“I need to raise my GPA. Is ______ a bird course?”
Ever heard yourself or your friends uttering these words? Perhaps you’ve made a Facebook post, or even commented on one with some suggestions.
It’s understandable to want to lower the course load burdening your shoulders by taking a simpler course. I’m definitely taking advantage of this. In fact, someone even recommended it to me.
And then, I heard this statement:
“You just need to get into your program.”
While I understood what they meant, those words irked me to no end. I understood the truth behind them, and it was probably valuable advice, but there was something in me that just wouldn’t accept the implications behind the statement.
It’s likely because in high school, I saw university as this institution that highly respects learning, that holds experience and growth and challenge on a pedestal. I thought I would finally be able to escape the high school mindset of “grades are all that matter” and “take the easy path to an A”. Hearing those words smashed this image and made me feel as if I’d been propelled back to this high school mindset.
But back to the problem at hand: what exactly IS a bird course? Is it biology related? Do you learn how to fly?
Labelled as such because you can supposedly “fly through the course” with minimal effort, they’re sought out for distribution requirements, raising GPAs, and lightening course loads. At first glance, bird courses have all sorts of benefits and draw backs that immediately come to mind:
- You might get an A
- You might be able to skip the lectures
- Studying last minute might be enough to pass
- The lectures might be easy and understandable
- The textbook is cheaper
- You might get bored easily
- It might turn out to be really hard
- It might not have tests, but tons of assignments that are actually harder
- You might be wasting your money (each course is expensive, remember?)
- Many bird courses may make you look directionless
As you can tell, the amount of “might” in those sentences prove how much of an educated guess one tries to take when picking a bird course.
But enough about that. Here comes the important question that everyone wants answered:
What courses are bird courses?
I’ve noticed that it’s typically the social science and humanities courses that get labelled as such. Here are some examples I’ve gotten from Facebook (some might be from previous years):
- Video Game Design
- Creative Writing
- Communication Technology
- Education Studies
- MAT133 (no trigonometry)
- Planet Earth
After reading this list, ask yourself this question: were there any courses you scoffed at, giggled, shook your head, disagreed? Did you ever mumble to yourself, “Hah, she put that down? Pfft, that course was so hard!” Was there anything that stood out to you?
As a fellow student put it:
“Everyone says a certain course is brutal and it’s not…[and] a bird course can be a snake when u try it.”
In other words: the course that gets labelled as “super hard, avoid at all costs!” might turn out to be one of your strengths (for me, this is physics), and a course that people tell you is “super easy, a GPA booster!” might turn out to be your lowest average (for me, this is biology).
Now that I’ve got you thinking, I’ll let you steam over that idea for a little while…
But not too long-if you’d like to know how a bird course can be harmful, check out part 2!