My Favorite Classes Freshman Year
I've now completed four out of my twelve "on" terms on campus. (I've finished 1/3 of my time at Dartmouth, and I had never even been to Hanover this time last year!) And while I've still got more than halfway to go, I've taken some pretty amazing classes here already. Here are my favorites (not necessarily in order):
- No. 1
Writing 5: The Supreme Court
Every freshman is required to take both a Writing 5 and a First-Year Seminar; that, or take Humanities I and II. I chose to go the Writing 5 route because there's a wide variety of course options (you can take a Writing 5 about anything from food to sports medicine). I took The Supreme Court (taught by Professor Kalish) because it seemed like an interesting subject, and I was (obviously) not disappointed.
I cannot express how phenomenal this course was (it is definitively the best class I've ever taken), but I'll try my best: Professor Kalish somehow guided discussions in a productive direction without dominating them (in fact, she usually just asked really insightful questions and let us take the wheel from there). Professor Kalish also held weekly office hours with everyone. Through these individual office sessions, she not only helped me become a better writer (and change the way I approached essay-writing), she also connected with me on a personal level. (One of my good friends and I also took her out for lunch.) I always looked forward to going to class, and I felt proud of all the work I submitted in this class.
Who knew that you could love a required course so much?
- No. 2
Micro, Macro, and Introductory Economics
Call me a #snek, but I've loved every single economics course I've taken here. I've taken two of my three profs out to lunch because I loved their classes so much. I find the subject really interesting and just the right amount of challenging. If you're at all interested, I'd suggest at least taking one econ course to see if you like it!
Photo: Celebrating the snowfall after our econ final!
- No. 3
As a dedicated doodler, taking my first formal art class was definitely something I wanted to do in college. So I had high expectations going in. While the class required many late nights in the studio (sometimes just drawing still objects), they paid off! I think many people expect to improve in technical skill from an art class (and yes, Drawing 1 delivers in that department), but I found the most interesting part of the class to be the section on composition (i.e. what to leave out, what to emphasize, etc.). I'd never really thought of every line in a drawing as a deliberate part of it, so learning about composition helped me generate my own style. I went into this class thinking that it would be the only art class I'd ever take, but I'm now actually considering a studio art minor because I loved it so much!
Photo: Taken in the process of completing one of my final drawings.
- No. 4
Public Speaking with Professor Compton is one of those famed classes at Dartmouth that almost everyone wants to take at some point. Better yet, it lives up to the hype! As someone who only started debating or doing any sort of public speaking in college, I really looked forward to taking this class because it had the potential added benefit of helping my debating skills. And yes, spoiler alert: this class did indeed make me a better debater! Not only that, Public Speaking helped me become generally more composed and thoughtful in regular conversation. Seriously, take it!
- No. 5
Physics 3: General Physics
Most people I know are automatically apprehensive when it's time to take a physics class. And personally, I wasn't too excited to take this class either. Physics 3 is mandatory for pre-med students (which composed most of my class) and a pretty common core class for a variety of majors. Obviously (since I've listed it here) it turned out to be one of my favorite classes! Professor Ouellette (Jeremy, if you're homies with him) made a concerted effort to make the class interesting. He frequently did live demonstrations to show what we learned in real life. One such demo was for the law of conservation of energy. He made a pendulum out of a giant metal ball and used it to shatter a cinder block as a way of showing the "legitness" of this "death-defying experiment." He then put the ball to his chin, released it, and stayed in the same spot until the ball swung back and just grazed his chin. Needless to say, this class was great.
Photo: The aesthetic door to physics.