1st Year :The Academic Side of Second Term


Hope ya'll are doing well in these COVID-y times, welcome to the academic recap of my second term at Simon Fraser University! If you're here reading this, I hope this gives you some insight into some courses SFU offers and you learn from my mistakes.

To set the scene: It is Spring 2020, the snow is starting to fall and you're hopeful about the term ahead. It may be cold, construction on Burnaby Campus may be everywhere but it's a brand new chance to redeem the disaster that was first term. Little do you know classes are about to all be online because of a global pandemic. Ok, glad we're all in the same mindset now.

I took another four course load for the Spring term, which totalled up to 13 credits with courses in Economics, Business, Geography and Philosophy.

BUS272: Behaviour in Organizations

The general introduction to the HR concentration that lends itself as a required course for Business majors (me)! I had a good time in BUS272, a lot of people tend to downplay it but I quite enjoyed it. We went over motivation theories; how mood, perception and values impact behaviour; how the structure of systems impact behaviour and outcomes. Essentially, the title of the course explains it very well. The one thing I'd stress about this course is the readings, lecture was great for introducing concepts and getting examples of how they play out in the workplace but application is where it gets tricky.

Workload: Group paper, participation, couple small assignments, lots of reading, midterm and final.

PHIL120W: Moral and Legal Problems

A course about ethical philosophy! If you don't like discussing controversial topics, this course isn't for you. We went over tons of arguments for and against topics like abortion, meat eating and a few philosophical puzzles. Personally, the puzzles were my favourite. I didn't love this course as much as I thought I would but I did learn a lot about writing and argument structure.

Workload: Three papers, participation and a final.

One of the puzzles we went over was the trolley problem, which if you're like me and didn't know, is not about whether to kill one or five people. If you care, I explain it here (please keep in mind I am not an expert so, if this is off, hmu):

The Trolley Problem proposes a variety of cases which involve deeming whether an individual is morally allowed to kill one person in order to save five others. The most prominent case is that of a driver, who has lost control of his train, and must divert it to a runoff killing one or do nothing, the result of which kills five. Our initial intuition may be to allow the killing of the one because it saves the lives of five other people. Yet the variations we can put on a simple case like this lead to dissimilar reactions. All of which propose the same fundamental issue, is it permissible to kill the one to save the five? The trolley problem isn’t about whether or not we should kill the one but, why is it permissible to kill the one in some scenarios yet not in another whose circumstances beg the same answer. The task at hand is then to find the right moral principle which explains the variations’ effect on the outcomes and why that is the most justified explanation compared to our intuitions.


GEOG111: Earth Systems

I will start by admitting I severely underestimated the toughness of this course. 7/10 would've actually studied for the second quiz, but here I am! If you're from BC, this course is a throwback to Geography 12. If I were to retake this course, I'd pay attention to lecture exclusively and then ask more questions during lab time so that I knew what was happening on the lab exam. Fair warning: math is involved. Is a B-Sci too.

Workload: Two quizzes, four labs, and two separate finals for the lab and course material.

ECON103: Principles of Microeconomics

Lots of graphs, stress, and material. I'm a little salty toward this class, did not do well in it but I gotta say I had a pretty good attitude toward it throughout the term. Only class I didn't get bored of all term- at any time, humbled me with that final grade, and my prof was great. Lowkey intimidating but there if you needed help and could probably start a successful podcast. This is a required course for Business, so, if you don't have to take it, it is nice to have insight into the economy. If you have to take it, good luck, everything you hear is true.

Workload: Midterm and final- aka hella practice problems.

A month and a bit before finals COVID happened to the world, this had me pack up my dorm and on the first ferry home within a week of classes being announced that they were transitioning online. Lectures got shorter, more concise, and participation in tutorials got more awkward. Teamwork became more challenging but it is a skill to be adaptable and this could definitely be described as a reminder to be so. In no way was the transition smooth though, it was definitely a rough couple weeks as class format got solidified.

All in all, this course load was great! Probably would've taken one more course, that was on the lighter side, honestly. Learned a lot of information this term, slightly overwhelming in the middle but better off for it!

My tip: Don't underestimate the "easy" class


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