Friday, September 2, 2016

Past and Future Favorites: My Classes This Semester

University Life 159
Flickr Credit: Francisco Osorio
Every third Friday I answer questions regarding my experiences as an English major in college. Today’s question comes from Jameson C. Smith from Lovely Whatsoevers, which she asked on Twitter:

To be clear: I’ve had an overwhelmingly positive experience in almost all my classes. I come home every day feeling like I’ve learned something cool. I’ve had great teachers. And my school has a thing for putting me out of my comfort zone, which I hate, but it is good for me. Even though I’m only sharing a handful of classes with you, they aren’t exceptions to the rule. Every class has given me something good.

Past Favorites

The Idea of the University—freshman writing seminars ensure that you can write for college (and I can). This meant a lot more than that. On the one hand, it explored what a university education is and why I might want one. We also took field trips, had tea, watched films, etcetera. This class helped me understand that I would enjoy college not just because of what I’d learn, but also because I’d be learning within an amazing community as well.

World Wars of the Twentieth Century and the Culture of Death—we did a butt-ton of reading in this class. Fallen Soldiers, Rites of Spring, The Fire, Catch-22. I haven’t had to read so much for a class since! Still, I gained a lot of insight into twentieth-century warfare and a little more respect for how it impacted today’s world. Though it was hard, it was a good challenge in a good class.

Tradition and Innovation—this class made a point of focusing on the stories of Native and African Americans and compassionate listening. It was especially pertinent considering our current political atmosphere. I am better because I took that class. For assignments we had to have conversations with people in our communities, and those were meaningful experiences for me.

American Lit Survey—I adored this class. The reading was great, with works from Faulkner and Plath and Alexie and DeLillo and so many other great writers. But the people in the class made it what it was, too. They were very smart and there was a lot of good humor, and during a game we played to study our midterm my team imagined the ghost of Adolf Hitler in drag. So.

Favorites-To-Be (I hope!)

Literary Analysis—though I anticipate greatness from all of my English classes this semester, I really look forward to this one. I spent our first day in stitches as we had a great discussion regarding “the symptoms of being an English major.” Also, I’ve looked at the syllabus and we are going to read such great stuff.

Sociology—considering what I read in the news and even the discussions I’ve followed on Twitter, sociology has a lot to teach me. I don’t really know what class will look like yet, but I’m ready to learn.

Theology of the Twentieth Century—this is another class that piques my interest, just ‘cause. I suppose I’m hoping for a lot from this class because we’re studying from a fairly different perspective than what I hear at church, and I like what I’ve heard in class better.

I have quite a semester ahead of me. I expect, like always, I’ll have my thoughts provoked, my assumptions questioned, and my fancies tickled by these subjects. I can’t wait!

Thanks for your question, Jameson!

What classes are you taking this year?


  1. Lately, I've been thinking about university and I got a little worried. It seems very tiring, going to school from 9 to around 6 o'clock and I'm afraid of going to university next year. In case I collapse from exhaustion.

    When you said, "we did a butt-ton of reading" I laughed on the inside. 'Cause, y'know... you wrote "butt-ton". Haha *scratches head nervously*

    I'm going to pre-uni which starts on Monday and... I'm doing Pre-University Arts. I'll be doing European studies.

    1. Ah, that's pretty intense. It can be exhausting sometimes, but hopefully you will find it worth it?

      It is okay, I am of a sophomoric inclination as well!

      Those both sound like interesting subjects—I hope you enjoy your studies!

  2. Your classes sound really cool-- especially the death one. WE get a month to do a project at the end of each year, and I want to focus on literary representation of death (e.g. Terry Pratchett vs. The Book Thief vs. Sabriel) This year I"m really excited about Indian Lit and Creative writing, and my Ap Research project is about the connectionbetween mythology and light pollution which is AWESOME (I'm so obsessed with Light pollution it's not even funny). And then I'm taking AP stats and Orchestra and AP English Lit and Psych, which are all varying levels of cool. And I help a music teacher teach beginning music strings classes which is alternately great, funny and awful. (beginning strings students basically suck so)I'm excited for university next year, wherever I choose to go.

    1. That one was interesting yes (although the death was legitimately depressing, actually. There was not fun death). Your project on the portrayal of death sounds really cool, though! It sounds like you have a goodly amount of challenging and interesting classes, so all my best as you work your way through them and also university. :)

  3. Interesting, interesting.... *nods* Can I just say that all these classes have such great titles. Like not just '20th century warfare' but culture of death? It sounds really cool (and more interesting) when you can have a class that is focussed on only on one thing (like theology in the 20th century) instead of something really broad (like world history, or Christianity, say). I guess you can go more in-depth. University sounds very learn-y *nods*

    1. Yeah, in college the class names usually have to be specific, especially for upper-division courses. If you're going to be learning the basics then something as simple as "Literary Analysis" or "Philosophical Explorations" will do, but getting a degree is about learning several specific disciplines. So. Yes. It is very learn-y indeed.

  4. Sociology is great--I took it last semester and learned so much. Most of my classes this semester are science-focused, but I'm taking an "Intro to Visual Art" elective that's been fun so far. I'm also taking psychology, which I like even more than sociology.

    1. Yay for both science AND art! Psychology and sociology are both very interesting... different opinions, definitely, but both give us a better picture of our world.

  5. The World Wars and Culture of Death sounds like an intriguing class, as does Tradition and Innovation. The interviews sound like fascinating experiences as well. :)

    The discussions that come from Lit classes are the best parts! :) I can't wait to see which books you're enjoying most this semester. It's been fun seeing what you've been reading already.

    Thanks for answering my question, by the way! I hope you have an awesome semester!

    1. So they were! I was a little wary of the interviews at first, but I think they were worth it in the end.

      Yes! I love discussions, so I guess it is a great thing that my school maintains classes small enough to enjoy that stuff. :) I'll be sure to chat about my favorite books of the semester later.

      Of course, and thank you!


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