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MIT blogger Cami M. '23

Choosing Classes: Choice Paralysis by Cami M. '23

[skye from valorant voice] help a girl out would ya!

One of my favorite things about college is browsing all the classes I could hypothetically take and imagining my futures in them. Of course, the imagining bit is a lot more fun than the…actual taking of them, but I love romanticizing the classes and picturing myself seated in the classroom learning and excitedly jotting down notes.

And like every other semester, I’ve run into the troubling dilemma where there are far too many cool classes and not enough time.

I’ve always limited myself to 4 classes, or 48 units, here at MIT because that really is my limit. But I always start off the semester at around 5 or 6 and in those next two weeks or so I drop what I can’t handle / don’t think I prioritize as much.

This time, I am stuck! And don’t know what to choose and I thought I’d blog about it so maybe people can give me their insight and help me with my choice paralysis :)

Format:

MIT Course # – MIT Class Name (units)

meeting times and if final or no final

Class description

[my thoughts, pros, and cons]

Classes I’m Definitely Taking

6.031 – Elements of Software Construction (15)

MWF11-12:30 + final

Introduces fundamental principles and techniques of software development: how to write software that is safe from bugs, easy to understand, and ready for change. Topics include specifications and invariants; testing, test-case generation, and coverage; abstract data types and representation independence; design patterns for object-oriented programming; concurrent programming, including message passing and shared memory concurrency, and defending against races and deadlock; and functional programming with immutable data and higher-order functions. Includes weekly programming exercises and larger group programming projects.

This is a class that I’m pretty sure I 100% have to take next semester because course requirements and things and also I really want to take it because it’s a good representation of what a career in software engineering will look like in the future!

6.034 – Artifical Intelligence (12)

MWF10-11, recitation Tbd + final

Introduces representations, methods, and architectures used to build applications and to account for human intelligence from a computational point of view. Covers applications of rule chaining, constraint propagation, constrained search, inheritance, statistical inference, and other problem-solving paradigms. Also addresses applications of identification trees, neural nets, genetic algorithms, support-vector machines, boosting, and other learning paradigms. Considers what separates human intelligence from that of other animals. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

I’ve wanted to take this class for a while now since I hear it’s really fun and I have some interest in AI but if I fail 6.006 Intro to Algorithms this semester, which I’m actually…very close to doing, I’ll have to retake 006 instead of taking 6.034 since I want to get credit for 6.006.

Classes Where I Need To Choose 2 of These and 2 of These Only or Maybe I Can Get Away With 3 I Don’t Know

CDGD203 – Foundations of Graphic Design (?)

TBD | massart cross registered class

Students are introduced to visual principles as the basis of graphic design communication, and elements and issues of visual language. The course covers the manipulation of graphic form to convey meaning, strategies for idea generation and development of unique concepts, and the designer’s role as visual storyteller.

I really wanted to take this class because after I had my breakdown this past? weekend over whether or not I belonged in computer science, I realized my interest in CS really was found in the design aspects of it i.e. front end engineering and making websites and apps and all that, but I never was really comfortable making my own websites because I didn’t think I knew how to make things pretty. I’ve always been bad at art comparatively to all my friends. I could never draw things nicely or make pretty powerpoints or have nice colors in school projects. So I’ve been very hesitant to try and design things and really get involved in the UX design world of CS despite that being what I want to do because I never thought I was good enough for it. I realize that I should…probably get formal training and do that.

Pros: Get some real good honest to god design teaching.

Cons: Commuting multiple times a week to MassArt in Boston.

73A – Beginning American Sign Language I (?)

TR 9-10:15 AM

This course is an introduction to the language and linguistic structure of American Sign Language and to Deaf culture for students with no prior experience. Focus will be on gaining a foundation for later fluency and understanding the role of ASL in Deaf history, current culture, education, bilingualism, and research.

I’ve been taking Intro ASL at MIT since March and it’s been really lovely and learning a new language has been so exciting and fun. I really don’t want to lose practice with my ASL so I want to hold myself accountable and start taking credited classes at Harvard. It would be so cool to gain more fluency in ASL since I think it’s such an underappreciated language and I want to educate myself further on Deafness and Deaf culture.

Pros: Forces me to continue practicing ASL, actually counts as credit and can maybe count toward an ASL concentration

Cons: Commuting to Harvard 2x a week, 9am…*dies*, I’ve already taken ASL 1 so the content might be repetitive/unhelpful

CTV – Writing for Television: Developing the Pilot: Workshop (?)

T 12-2:45 PM

This workshop introduces the television pilot with a focus on prestige drama and serialized comedy. Students will excavate their own voice and explore the structure and execution of pilot writing through a first draft of their own original script. With intensive reading and discussion of student work we will examine elements of TV writing, such as treatments and outlines as well as character, dialogue, tone, plot, and, most importantly, vision. Over the semester, we’ll turn ideas into worlds and worlds into scripts.

I applied for a Harvard writing workshop last semester and I did not get in so my chances of this one are also very low. I just thought this class sounds really interesting since I’ve never really learned about TV writing and it sounds super interesting!

Pros: New skills, exploring a new area of writing I’m unfamiliar with

Cons: commute, I also have a perfect MWF schedule right now with 6.031 and 6.034 and no classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and this would ruin that, also not a con but it’s a very low chance I get into this class

CMS.307 – Critical Worldbuilding (12)

W1-4

Studies the design and analysis of invented (or constructed) worlds for narrative media, such as television, films, comics, and literary texts. Provides the practical, historical and critical tools with which to understand the function and structure of imagined worlds. Examines world-building strategies in the various media and genres in order to develop a critical and creative repertoire. Participants create their own invented worlds. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Limited to 13.

