Photo: Skyler Ash

Why I’m not taking Economy and Environment

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

EYEducation: a series in which our fun editor goes to classes she doesn’t belong in.

By Skyler Ash

I stopped taking science in the tenth grade, and math in the eleventh. I don’t mind science, but I absolutely do not understand math whatsoever. Don’t believe me? I got 0/4 on a math quiz last semester (it was only worth 2 per cent and I was having a hard day, leave me alone!). So, I decided to tag along with a friend to ECN 511: Economy and Environment, two things of which I know basically nothing about.

I sit down, and a girl to my left asks me for a pen. It’s cool, I’m making friends. It’s all going very well. Then the teacher opens up the slides, and a whole mess of crap that I know nothing about pops up.

BCA? MD? WTP? EQ? In short, WTF?

It quickly becomes clear that I should have brought a laptop to take notes, because it’s five minutes into the lesson and I’m already three slides behind. I’ve seen so many acronyms that full words don’t look real anymore. I write the sentence, “add all WTPs to find the aggregate WTP.” It took me 20 minutes to discover that WTP meant ‘willingness to pay,’ whatever that means.

We’re 30 minutes in and all of a sudden the World’s Most Confusing Graphs appear:

Let me start off by saying that letters shouldn’t be in math. Math is for numbers and sadness and dreams gone to die. Letters have no business being in there. A guy in the front raises his hand and says he’s a bit lost. I’ve been lost since I sat down 40 minutes ago, so it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

Then the professor—who seems like a very lovely lady who has her life together and knows what she’s talking about—starts to ask us questions. “Come on guys, you know how to do this,” she says. I don’t know how to do this. I think I’ve understood one thing you’ve said in the last hour.

She decides we need a break, so people disperse and I have an existential crisis. The girl who borrowed my pen gives it back and leaves with all her belongings. I want to leave to, but I made a commitment and I’m going to stay the whole time. We reconvene after five minutes.

After the break, we go back to the graph. “It’s a bit tricky,” says the prof. Yes, because everything before this point has been smooth sailing. She moves onto a new graph, and there’s one shining moment that I actually understand what she’s talking about, and then she asks us to do some math, and I’m lost again.

I look around to see if other people are confused as I am and I see people scrolling through their phones, doing other work and even a girl online shopping. She picks out a nice dress and I realize I’ve been watching her so long that I missed four slides.

It’s an hour and a half into a three hour lecture and the girl I came with says we only have three slides to go. I decide I’m going to go out strong, and really focus on my notes. But then another freaking graph appears and I suddenly realize why I’m in journalism and not science or business or math.

The professor ends our class by saying that today was “confusing” and if we have any questions we should email her. Miss, I have several questions, but one of them is not, “why am I not enrolled in this class?” Because after almost two hours of economy and environment, I’m pretty sure I know that answer to that one.

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