Everybody has their weakness: Achilles had that heel, Superman had Kryptonite, and Samson had his hair. In De La Salle University (DLSU), each and every college has courses that make students wet their beds at night, and give them anxiety attacks all throughout the term.
What about DLSU’s smallest and newest college? The School of Economics (SOE) is home to the country’s future policy makers and researchers, but even though it seems like nothing can take the differentials out of these students, there are some courses that induce nightmares and shaky hands. This month, The Menagerie asked a handful of Economics majors about which courses scare the living daylights out of them.
The following subjects were given by the students to be the most difficult they have taken so far.
Placing 1st runner up in the beauty pageant of subjects that make one want to cry are intermediate microeconomics courses, MICREC1 and MICREC2, which greet students in full force during their second year. Instead of the high school knowledge tackled in ECONONE, MICREC1 and MICREC2 incorporate computations such as differential calculus to measure household and firm reactions to market forces.
After all, economics is not only about GDP, inflation, exchange rates, and the like. Instead, it really starts from the small structures of society such as households and firms. Students find intermediate microeconomics challenging due to the large amount of information that they have to comprehend. Given that exams are only administered two to three times during the term, every point is crucial.
Deemed the most difficult by some of our respondents are the econometrics subjects. At the heart of economics, it is completed in two terms here in DLSU. As one student said, this alien math subject is where statistics meets calculus meets the real world. If you’re scared of Xs and Ys, wait until you meet a plethora of Greek letters such as alphas, betas, lambdas, taus, and the rest of them, which will make you shake your head in despair and grind your teeth in frustration.
Usually handled by Dr. Cesar Rufino, econometrics is not for the faint of heart. Students have to study seven econometric models that are usually taught separately in foreign universities, and subsequently write their own research papers regarding a specific model. Some students say that this is of no use when they graduate, especially when they do not intend to pursue a career in research. Combining these facts together, getting a 1.0 in econometrics can already be considered a huge blessing.
The other side of the coin
Now it is time to change sides and ask which course is difficult to teach. Dr. Lawrence Dacuycuy is the dean of the School of Economics (SOE) and he shares with us that undergraduate Macroeconomics is no walk in the park.
“I think Macro is not straightforward to teach. Contrast ECONONE with Macro or with Microeconomics. Microeconomics is more appealing because you talk about behavior, you talk about outcomes that are expected, you talk about outcomes that deviate from what is considered to be optimal. In macro, it’s a different animal simply because there are concepts that are very difficult to explain.”
Standing on the shoulders of giants, there is a reason why economics students and graduates of DLSU hold their heads high. The School of Economics might be young and small, but based on its illustrious track record ever since its inception, it is destined for even greater things.
Words of advice for its students from Dr. Dacuycuy: ask questions if you don’t understand and form study groups. Heeding the advice of SOE’s distinguished dean is something to do if you want to survive the treacheries of studying economics.
*The article has since been edited for factual inconsistencies.