For some reason, the thought of students still changing their class schedules two weeks into the term brings out a bit of rolling eyes and “tsk, tsk” from some people, but I say phooey on that. Why shouldn’t students change their schedules when they realize particular classes won’t work for them?
Yes, it is two weeks into the term, and I have just changed my schedule.
And I do believe it is all for the best. I dropped an on-line class, in which we’re expected to learn something while listening to the professor over our headphones / computer speakers, pay attention to the students chatting in the “classroom” (would this be tolerated during a lecture in a real classroom?) and also follow the links to the “slides” provided by instructor or students. I know I’ll have to give on-line classes another try at some point, but I wanted to keep my “I’m in graduate school!” high for at least the first term. That high is renewed a little bit each time I have my Global Perspectives class, for example. Good discussions, informative material, very knowledgeable instructor. I know the instructor for the on-line class is also very knowledgeable, and I’m sure taking the same class on-campus would give me a very different impression. It really was just the interface that I did not like… ironic, as the class was on Interface Design.
My new wonderful class is … (trumpets!) Sociolinguistics! You see, I’ve been trying to figure out what my ideal degree would be… I thought about English, Linguistics, Comparative Literature… but it seems like my ideal degree would be called simply “Modern Languages” and I would simply learn all sorts of languages and sit around a simple dinner with great wine with all my Modern Languages colleagues and we would talk about all the strange differences along the Indo-European language tree and what is Basque, anyway? Someone would say something in Italian, which sounds like a bad pun in German, and we would all laugh.
Barring that, though, this Sociolinguistics subject is getting me much closer to my ideal than anything else has. This all came about after talking with my adviser (why did I wait? I don’t know.), who asked me, quite simply, what do I want to do with a library degree? I answered that I wanted to study libraries *and* languages. That my dream research topic would be looking at which languages were heavily populating the internet vs. populating the Earth, and projecting about where those on-line language numbers are leading us. (Surprise: English is only 35% of the internet now. Don’t think you need to learn other languages? Think again.) He suggested I really look at customizing my degree to fit my interests, reminded me of the electives from other departments that I can take to complement the library classes. And it’s working out perfectly this term – Sociolinguistics on one hand, Global Perspectives of Libraries on the other. I love this stuff. I don’t know what kind of job I could get with this… I just hope it’s a job with accents and umlauts.