The “bird course” fallacy

This is my current study jam for my EOSC 114: Natural Disasters midterm. It’s my very last midterm (holla!), and I have been submerging myself (get it?) in tsunamis and storms over the past couple of days on a mission to get a good mark.

The biggest lesson this course has taught me (aside from the fact that Vancouver is a very, very treacherous place to live) is that at UBC there is no such thing as a “bird course”– -you know, those courses that will send your GPA as high as a pyroclastic cloud from a Plinian volcanic eruption (see, I’m totally learning things in this class!).

After hearing multiple stories of my friends acing EOSC 114 with minimal effort, I went into this course looking for an easy A. I did super well on the first midterm,  gained false confidence, and decided to start slacking off. I fell behind on readings, missed a couple of lectures, and put it at the very bottom of my priority list. By the time the second midterm rolled around, I found myself cramming frantically the night before. Needless to say, it didn’t end very well: my mark was about 30% lower than my first one. So much for my GPA booster.

The moral of the story is that you should be careful about expectations going into classes. UBC is a challenging university, and every class is going to require a considerable amount of effort. Some courses are going to require a more considerable effort than others, but this is going to depend on the person, not on the class itself. So if you’re struggling in a “easy” course, don’t let it get you down (you’re in good company, after all!). On the flip side, if you’re working your butt off and rocking a notoriously difficult course, kudos to you. Keep doing what you’re doing.

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