The two-week spree where our dearest Daddy Yale lets us browse online boutiques, try things on for size and snag the trendiest classes off the rack is finally over. For some of us, shopping period is retail therapy. For others the cognitive process of choice is debilitating. Either way, it’s good practice to take some time to reflect on our purchases. What is in style? What are the semester’s most overrated fads? What classes have become G-Cal staples? Here is the definitive rundown of this season’s shopping period.
It would be a crime not to begin without acknowledging the hottest it-class of the spring: “Bioethics and Law.” With over 600 undergrads shopping, if you haven’t added it to your primary worksheet at least once this semester, are you even a Yale student? Sporting “Bioethics” guarantees to transform us into the hip college kids we’ve always dreamt of being: able to list all of the shockingly shitty things the U.S. government has done without having to really work for it. Furthermore, it’s the only prerequisite political science majors need to feel qualified to write national healthcare legislation. Thus, picking up this class is kind of like picking up the non-prescription hipster glasses with metal frames. We hate how popular they are. We hate how they make the person wearing them seem smarter than they really are. But they look damn good. This makes Bioethics the ultimate bang for your buck.
Speaking of sex and deer, when 330 Yalies said that they wanted a class with below a 2.5 CourseTable workload rating about in-real-life Game of Thrones and that they wanted it now, Daddy Yale delivered “Vikings.” About blond-haired, blue-eyed men who need a lesson in consent, this class was built so that frat boys could learn about pre-industrial…frat boys. With a mediocre reputation, it is also a place where STEM majors sacrifice the quality of their humanities distributional requirement for an easy A that will keep their GPA in the running for med school. Shopping “Vikings” is essentially the equivalent of shopping for a Patagonia parka: it plays a large role in white history and is seen by the old-boys’ club as a staple when really it’s just kinda douchey. Do history majors ever actually take this class?
But lectures are fast, cheap fashion. As advocates of a liberal arts education, Yalies care most about shopping high-quality, exclusive and pretentious group jerk-offs we like to call seminars. In this area of the market, “Atheism and Buddhism” is by far the most popular course. With 80 people vying for around 20 spaces, the students who get into this class are those very special snowflakes who will use their $80,000 tuition to convince themselves they don’t care about material things. Thus, shopping this class is like going into Free People and trying on a cardigan you want to look like you got from the thrift store. In all fairness, the people who do get into this class end up looking like Zen boho-queens, probably because they are. Unlike those of us who never escape our inner angst unless we are relentlessly climbing the socio-economic ladder, they are far less likely to sell their souls to Wall Street.
However, just because some of us can spend our lives in maxi-skirts doesn’t mean that most of us aren’t shopping with the hopes of looking like we belong to the professional elite. Out of the top ten most shopped lectures, four were stats classes. This semester, a whopping 15 percent of Yale undergraduates shopped stats classes cross-listed as either Global or EP&E. These classes are the evidence that non-STEM majors actually can get down to work and pick up some seriously practical skills. As a staple of any social science major’s schedule, it’s the equivalent of trying on a button-up, black slacks and cheap loafers from H&M to launch undergraduates into the workforce. This is where all of those seminars on economic inequality and racial justice can be quantified to do some real good, in addition to being where we finally learn how to use Excel for our inevitable futures in finance. Are stats classes overrated? No. They are the singular reason graduating classes become rich enough to support the endowment.
About halfway down the list of the most shopped courses is “Intro Psych,” which is basically the academic manifestation of the oversized hoodie, Birkenstock, HydroFlask and scrunchie combo. This class is populated with girls who want to know why the guy they made out with at Dog House doesn’t have the cognitive decency to text them back and why their best friend Tiffany has daddy issues but doesn’t want to know why anyone would use an fMRI. Intro Psych may be seen as an unsophisticated class when compared to parallel courses in cognitive or neuroscience, but we should give respect to those people who decide to study what we are all really wondering: how our childhoods influence our romantic relationships and sex lives… the precursor to a never-ending cycle of angsty horny children. At the end of the day we are only brains in a skull with the ultimate goal of procreation. Why fight it? Thus, I would controversially argue that “Intro Psych” is a fashionable choice for any season.
So after a couple weeks of shopping the courses that parallel Patagonias and prescriptionless glasses, we have finally made the purchases that define our own niche within the preppy monolith that is Yale fashion. Are you happy with what you got? Did you fall into any cliches? Despite your best efforts, did you just not know what you truly wanted? Do you feel insecure that all of your friends’ G-cals are objectively cuter? If this is the case, I would like to remind you that this is the nature of shopping. At the end of it all, we should remember to be grateful that we have the opportunity to influence the composition of an education we can wear for the rest of our lives.
Maya Weldon | email@example.com