The syllabus for any biology class is typically very long and thorough, leaving people like me with no questions to ask because all of the information is there. The real action that must be taken is simply to heed their warnings and sink in the advice. After calculating how many pages of reading I have to do before class, I came to the sad conclusion of 100+ pages. That was just ONE class and out of two required textbooks, and it isn’t fun to know that it’s only for one semester. I still have two more classes that I didn’t add up yet but it’ll most likely be another 50+ pages. Now, normally I try to be a week ahead of the readings at the beginning of the semester, but this is ridiculous! I also have to complete assignments before my Kaplan course so that’s probably another 30+ pages to read and then complete some preview assignments.
And so, I figure it’d be good to let everyone who is contemplating the major know what the pros and cons are:
- If you’re a pre-medicine student, you’ll have to fulfill your pre-med requirements. Conveniently, the biological sciences major requirements overlap well with the pre-medicine trek. This could possibly mean that you could graduate early to save a year’s worth of tuition (although why would you want to graduate early when there is no rush when deciding what it is you want to do with the rest of your life). Thus, half of UIC is a bio/pre-med major (haha).
- The faculty are almost always very interesting. My freshman year ecology and evolution class had a professor that did her research on Galapagos Islands…and she likes marine iguanas. Because of her, I attended Reptilefest when it was at UIC’s physical education building! (:
- The labs are pretty fun (unlike chemistry labs, ewwww) and you actually learn something.
- The major only requires 36 credits…and you need 120 to graduate. You know what that means? More elective classes!!! :D It’s important to take classes that you probably will never have the chance to take again and to really enhance your liberal arts education. I’ve taken the liberty of taking Polish last semester and it was awesome! Can’t wait for 102! I’ve also taken higher level English classes, Asian Studies, Jazz History…etc.
- In general, there are a lot of class sections to choose from to make your schedule more flexible.
- I don’t know why, but almost every biology class that I have taken required two textbooks. That’s at least $90 just renting on Chegg. Imagine if you wanted to own them! Shelling out that money isn’t very fun, especially when you can barely afford tuition! :( At least when you purchase a chemistry book, you can use it for a whole year rather than just one semester.
- The material is very challenging. It’s biology, of course.
- Lectures are very big. There are discussion sections where you’re with the TA and there might be 20 other people or less…but the lectures have about 150 people…that means if you want to be in the front…you better run there!!! Those spots fill up really fast. I don’t think I’ve ever sat in the front because they’re always packed!
- You have to pay a lot of tuition differentials and fees…
- Getting a B or C is easy, but getting an A is tough. Literally every single point or percentage counts when it comes to the final calculation of your grade! To get As in these classes, you need to really push yourself and make every point count. Otherwise, if you just depend on what you “usually” do…you might either just barely get an A…or be borderline and end up with a B by only a few points away from an A!
- Because you have to put a lot of studying and reviewing each day, you probably have less time for part-time jobs and other arrangements. To succeed in a biology class means making some sacrifices (unless you are a genius)!
Happy spring semester! :D I hope I can survive! I’ve happily ceased all of my part-time jobs except for research and blogging. No excuses to do poorly this semester!!!