Advice on Module Choices
The lack of optional modules in the first year of Classics made me so excited about the prospect of choosing my topics for second year. I saw it as a chance to narrow down into what really interested me about my degree, and after the enjoyable, yet introductory style of first year I couldn’t wait to delve further into the specifics of the course. As it draws round to the time of module selection, here are a few bits of advice I can give to those who will be going through the process of module selection in the future.
Firstly, (and I know this is a bit late for this year), go to the module briefing. I found this extremely useful last year in determining which modules I would take, and I know several people that regretted the outcome of not attending this. It may seem like a nuisance when you’ve got essay deadlines and revision to do, but it really does give a great insight into what each module has got to offer. Before I went to the module briefing last year, I was unsure whether I wanted to take Food and Drink, or City of Rome and the briefing helped me make my decision. I was excited about City of Rome because it involved a heavy archaeological aspect, which a lot of modules don’t. However, a few of my friends took the module without going to the briefing and later told me if they’d realised this was such a large part of the course, they wouldn’t have chosen it. For this reason, the module briefing can be essential in making the right decision for you.
Secondly, as much as they told you at school never to choose a class for the teacher, at uni it’s not such a bad idea. I’m not saying that you should base your entire decision on this, but when you have to sit through two-hour sittings of one lecturer, you want them to be a good one. Of course, all the lecturers at Warwick are excellent in their field of research, but not all lecturers have a style that suits everyone. So, if you know that the lecturer for the module you’re dithering about choosing speaks too fast or organises lectures in a way that doesn’t suit your learning style, it’s worth giving their module a miss. Luckily, I haven’t experienced any big issues with my lecturers this year, but I know it can make even the most interesting module hell if you feel lost or confused at any time.
It’s also not a bad idea to do some research. Most of the module pages will have overviews of topics and some recommended bibliography. Although I’m not suggesting you go to the library and read all of them (unless you’ve got some SERIOUS time on your hands, in which case good for you and where can I get some?!), it can be a good idea to look further into the topics the module offers to make sure it’s definitely what you’re interested in.
Finally, you’ve got to come to terms with the fact that, although there is something for everyone, the modules you choose will never be perfect. You might have to spend a few more lectures looking at pottery than you might like, or only touch briefly on a subject that really interests you within the general sphere of the module. That’s something we all have to accept; each module in the department can only offer a certain amount of information, otherwise we’d go on for years and be drowning in it by exam time. The best way to treat a module is as the tip of a very interesting iceberg; if you hear something briefly in a lecture that interests you, that’s the point where you can take it into your own hands and head to the library to find more information, or email your lecturer to ask more about it. It’s true what they say; uni is what you make of it, so don’t expect to be spoon-fed.
I hope this has been helpful if you’ve been struggling to choose your modules, and remember to fill in the form as soon as you’re sure on your choices, because popular modules fill up fast! As always, if you want to ask any questions or share your own advice, don’t hesitate to do so in the comments!