By Abbey Kelly
When fourth-year architecture student Cameron Sparrows put a callout for bird courses on a Ryerson Accepted Facebook group over the winter break, he was surprised with the results. Over 130 comments on the post were just detailed conversations on which courses are the easiest to pass.
But that’s not what Sparrows was looking for.
“All I wanted to know is what courses Ryerson has on birds,” Sparrows sighed. Birdwatching and ornithology are things Sparrows has been interested in since he was a child.
He hoped that reaching out on the Facebook group would be a good way to find the best courses on feathered creatures. But after the thread of easy courses, he turned to Google.
“I even changed my wording to ‘Ryerson course on birds’ and still it only shows easy courses,” Sparrows said. “I want a class about corvidae and psittaciformes—not a class so easy a turkey could do it.”
This is a recurring issue every semester. According to a report from the Capitalist Manifesto, it appears that there has been a 6.9 per cent decrease in students using the saying “Cs get degrees” online, meaning people actually want to get high GPAs.
It appears more students are hoping for better grades that require less time and energy. They use the term “bird course” to indicate they want a course so easy a bird could do it.
This confuses Sparrows and students like him who would like to study birds. Other students are dismissive of his issue.
Professor Takko Bowtit says easy classes are a staple at all universities. “It’s something that works out well for the students and the professors,” Bowtit said. “The students bump their GPA and have time for co-curriculars and their life. The professors look like they have done a good job and have more time for their research.”
He teaches the course history and culture in social media, a well-known bird course at Ryerson. He lets students miss five quizzes a semester and never requires them to attend a single lecture. One student, who asked to remain anonymous, said they saw him all alone in the classroom once. He was still giving the lecture to the empty room.
“Why come to Toronto to study birds?” Donna Pheedem, a first-year marketing student said. “We are in the middle of a concrete metropolis!”
It seems the pigeons around Toronto heard word of Pheedem’s comments, which Sparrows said were “insensitive.”
Phedeem believes the local Ryerson pigeons have been following her.
“It’s like they took offense or something,” she said as she looked around the front of the RCC shiftily. When Pheedem turned around and made brief eye contact with a few pigeons, they quickly flew away. A laugh rang out in the distance, but the only other person around the icy cold quad was Sparrows.
Comments that dismiss the study of birds in Toronto are ruffling Sparrows’ feathers.
Sparrows now avoids social media, especially Facebook, to continue working on his magnum opus for his architecture class. It’s like the other wooden structures scattered around the Pitman Quad, except it’s a massive birdhouse.
Often, the local city birds flock around him as he works since he keeps dried fruit in the front of his overalls and birdseed in his pockets. At least Sparrows has all these feathered friends to ease the tragedy that is Ryerson’s lack of bird courses.