Dear Rebecca,

It’s my senior spring and I need to pass a science credit. But I intend to spend all my time outside of class watching Netflix hungover in bed and wooing the cute junior I just have to get with before Last Chance Dance! What do I do?

xoxo, Humanities Hillary

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Dear Humanities Hillary,

I’m not sure you are doing anything wrong. Really, why shouldn’t you spend your last semester at Yale like that? Hungover days imply long nights spent with friends, and who knows what will happen if you and that cute junior hit it off?

But if you’re even writing to ask, I think you’re trying to tell me that you’re actually uncomfortable with this plan. While I don’t know whether you really want me to advise you against the Netflix or the junior, I’ll tackle what seems like the more pressing issue: your science credit. I’d like to share my science credit experience with you, and the wisdom I’ve learned after six semesters of shopping.

Let’s go back to the first semester of my freshman year. After texting my parents a picture of my “first day of school” outfit, I headed off to my first college class. I don’t remember what the class was, but I do remember that it was was the most boring lecture I’d ever been to. Section, we were told, was optional, but the good news ended there. I wondered, “Is this Yale?” I worried that things weren’t going to go well.

Luckily, the next class I shopped was a much more positive experience. It was on Science Hill (or at least on Hillhouse before Trumbull Street) and it was about science (or at least the syllabus said we would spend a few weeks on global warming and a few on animals).

This class, the second class I ever shopped in college, was great. I soon learned that I loved this class. The readings were interesting, and often easier that the readings from AP Bio. I met my first collegiate athlete and we did a group presentation together. Naive freshman that I was, I worked very hard in this class.

When the midterm came around, though, I thought I had shown up to the wrong class. Five times as many people showed up for the exam as had been in attendance for any other lecture, even during shopping period.

I had no friends (in the class or otherwise, now that I think about it) to tell me my beloved science credit was a gut. I went to every Monday morning section and Friday morning lecture. (Find me a class with a worse schedule than that.) And though I loved it, I really didn’t learn very much during the semester, and I didn’t make any friends in section, except maybe my TF.

During freshman year, we all learn a lot of things. I learned what a gut class was, and thought that maybe I should figure out how to avoid inadvertently take one. For this reason, I later hypothesized, once I found friends, that classes shopped with people you know are inherently better than classes shopped without them.

For my second science credit, I shopped every single science for non-science majors class offered last spring. I then chose the class I had the most friends in, and it was great -— even better than that gut I took by accident. I actually had to do work, but I didn’t mind because I had friends. We did our problem sets together.

So this semester, having learned from these experiences, I have a new shopping philosophy. I am exclusively shopping classes with friends, and I’m having the best time, ever. If I make it to a classroom and don’t know a single person there, I leave. You wouldn’t go to Toad’s alone, so why would you take a class without at least one wingman?

So when I am sitting in a class (like American Photojournalism this week) and recognize everyone around me — even if that’s only from their impressive social media brands — I know that my shopping is working out well. (Those people are all my friends, right? Even though I have only spoken to a handful of them outside the filter of Instagram?) Anyway, the sense of security that comes from being in a room surrounded by these people is priceless.

Shop classes with your friends. I am pretty sure that is the best advice I can give on how to get a science credit, or any credit for that matter.

Do it because you want someone to welcome you to lecture on a rainy day, and because you don’t want your best friend in section to be your TF.

Or, do it because you know that you can depend on your friends, especially when you actually are hungover and can’t do anything except watch every episode of “Parks and Recreation,” “30 Rock,” and “Arrested Development” on Netflix. They’ll probably scan their notes and send them to you. Or they’ll be in bed with you, and then you can find an eager freshman like me, circa 2011, to go to class for the both of you.

Sincerely, Rebecca, turtle expert since freshman year


P.S. For my concerned readers, Arabella survived winter break, and is thriving.

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