graded.
“I hate how subjective the essays are with teachers,” Teu said. “There’s no real way to know what’s good or not and you only end up conforming to their style.”
Even the best writer can end up with a C in this course, and the biggest suck-up, conformist student can pull out an A.
Plus, with its abundance of sections, you’re more likely to get a graduate student than a professor. These grad students are often four years older than we are and can be teaching for the first time. So the class ends up being a learning experience for everyone in the classroom, and that can suck.
It’s easily the worst class structure in history.
2. Math 130: Math in Action
Let’s not kid ourselves. If you need a math elective, you’re not taking Calc II. So Math in Action is the best option. But because this is the case for so many students, the class size ends up being huge. This course attempts to teach people real-life, practical math. In other words, probability, cake cutting, voting methods and other confusing and arbitrary concepts that a calculator won’t save you from.
Step into Lecture Hall 1 on Monday, Wednesday or Friday and you’ll see that less than half the class shows up — that is, unless there’s a test. And that test isn’t even curved. That can be a nightmare.
Amy Merke, an undeclared freshman, believes that attendance should be monitored.
“Many students tend to leave class early, which emphasizes that class attendance is not enforced enough,” Merke said.
In the discussion sections that follow, you’ll either luck out with a teaching assistant who knows the material or be part of the unfortunate group of students with a TA who can’t speak English. You may not want to fill the “M” credit with Math in Action, but there may be no other choice. Also, bonus points for the lamest course name in all of BU.
3. Psych 111
Warning: This class is not for anyone who’s ever taken an online personality quiz and thought it’d be cool to study psychology. In addition, it’s not for those annoying people who analyze their friends and think that’s being cerebral. There’s actual science involved.
Many students choose to take Psych 111 along with 112 for the “L” credit and end up regretting their decision. Of course, that’s not always the case, which is good because psychology is a really practical major.
Not only are the abundant readings and quizzes a pain, but the lab credit can be incredibly frustrating to gain. You’re given credit for participating in surveys and studies in Clearview Hall. Some of them are interesting, but most can make you question whether or not you’re insane. As if trying to find Clearview Hall wasn’t stressful enough.
So if you can try to avoid these classes, all the better. But if you end up stuck with one of these courses, just grin and bear it.