rants

Game of Thrones and Computer Science: Picking Courses for Fourth Year

the short storySeriously, how do I make a schedule again? Help me!

the long storyAs I’ve mentioned several times before, Short Story Long started as a blog for an English class I took in my second year of university.

Well, now I’m going to be entering my final year of university this September.

Technically, I should have graduated now, but enrolling in co-op extended my program by one year. By the time I go back to school, I will have not done formal coursework in 16 months.

The idea of jumping back into a full course load is terrifying, but even worse is actually deciding which courses are going to torment occupy me for eight months.

Course registration doesn’t actually open until June, but me, being anxious/excited for my final year,  decided to start making up possible timetables. As a graduating student,  I get first dibs on registration. There are courses I’m required to take to complete my degree: two mandatory biochemistry courses, some chemistry labs, and two biochemistry electives. In addition to that, I need five electives, three of which have to be upper level in order to graduate.

My problem is the electives. For sure I want to take Computer Science and Theories of Myth, which is two upper elective courses out of the way.

My other options (at least the ones I’m interested in) are as follows:

Children’s Literature: Fairy Tales
Our class will grapple with this defining problem of children’s literature—the difficulty of constructing the child reader—by applying a variety of critical approaches to European fairy tales and their descendants.  We’ll begin by reading fairy tales that were published in England, Germany, France, and Russia in the 17th to 19th century. We’ll then turn to modern versions of these tales and finish by examining recent novels and films that adapt conventions of traditional fairy tales to explore the complexities of modern life.

I grew up reading fairy tales and I love them. I’ve always wanted to take a Children’s Literature course, but since the section reading Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Narnia is during the computer science, this is a close second.

Indian Myth
Myths of creation Gods and goddesses of the Vedic pantheon. Connections with myths in other parts of the world, particularly in the Indo-European tradition. Literary representations of the myths.

I am obsessed with mythology, and I know very little about Indian mythology. So, this would be fun.

Fictional Prose: Game of Thrones
This course examines how the medieval is reimagined in our current moment through Martin’s novels and the HBO series that they have spawned. Reacting both to the High Fantasy genre of the 1970s and 80s (that inspired by, and largely imitating, the mode of Tolkien’s novels), and to post-everything nature of the last twenty years, Martin’s works hold an influential place in the popular modern imagined medieval, largely supplanting any real notion of the European Middle Ages in the minds of most of its readers and viewers. As such, we will be considering Martin’s works as much for what they tell us about our own time, as for what they tell us about our ideas of the past. The course will involve the reading of the five books (thus far) of the series, and the watching of the six seasons of the HBO series. While it is not a pre-requistite to have read all the novels before the course starts, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour if you have done so.

I am not even kidding, that is the course description.

Creative Writing: Fiction
This 3-credit course offers students an opportunity to explore and practice the fundamentals of writing fiction through a combination of lectures and in-class writing exercises. Guest presentations by published authors will examine the specifics of craft and process. Graded writing assignments and in-class quizzes will offer students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the ideas presented. Regular attendance is vital, assignment due dates are sacred, and there is a fair amount of reading and writing, but if you can handle that, you’ll have an enjoyable and productive time in this class.

It’s be nice to take a creative writing course, and while it seems like a lot of course work, there’s the added bonus of no final!

Introduction to Cognitive Systems
Interdisciplinary examination of human mental processes and how these are mediated by the brain. Will draw on cognitive psychology, linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, artificial intelligence.

Doesn’t that sound so interesting? I’m actually really excited at the prospect of this course. I was actually think of taking cognitive systems as my program, because it sounded really cool, but I gave up on that idea early on.

There is also another problem, and it’s one I’m sort of ashamed of. I’m an introvert who hates public speaking, and whenever I see a syllabus with group work and oral presentations, it immediately gets pushed a little lower down my list.

Which is a terrible thing because some of the classes above have an oral report component. But I won’t mention them here because I want to know your opinion based on how interesting the class sounds. Let me know in comments!

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