The Class-Picking Conundrum
Picking classes can be a little daunting at first, especially when you're not sure how to balance meeting new people and finding new (or old) hobbies on top of a college workload. Fortunately, there's an easy solution to this conundrum: talking to upperclassmen! I wouldn't have taken many of my favorite classes without the guidance of my upperclassmen friends. Now that I'm no longer a freshman, I can happily give you a glimpse into the awesome classes I've taken here.
So here's an overview of my freshman year classes:
My advice: Remember that intro courses (courses ending in 01) tend to be larger and more difficult, and a great way to make them more personal is to connect with your profs. They will definitely give you exposure to different disciplines, but I'd suggest maybe not diving in right off the bat with three of them, especially considering that meeting new people your freshman fall is almost like another class (I'd suggest taking 1-2 intro classes and a smaller class so you can get a feel for different types of classes).
- The Price System (Econ 01) | Prof. Zarnowski
This class is the reason I chose to become an econ major. While at first Professor Zarnowski's occasional tangents confused me, I realized how his stories applied to the models and concepts we were working with in class after I took took him out to lunch. Econ 1 was a class where I really pushed myself, and I got a lot out of it (I even tutor it now). Aside from class, Frank (my prof) is just a really cool guy. He was even elected to the USA National Track & Field Hall of Fame.
- Intro to Computer Science (CS 01) | Prof. Jayanti
CS 1 was definitely my hardest class during fall term. Personally, the course was really frustrating, but a lot of my friends loved this class and decided to pursue CS majors afterwards. Professor Jayanti was a super enthused and dedicated lecturer, and I learned a lot in the class. I just wasn't prepared to take it my first term at Dartmouth.
- Intro to Sociology (Soci 01) | Prof. Campbell
Professor Campbell was an engaging lecturer with a lot of interesting insights. His lectures made me look forward to attending class even though this class began at 8:50 in the morning. Also, Jenny was my classmate for Soci 1 (and took a lot of other intro courses too), so you can read about her experience here.
My advice: While Hanover winters have a bit of a rep, they're actually rather peaceful. I really enjoyed my winter term! And a lot of that had to do with my course selection. I chose a diverse set of courses that played more to my strengths as a student, and I also got really close with my profs (I did, however, learn these strengths through my fall term challenges).
- Quantitative Political Analysis (Govt 10) | Prof. Nyhan
Chances are, you'll probably take one of the "10s" while you're here. These are basically statistics courses for different majors (and depending on your major many of them are interchangeable, although that's not usually recommended). While I'm pretty set on being an econ major, I found the course description for Govt 10 to be more interesting than Econ 10. Professor Nyhan was really excited about the course material, and also talked a lot about his personal research (he researched "fake news" before it was cool). The special thing about Nyhan's class was that it was also very interactive and he encouraged a lot of discussion in a class that's traditionally lecture-based.
- The Supreme Court (Writing 5) | Prof. Kalish
All freshmen take Writing 5 and choose a section based on what their interests are. Sections typically consist of around 16 students and are mostly discussion-based and designed to improve your writing. I was interested in learning more about the judicial branch of government, so I took Professor Kalish's section on the Supreme Court. While Writing 5 might seem dull because it's a required freshman course, it's my favorite class I've taken at Dartmouth thus far (with Public Speaking in a close second). Kalish genuinely cared about all of us and she actively scheduled times to meet with every single student to get to know us. My writing improved so much in this class, and Kalish is a stellar prof.
- Public Speaking (Speech 20) | Prof. Compton
I never would have thought about taking this class had an '18 (a senior) not suggested I take it. Public speaking has always scared me, but since I impulsively decided to join the parliamentary debate team sans debate experience in the fall, I thought this class might be a great way to improve my debating skills. I got so much more out of this class beyond better debating ability -- Professor Compton preached that public speaking is similar to a conversation, and we spent a lot of class working to form meaningful connections with our audience. As a result of this class, I've become more composed even during regular conversation and have gotten better at writing in different voices (like writing differently for speeches than for academic papers).
My advice: Spring term on campus is beautiful, and by this time you will have a much better idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are, so you'll be better at balancing your courseload. This term, I chose to take classes that would contribute towards my major or classes somewhat related to my major that might be helpful in the future.
- Macroeconomics (Econ 22) | Prof. Comin
- Linear Algebra (Math 22) | Prof. Puente
- Media & Politics (First Year Seminar) | Prof. Brooks
I don't have blurbs on these classes yet because I'm still in the middle of spring term. More on my spring term classes at Dartmouth will come later!
Also, just a reminder that this is only one of many student perspectives of a select number of classes. The challenging part about fall term is picking and choosing the advice that's relevant to you and the advice that isn't. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your spring and all of your summer, and I'll see all of you 22s in the fall!