I’m in my last semester of my undergraduate career. With but three required classes left to take and probably about a dozen to choose from, plus the freedom of an elective under the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option instead of a regular letter grade, setting my schedule has become an exercise more in aesthetics than anything else. I noticed, coincidentally, that the philosophy department’s class in aesthetics is not offered this year. Turns out I don’t need it. I’m having no problem seeing things as I want.

I’m conscious that I’m going to be applying to grad school in the next few weeks. I’ve already taken an extra year here and I don’t want the admissions committees thinking that I’m just screwing around with the extra time. “The Art of Listening” was thus the first cut from the list of possible electives. And frankly, I’m more interested in taking a harder but more interesting course than a bird course like that anyway. Still, interesting courses that would have been fine in my first or second years in Anthropology, Sociology, and Religion, among others, stick out a fair bit after so much solid physics, math, and philosophy.

I sat in on a philosophy class that certainly looks like a perfect elective—it fits well with my minor and compliments the study of physics very well. Plus the description talked about all those sorts of questions that come up while sitting around waiting for code to compile or atoms to decay but never get properly answered. Unfortunately, twenty minutes in I was wishing for it to be over. I had this intense feeling that it must be July, and I realised it must have been because the only other time I’ve wanted to leave a classroom so badly has been because it was a warm, bright, sunny afternoon outside. So despite how nicely it would fit in on my trasncript, this particular class had to be cut.

The second philosophy class was one chosen because it seemed the least terrible of the required options given. The History and Philosophy of Ancient Science. I guess that sounds like it compliments physics as well. Little did I know how perfect it would be—this year the class focuses on Ancient Greek Mechanics, which, though completely different from its modern cousins, would have sounded great coming in the semesters after Classical Mechanics and Quantum Mechanics. Even better, the professor was one of these rare characters who speaks like she’s telling a story, not merely regurgitating information. She would run her hands through her hair, making it point in all directions, and sounded almost giddy at the prospect that someone might build little mechanical toys for their final project. I could have been Marshall with a man-crush on Gael. This class could stay.

Right or not (probably not), I’ve also realised that I’m beginning to consider how nicely the required textbook for a class will fit on my bookshelf. This is largely an after affect of clearing the thing out, trying to keep only one text in each main area. I found myself reluctant to give up my Schaum’s Outlines not because I ever used them but because they make a nice matching set. In my particle physics class, I’m tempted to skip the required text (a graphic blue paperback monster) in favour of the one by Griffiths, first because it is by Griffiths and also because it’s nicely bound. If only it wasn’t twenty years old. Dare I buy the new edition coming out in a few months, just for the aesthetics of it sitting on me shelf? Though clearly I’d have to buy a real copy of the EM text as well to match. Meanwhile, I’m highly motivated to stick with Optics not because I want to take the class (I do) but because the textbook is of the same series as my Relativity text from last year. I was even secretly considering buying the particles book in the same series because they’re just so damn sexy. Through in the cosmology text, for no class in particular, as well while I’m at it. Or maybe I should just get a grip and worry more about doing the readings instead of what the readings look like.

I should say, I also bought myself a big furry toque with big floppy ear flaps. I was feeling really quite fantastic on this day of courses, textbooks, and winter headgear. The only downside to the day was that when I arrived home Ponyboy was no longer asleep on my couch to experience what an awesome boyfriend I was, having left to go meet a friend visiting from out of town. Oh well. Twice as much food for me.

Random FAQ Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Aesthetics in the last semester”

  1. Brina says:

    Yes. Yes, I am.

    But who is Ponyboy?!?!?

  2. GP says:

    Good. Because really, what else is this for except to make you happy.

    Ponyboy is my ponyboy… I’ll send you details via other means.

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