University Hack

First year university courses suck. Chances are you’re in a huge class with at least 100 other students and the lecturer is a grad student whose English is hard to understand. These classes are pointless: you could just as easily watch a video of the lecture, or better yet just read the lesson and skip the lecture. Lectures are a terribly inefficient way of sharing information. Lecturing is a tradition that dates to the middle ages, before the invention of the printing press, when the best way to share information was to lecture to a class of students who would take notes. Nowadays, this method is horribly inefficient: the instructor reads his notes while the student attempts to both listen and write down what he says. Needless to say, much is lost in transmission. Sadly, while the rest of the world enters the information age, university courses are still taught with the ancient lecture method. The university still hasn’t fully adapted to the printing press, never mind the computer or the internet.

So what is one to do? Simple: take distance courses. Online or independent study. It probably won’t save you much money, but it can save you a load of time and effort. First, if you’re a fast learner you aren’t wasting any time in lectures aimed at slower students. Second, you completely avoid lectures and note-taking, and you’ll learn that much better. Third, you can work around your own schedule and if you can get all your courses by distance, you can completely avoid living on campus or commuting.

You’ll need to be self-motivated and disciplined, because it’s all too easy to neglect your coursework. If you’re a strong student, you’ll love it.