What was the easiest class you took at Yale?

What was the name of the class and what made it easy for you?

In the conventional sense, my easiest class was the kind of class that Yalies refer to as a “gut”. It was colloquially referred to as “Mambo” and had been considered a gut for decades (it’s no longer taught). Despite the lack of rigorous testing or assignments, I dropped the class because I was so bored by the material that I found the tests difficult to study for.

The class that I actually found the easiest was a class called “Perspectives on Human Nature”. It was cross-listed as a philosophy/psychology/cognitive science class, and it was taught by a famous professor named Joshua Knobe. In short, the class was easy because I thoroughly enjoyed the reading and lectures.

But I don’t want to deliver a moral lesson about not taking guts. Yale’s “guts” can be known as such for several reasons:

  1. They are really enjoyable, and as such they don’t feel difficult.
  2. They cover silly sounding material, but turn out to be hard.
  3. They are created to help students fulfill a distributional requirement (e.g. science or quantitative reasoning), and are inconsistent with a department’s more demanding offerings (e.g. high-level physics classes).
  4. The professor just doesn’t realize that their class has become easy (sometimes the professor catches on and the “gut” suddenly becomes demanding in the space of a semester).

With this in mind, taking a gut might be a good idea, or it might be a bad one.