Ask Iman: How do I pick which classes to drop?

Dear Iman,

I’m in way too many classes right now and need to drop some. One of the classes seems super fun, but doesn’t apply to my major. What should I do?

A tale as old as time itself. To drop, or not to drop. That is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune... You can tell I’m an English major, huh?

But seriously, figuring out which class to drop is always super tough — you pick classes based on how much you anticipate you’ll like them, and then suddenly you have to pick one of them to get chopped. I’m notorious for attending a million classes in the first week, then really only ending up in about three or four of them. I need to get a feel for things, get a sample (in the next Ask Iman — how school is like Costco) and I like to shop around before I buy anything, so why would classes be any different?

I totally understand being in a super fun class, yet the subject matter itself has little (or no) relevance to your degree, and having a snoozefest of a class that you need to graduate. Which one you drop/stay in is totally up to you — but here’s my advice. If you’re nearing the end of your degree, if a class is a degree requirement that you need for the next year or if a class is a prerequisite, don’t drop it.

As much as your fun exciting elective is fun and exciting, it’s not worth stressing out about not having your science requirement completed well into your senior year. If you’re in your last year and want to drop a required class, make sure that you can take it the next semester or have a class that your advising office said can replace that course. But remember, you’ll have to take that class eventually, so might as well do it now.

But let’s say the elective class is super cool. Like SO cool. You’ll never be able to take a class as interesting ever again, the professor is an award-winner at the top of their field and the class has no final exam (flex). Should you take it at the expense of not completing your requirements? It depends. If this class can contribute to your elective credits and really is something you’ll never get to do again. I’d stay in the class — elective credits are required credits, so all’s well that ends well.

But if it won’t count toward that, or has little relevance to your future or interests (even though it’s a cool class), take the L, drop it and try to enjoy your required class. Life is all about balance — maybe you won’t get to take a super silly elective credit this semester, but you will get to later. Maybe you’ll get out of taking a required course you’ve been dreading, but you’ll have to finish the class eventually. Think things through and weigh your options — the add/ drop date is September 18.

You’re doing great. Keep it up!

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