A Term for Exploration: My Sophomore Fall Recap!
Since I arrived at Dartmouth, my interests, plans, and focuses have all shifted tremendously. In my freshman spring, I wrote about changing my course of study and leaving behind the pre-med path. With that experience and the advice of a few faculty mentors in mind, I decided to ignore preconceived notions about what I should take in my sophomore fall. Instead, I chose three classes that were admittedly a bit scattered, but which I found enthralling and rewarding.
- No. 1
The American Political System
Taking this introductory government class amidst the 2020 presidential election was definitely one of the top three decisions I’ve made in my Dartmouth journey. The class would be relevant regardless of the term, but I found it especially enriching to be able to discuss current events in the context of political science class. We read articles about topics ranging from how coronavirus surges effect partisan voting, to the effect of political institutional structure on racial inequality. One particular discussion that stands out to me was shortly after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, in a week where we had just been discussing the Supreme Court. Despite the class being virtual, the discussion reminded me of my favorite part of Dartmouth – my kind, thoughtful, and intelligent classmates.
- No. 2
Introduction to Computer Science
I’ve always liked puzzles, so I took Introduction to Computer Science (known as CS1 around campus) in hopes of channeling some of that passion into the classroom. Turns out, that was an excellent idea! Once I got a hang of the coding language basics (Python, for any of you gurus out there), everything that I learned in lecture and from the textbook became a tool for solving whatever puzzles I might come across. Our grades in CS1 came from assignments that asked us to create drawings, interactive maps, and a ping pong game! Working on the homework and exams was a welcome change of pace from my other classes, which were more reading and writing heavy. Plus, coding literacy is a great skill to have moving forward, no matter where I end up!
- No. 3
Religion and Social Struggle
My third class of sophomore fall was focused on religion, a subject I never expected to study in a Dartmouth classroom! However, in the spirit of exploration, and after reading the course description, which described three case studies on religion’s role in social movements, I enrolled. After reading a few foundational pieces on religion’s role in the world, we began discussing the role of religion in Native American resistance movements, the Black Lives Matter Protests, and Hong Kong liberation protests. For each of these case studies, we had big and small group discussions, did lots of reading, and were visited by guest lecturers. My favorite case study was on the Black Lives Matter protests, when we were visited by Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, a Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, which was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hearing from such an influential figure on such a relevant and important topic was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had in a classroom.