Print Edition: November 21, 2012
Please. Someone enlighten me. What on earth is the point of an extended minor?
We’re now in the thick of registration for the winter semester. You can tell because MyUFV is crashing a little more often than usual. Students are also meeting with advisers to uncover the best way to graduate with their sanity intact, pondering which credentials are worth the risk. Extended minors? Save yourself the anxiety and a couple thousand dollars. It is not worth your time.
I’m an English major with a keen interest in history. I’ve completed my requirements for a history minor and have been interested in taking additional upper-level history classes. Yet the only difference between an extended minor and a minor in nearly every arts discipline is more lower-level classes. I’m sorry, but at this point in my bachelor’s degree, more lower-level classes in history or English are a royal waste of my time.
I’d be all for taking more advanced classes to satisfy more rigorous graduation requirements, and to walk across the stage in June with a slightly more impressive notch on my diploma, but there’s no way it’s worth taking more lower-level classes. Once you’ve fulfilled the requirements that allow you to enrol, there’s no going back. I know plenty of students in this situation, finishing up lower-level requirements, who don’t even read the textbook, yet are pulling an A average on all their assignments so far.
Yes, upper-level classes are more difficult and time-consuming, requiring a certain skill set and university experience to be able to handle. But since taking upper-level English and history courses, it’s been tough to find myself engaged by or learning anything at all in lower-level classes.
Moreover, extended minors crowd already over-capacity lower-level classes. First-year students don’t stand a chance of getting into the classes they want when they’re clogged with bored seniors adding an extended minor one semester before they leave. And nothing kills a learning environment better than disinterested students.
Extended minors need to be reworked to provide students with real incentive and real reward for devoting more of their open credits to a particular discipline. Rather than petering out at the end of your graduate degree, you should be gearing up for your most intensive, pride-worthy work.
Without the option of completing a double major, one of the few ways to distinguish yourself from the throngs of UFV grads is to get an extended minor. But this nominal distinction is actually nothing more than a time suck. It doesn’t signify anything other than wasted time and wasted money.
Until the faculty of arts rethinks the way it offers additional credentials, arts students are better off just taking upper-level electives that they’re actually interested in. If you’re one of the rare few that can sit through a first-year survey course three or more years into your degree, I applaud you. But I can’t put myself through that.