“It’s the best class. We learn the most interesting things,” said LSA freshman David Eisenberg about his Introduction to Psychology class. Strangely enough, while Eisenberg made this statement, he was skipping the class and standing outside the lecture. “I had a lot of work to do, studying for accounting,” he explained.
As mismatched as this scene seems, Eisenberg’s case of praising Psych 111 while skipping the class only goes along with the seemingly paradoxical results from the “Best of Ann Arbor” poll – Psych 111 once again was voted as both “Best course” and “Best blow-off course”.
“I think (Psych 111) is a historical artifact. Perhaps it was (a blow-off course) years ago and that legend lives on. But I wish it would go away because it’s a rude awakening to students when it isn’t,” deliberated Ann Merriwether, a lecturer for one section of Psych 111.
“You can earn a good grade if you’re willing to work hard. It’s a do-able course, but you can’t coast,” Merriwether said, refuting some perceptions some students may have. She added, “We demand that students think critically.”
And even if the course is “do-able”, Merriwether also pointed out that Psych 111 might not be the easy A students thought it would be.
“Our grades are not remarkably higher than other courses. We tend to hit the average that most intro level Michigan courses hit,” she said.
GSI Stephen Rassi added, “We have people coming to us right now that are really stressing out because they’re afraid that they’re not going to get that B-minus they wanted to get.”
Despite these points, some students feel differently.
“I’m a science major, and compared to my normal workload, (Psych 111) is really easy. We just had to do a course evaluation, and on a scale of one to five for workload, I gave it a two,” said LSA sophomore Adam Lubert.
However, just because the class may not be difficult does not mean that it’s a blow-off class.
“It’s actually not the best blow-off course because we have quizzes and thought exercises and you cannot miss those. So that’s why I come to class… almost every time,” Eisenberg said, noticing the slight irony of his situation.
Whether or not Psych 111 is a blow-off course is nothing short of a controversy. But students, lecturers and GSIs find common ground on the class’s merit for winning “Best Course” in the Best of Ann Arbor poll.
“It’s a great class, it’s very interesting. Like development, dreams, consciousness-it’s dope stuff,” said Chris Dennis, a LSA freshman who is Eisenberg’s partner-in-crime in skipping class.
Lubert shares similar sentiments and added that aspects of the class that may make it seem like a blow-off actually add to the attractiveness of the course.
“It covers a wide range of topics and it’s an interesting course. It’s also not a huge workload. You can learn a lot about interesting stuff without doing a ton of work to get a fairly decent grade,” he said.
Some students also feel that even if they think Psych 111 isn’t difficult, it also isn’t just another easy course. “I’ve had some pretty easy courses that are just awful because you don’t learn anything and nothing’s interesting. (Psych 111) might be easy, but it’s also an interesting subject,” said Lubert.