Everyone absolutely raves to me about this class telling me how great it is and how it really defined their MIT academic experience. I would love love love to take this class and I am a CMS concentrator/minor/major (something of that line) and so I would definitely have a higher chance of getting in but… I hear it’s a really hard class. And it’s pretty intense and demanding. With 6.031 already being 15 units and an extremely time consuming class, I am unsure if I’m prepared to take another intense class like this.

Pros: very cool class, satisfies requirements for CMS

Cons: really hard class, time consuming, kinda scary

21W.755 Writing and Reading Short Stories (12)

TR3-4:30 or W12-3

An introduction to writing fiction. Students write their own stories and study essays and short stories by contemporary authors from around the world. Discussion focuses on students’ writing and on assigned works in their historical and social contexts. Limited to 15 per section.

For someone that talks about liking writing a lot, I sure don’t have a lot of it or do it a lot aside from these informal blogposts. I’d like to take writing classes to try and get me back into the writing swing of things!

Pros: Learn how to finally write

Cons: conflicts with 6.031 on Wednesdays aka the day I want to take it since I don’t want to do Tuesdays or Thursdays to maintain my sexy sexy no class days.

CMS.616 – Games and Culture (12)

W EVE 7-10PM

Examines the social, cultural, economic, and political aspects of digital games. Topics include the culture of gameplay, gaming styles, communities, spectatorship and performance, gender and race within digital gaming, and the politics and economics of production processes, including co-creation and intellectual property. Students taking graduate version complete additional readings and assignments.

I’m a simple person: I see games, I want to take class.

Pros: perfectly falls on a sexy sexy Wednesday, counts for both writing credit and CMS credit since I’m not sure what I want to concentrate in yet1

Cons: is a night class and I might not be as motivated to go since it goes so late

CMS.300 – Introduction to Video Game Theory (12)

TR 11-12:30

Introduction to the interdisciplinary study of videogames as texts through an examination of their cultural, educational, and social functions in contemporary settings. Students play and analyze videogames while reading current research and theory from a variety of sources in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and industry. Assignments focus on game analysis in the context of the theories discussed in class. Includes regular reading, writing, and presentation exercises. No prior programming experience required. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Limited to 20.

Like I said: I see games, I want to take class.

Pros: cool videogame class!!

Cons: …tuesday thursday

7.002 – Fundamentals of Experimental Molecular Biology (6)

lecture m1:30-3, lab: w1-4:30 or f1-4:30

Introduces the experimental concepts and methods of molecular biology. Covers basic principles of experimental design and data analysis, with an emphasis on the acquisition of practical laboratory experience. Satisfies 6 units of Institute Laboratory credit. Enrollment limited.

So…for those of you who don’t know..I’ve been having a crisis as to whether or not I’m actually pre-vet or not, as in like, wanting to pursue veterinary school after college. It’s been a long time dream of mine to always work with animals and I’ve actually been having a HUGE crisis over this. I don’t have any animal handling experience aside from my own pets and my zoo volunteering back in high school, haven’t taken any bio classes aside from introductory biology, and really it’s just not looking good for me as a whole. Taking introductory biology this past semester really revitalized my love for biology and I want to start taking bio classes again to see if I really do enjoy it and it’s not just some grass is greener on the other side case.

Pros: tests whether or not I like biology again, cool lab experience

Cons: not really fulfilling any requirements if I take it since I don’t have a bio minor or major or anything, kind of a larger time commitment?, might be some unnecessary stress since labs are kinda stressful

11.011 – The Art and Science of Negotiation (12)

MW2-3:30

Introduction to negotiation theory and practice. Applications in government, business, and nonprofit settings are examined. Combines a “hands-on” personal skill-building orientation with a look at pertinent tactical and strategic foundations. Preparation insights, persuasion tools, ethical benchmarks, and institutional influences are examined as they shape our ability to analyze problems, negotiate agreements, and resolve disputes in social, organizational, and political circumstances characterized by interdependent interests. Enrollment limited by lottery; consult class website for information and deadlines.

I hear a lot about this class. I think it’s one of the most popular classes at MIT and a fan favorite of MIT students. I actually have very little clue to what this class is but everyone tells me it’s great so I might as well try to get into it. It’s a very low chance that I get in.

Pros: fun class that everyone seems to like?

Cons: it … looks like a lot of group work and i’m not the biggest fan of group work, hard to get into class

21G.704 – Spanish IV (12)

MTWR1

Continued study of the language, literature, and culture of Spanish-speaking countries to improve oral and written communication. Materials include contemporary Spanish and Latin American films, literary texts (short stories, poetry and a novel), online video interviews with a variety of Spanish-speakers and other Web resources. Limited to 18 per section.

I took Spanish III last fall and loved it and it helped me gain a lot more confidence in my Spanish speaking skills! I took Spanish practically every year in school from 1st grade to 11th grade so I should…honestly be better than I am but it’s good to get in practice since I never do practice Spanish.

Pros: more practice!, builds toward a Spanish concentration, taught by Mariana!! who i absolutely adore she is such an incredible professor and we had such fun and engaging conversations

Cons: it meets f o u r times a week.

 

If you have any ~feelings~ on any of these classes please help me figure out which 2 or 3 I should take alongside 6.034 and 6.031 :’)