De La Salle University maintains eventful university lives for each and every one of its students. This is evident through its wide array of different colleges and the option to enroll for either a single or double-degree course. In spite of these colleges being distinct from one another, every student can agree to the presence of a common denominator: tough subjects.
We asked students from the College of Liberal Arts for their opinions on the most challenging subjects they have to take as part of their courses and a compiled lists of the subjects to watch out for as well as the tips and tricks on how to push through and get those elusive 4.0s.
Unfortunately, for the University’s most populous college, the hardest subjects fall into two categories: the most important, pre-thesis courses, or the – ahem – hassle floating subjects.
Let’s start with floating subjects.
- INTFILO. If Philosophy’s not your niche, you could limit yourself with your own reasoning and miss the whole point of the discussion. Plus there’s a tendency to drift away in your own stream of consciousness. With philosophers and their relentless names, terms, and contradicting views, you realize that memorization becomes necessary. Finally, how could we forget the pythons of Philosophy, the essays? Writing and submitting them could make or break one’s GPA.
- ENGLRES. Or as most students identify it, ENGLSTRESS. It’s hard because it requires extreme amounts of time and effort– in this context, time is equivalent to your willingness to spend long hours of research, while effort is exhibited through your skills in writing. Late-night coffee is optional.
- SPEECOM. Far be it from CLA students to be stereotypically “good speakers,” speeches prove worrying for some students as they are subdued by stage fright – showing their lack of confidence in front of their professors and classmates.
- MATAPRE and INTOECO. Even “simpler” floating courses are subject to scathing students’ learning experience. The fact that froshies take these subjects practically a year after graduating high school makes them all the more complex, as neither of the courses’ topics have been practiced since then.
Next, we decided to ask students from each course for their take on the toughest subjects – all you freshmen and sophomores out there who haven’t taken these yet, take notes – here’s what you need to look out for.
- THEORYO and THEORYC (Organizational Communication Majors). Majors for Organizational Communication are seasonal, so if students don’t pass one of the two, it delays them for a year. In particular, because THEORYC centralizes on multifaceted theories of communication, students are prone to confusion when professors expect specific answers.
- EXPSYCH, QUANRES and QUALIRE (Psychology Majors). These subjects are more research-based than most courses in Psychology, and therefore require much more work. On the other hand, some subjects don’t need much research to be hard – just memorization and a tough prof (worst combo ever). Take BIOPSYC: you could fall under a professor who would have students endure 50-item quizzes after having just discussed three chapters.
- JAPFORP, JAGOPOL and JAPEDEV (International Studies-Japanese Majors) / USAFORD and USAFORP (IS-American Majors) / INTLAW (IS-European Majors). If you think subjects in everyday English and Filipino are hard to learn, imagine having to take up a whole new language – or just learning about things in another country’s context. Such is the case for International Studies majors. With a lot of readings and coursework, plus a few tough professors, these IS majors have a lot on their plate.
- HISTOME (History Majors). Clearly, a tough subject requires a heavy workload. HISTOME is taken around a year before History Majors do their theses, and yet it serves to prepare them for the task ahead by being almost as tough with requirements and discussions. Therefore it may come as a shock to some, and definitely a challenge to all.
- VPRODUC (Communication Arts Majors). For a course whose output is mostly digital, requirements have an entirely different context. VPRODUC requires Comm. Arts Majors to produce well-planned, well-taken, and well-edited videos every week. That’s right; not just scripts or papers – videos. Because of the process it takes to make videos, this certainly poses a challenge.
- FICTWOR (Literature Majors). What’s tough for anyone taking up Literature? Taking everything you’ve learned and putting it into writing – quite literally. In FICTWOR, the final output is to make a story. Writing this story takes up the entire term and puts together every element they’ve learned.
- HUMAREM (Behavioral Science Majors). Our respondent from Behavioral Science mentioned something that’s familiar to many CLA students but was, surprisingly, unmentioned in the other items on this list: field work. Field work is tough especially in cases where time is of the essence, and students have to finish field work requirements above their usual papers and reports.
- QUANPOM and GOVPOLI (Political Science Majors). Because of the many twists and turns of politics, these majors struggle when they find themselves almost required to delve into international situations in order to compare and contrast politics, branching out into the cultural, religious and historical parts of many countries.
- CONMETA, PHILPRO and SENIRES (Philosophy Majors). The element of wonder is found in CONMETA as it exemplifies realms and semantics. On the other hand, PHILPRO and SENIRES are thesis subjects and are determined to be the most fundamental subjects of a Philosophy major’s college life.
- STATLIT (Development Studies Majors). Let’s be honest, sometimes even a floating subject can be particularly hard when it’s being taught by a tough prof. Our Development Studies respondents claim the difficulty in STATLIT depends on the teaching style – whether a professor is strict and constantly requires output, or approaches the students with more affirmation.
- SPEECOM (Philippine Studies Majors). Here’s another floating subject that can be even harder – or at least scarier – than your majors. We know we’ve already mentioned SPEECOM, but a Philippine Studies Major adds to the list of plights: “Writing speeches is one thing, delivering it in front of people I [hardly] know is another.”
With all these subjects to look forward to, what’s a CLA major to do? Don’t fret! Here are the tips from your upperclassmen on getting those precious 4.0s.
- Pay attention in class. This is pretty straightforward, but it also includes taking notes, listening to the prof rather than your seatmate, and staying off your phone for a while. Really, it’s just an hour and a half – you can reply later.
- Study your notes. If you followed Tip #1, this should automatically follow. You’d be surprised how many times taking good notes is all it takes to survive. And don’t worry about making them neat – even diligent scribbles on the margins can hold bits of important information.
- Time management is key. Be punctual. Especially for research subjects, maximize your time in the classroom as well as outside of it. For big projects, plan how you’ll make your output so you don’t rush into it. As an added bonus, keeping good attendance shows your professor you want a good grade, and you appreciate his or her time.
- Study – or practice – ahead. This minimizes panic for everyone from people taking either ENGLRES or SPEECOM. Simply put: a prepared student is a confident one.
- Come to class. We have cookies. Really, we can’t stress this enough. The last thing you want to do is miss an important discussion, reporting or submission. Plus, cutting class is just about a surefire way to see a dip in your GPA. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Overall, difficult subjects are more than just tough breaks. They’re also key stepping stones in your Lasallian journey. They teach you more than just knowledge; they give you experience and prove that any challenge can be overcome. Who knows, this lesson just might be what helps you most in the future!