Sherman Ave Freshman Guide: Academics

10 Aug

So apparently, Northwestern University is a pretty damn good school. But what should you do after you get in? Here at Sherman Ave, we have been painstakingly researching the answers to all the questions incoming freshman were always too afraid to ask, as well as the questions that we totally wished we had thought of before entering this bastion of academic integrity. Our first topic? How to navigate Northwestern’s sea of academic options to engineer the greatest education possible.

Hanging out in libraries like this will make you feel smart

Northwestern’s various schools help to foster academic communities, and also provide one of the best ways to make snap judgments about your peers. From Medilldos to engineers, you can figure out 95% of all the necessary information about somebody else based on their school. So choose wisely, or else you’ll end up explaining what the acronym SESP means for the rest of your life.

Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
For some reason, Northwestern decided that it would be a great idea to group pre-meds and creative writing majors together under the same roof. No melees have broken out recently, although occasional street scuffles between art history and chemistry majors still flare up along Sheridan. But most importantly, Weinberg provides its students with a reading week, a.k.a. “drinking week,” before each round of finals, an essential time period in any undergrad’s drinking career. And don’t worry if your grandparents rag on you for not pursuing a “real” major — Weinberg makes it exceptionally easy to lie and say that you’re working on a double major in poli-sci to augment your current English major.

School of Communication
Welcome to the Hufflepuff of Northwestern. Composed of affable students learning how to serve absolutely no purpose in their society upon graduation, Comm is a haven for those who aspire to be DJs, ballerinas, and failed actors. Nobody really knows what classes in Comm entail, mostly because few students ever attend said classes, but they seem to involve a lot of watching TV.

School of Education and Social Policy
Few enter this school at first, but many will leave. Upon discovering that they aren’t good at much else, many students enter SESP to become teachers and live out their life-long dream of spending six hours a day surrounded by adolescents. The other portion of the school is devoted to social policy, a code word for kids from Westchester looking to rebel against the conformist society around them by bitching about the lack of vegan options in the cafeteria.

McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Want to get laid during your undergrad years? No? Then this school is for you!

Medill School of Journalism
Print media is dying a painful and prolonged death, so there’s really no better time than the present to enter the field of journalism! In Medill, you will learn how to covertly use your friends as sources, spend lots of money on Adobe software, and cover the inane events of Evanston with more pep and gusto than sorority girls during rush week. And if you’re lucky, there might even be an internship at the North Platte Bulletin waiting for you at the end of the year.

Bienen School of Music
Bienen students, be warned: you will be expected to practice an obscene number of hours in a day, grow a goatee, and loudly talk about Rachmaninoff in coffee shops. But once you get past that, you’ll realize that you’re still a music major, which is probably a pretty cool and fulfilling thing to do with your life.

Odds are you’ll end up changing your major approximately 12 times a year, so you want to start off with a major that sounds cool while introducing yourself to other people. Zoology is clearly the ideal choice, but unfortunately Northwestern refuses to offer it despite our repeated objections and the fact that less practical options like “economics” are still provided. So the key here is knowing how to appeal to the person you’re talking to.

Choose carefully...

For instance, while talking to parents you should let them know that you’re working on a pre-med, pre-law, or econ major. But hipsters that you’re trying to impress would much rather hear majors like Art History, Philosophy, and Russian Lit, while you’re much better off going with Gender Studies if you’re trying to seduce a potential love interest. Lying is a subtle art that is only gradually mastered at college, so don’t worry if you make a couple of mistakes like telling a hot girl you’re an electrical engineer or admitting to being a jazz studies major to a potential employer. Most people will just be so enthused by your Northwestern degree that they won’t bother asking you what exactly a major in Radio/Television/Film entailed.

Unfortunately, it is no longer considered acceptable to ask a prof to have class outside

Now that you have a major, or at least a fake one, you do actually need to go to classes. But don’t worry, they need not consume a large investment of effort on your part. Here are three simple rules to ensure a great fall quarter:

1. Never, under any circumstances, schedule a class that starts before ten in the morning. Even a 10:30 lecture is pushing it. Also keep in mind that you will want plenty of time to recover from Keg Mondays, Winking (Wednesday Drinking), Thirsty Thursdays, or whatever other days you come up with on your road to borderline alcoholism.

2. Read CTEC’s. CTEC’s are student-submitted evaluations of courses, professors, and TAs, and are an invaluable resource. You really just need to read whatever people submitted in all capital letters to get a good feel for the course. Personally, I find quotations like “OMG THIS CLASS WAS SO HARDDDDDDD!!!!!!!” to be among the most useful.

3. Find out if the class involves live sex demonstrations. The information might come in handy in the future.

Statistics show that 87% of all students with laptops in lecture are currently on facebook

Note, not necessarily a good work ethic. A very important aspect of college is learning how to do the work that is necessary, not necessarily all of the work. The trick is finding out how much time you have to spend on your assignments while maximizing your time spent Sporcling, watching movies on netflix, making friends, and sinking into a hopeless pit of debauchery. We wish you luck.

Alright, so now you should all be experts about Northwestern academics. Stay tuned for future installments of the Freshman Guide, where we intend to get to issues that truly matter, like how to sneak into the Keg and the true extent of Morty Schapiro’s supernatural powers.

Hey Freshies!!! Got any pressing questions you want our panel of experts to answer? Send them to us at, and we’ll answer your questions quicker than students rushing to hot cookie bar at Hinman (you’ll understand soon enough)

6 Responses to “Sherman Ave Freshman Guide: Academics”

  1. muschicontrol February 17, 2013 at 4:10 am #

    I haven’t checked in here for a while because I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂


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