Editorial: Plotting your summer course

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Do you ever get the sneaking suspicion that maybe summer classes aren’t, well, real classes? Does the prospect of enrolling in a condensed iteration of “fifth-year foot-drumming” (yes, we’ve finally moved on from the hand-drumming jokes) give you pause?

We’ve all felt that flush of panic at some point in our degrees — the fear that classes, and maybe entire degrees, have little or no practical application. If you haven’t had that existential crisis just yet, there’s no time like the summertime. Many of the distinguished-sounding courses required for your degree seem to go on vacation, and all that’s left for your department to proffer is that Vampire Studies class that you thought was a myth.

So do you enrol or not? The bus pass and the healthcare plan may be too sweet to pass up, especially if you don’t have a car and you’re not covered by a parent’s healthcare plan when you take a semester off. But if you are enrolling out of mere boredom or curiosity, take a moment to consider these cheaper alternatives to just a few of the classes being offered this summer.

The course: Anthropology 315 – Living Technology. In this class, you will interact with craftspeople about the “constraints and possibilities of . . . stone, clay and fibre.” And you know what they say about fibre: you need some every day.
The cheaper alternative: Check out Prometheus when it hits theatres on June 1. In this Ridley Scott film, Michael Fassbender plays David, the most humanoid robot ever. Living technology, indeed. You can sneak a bran muffin into the screening if you’re worried about fibre.

The course: Computer Engineering 420 – Artificial Intelligence. In this class, you learn the philosophy of A.I.
The cheaper alternative: See Prometheus note above. If you want to be more obtuse, watch Steven Spielberg’s A.I., which stars another very human-like android named David (played by Haley Joel Osment).

The course: English 450 – Modern Canadian Fiction.
The cheaper alternative: Watch Sun News Network.

The course: Physical and Health Education 117 – Tennis. You play tennis.
The cheaper alternative: You play tennis.

The course: Music 115 – Listening to Music.
The cheaper alternative: Don’t think you need our help here.

The course: Philosophy 201 – Critical Thinking. “An analysis of simple argument forms in natural language.”
The cheaper alternative: Watch every season of Arrested Development. Take notes on everything Lucille Bluth says. Of special note: “Everything they do is so dramatic and flamboyant. It just makes me want to set myself on fire.” There you go! A perfect example of logical fallacy.

The course: Writing 412 – Recurrent themes in film. This summer, the course has been dubbed “The art of the action film.”
The cheaper alternative: You got it. Prometheus.

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