From the Eyes of a Guest Student
I am a sophomore undergraduate student at National University of Singapore (NUS) and my major — Computational Biology — is one in which I have to take courses under multiple departments. This past semester was a majority-online one, save for a physical Algebra class, yet we are not allowed clashes in timetables, a problem which is more pronounced for me.
I was supposed to be enrolled in an Analysis class typically cleared in the sophomore year, but unluckily, its examination clashed with a very important introductory Computational Biology module that I needed to clear this semester. Adding to the disappointment is the professor being one described as bubbly, cheerful and engaging by his past students.
I was very discouraged by this development, at least until a friend of mine who majored in Mathematics advised me to shoot an email at the professor to ask him to allow me to be a guest in the module. Seeing nothing to lose by sending an email to the professor, I went to my workstation and typed a quick message about wanting to be taught by him in preparation for when I clear this class in the future. Within 10 minutes, a familiar “ping” sounded and the professor welcomed me cheerfully, even inviting me to take part in discussions and correct his notes.
I was overjoyed. Although the class was delivered fully online, I still managed to catch most of the lectures, although not at the assigned timeslot of 0800 hours which was frankly difficult for me to make. Indeed, the professor was as engaging as he was made up to be, and he dumbed down many things for people who did not understand. I even got to sit for quizzes and a test, but in an ungraded manner, and also discussed some homework questions with my peers who were officially enrolled. I did not feel hindered in any way, other than that I did not get to officially sit for the examination.
As a guest student, I definitely feel that I have learnt something useful and this will definitely help me next semester when I actually clear this class (under another professor, who is described as slightly more strict). A more important thing that I discovered is that if I had not participated, being a guest student would not have benefitted me as much. I can hence safely say that as long as one is interested in a certain topic, be it one that contributes to graduation, they can definitely learn a lot from guesting a class despite being a “half-angel, half-mortal” in said class.
Next semester, I already have one potential timetable clash, but even if not, I definitely see myself “crashing” some classes.