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Inside Baker-Berry Library at the main desk in the quiet of night.

I've thoroughly enjoyed all of the courses I've taken at Dartmouth. Each course and instructor brings a unique perspective to the liberal arts experience and provides a new set of challenges each term. Although I'm a STEM student at heart with a particular emphasis on meteorology (the study of the weather), many of my favorite courses at Dartmouth have been outside of this academic discipline. Of course, I have a separate love for courses like meteorology, climate dynamics, and physics, but I've learned there's an entirely different enjoyment surrounding courses scattered around the liberal arts curriculum:

First Year

Fall: My first term on campus, I took Meteorology (EARS 14), Calculus I (MATH 003), and a First-Year Writing Course (WRIT 005). Meteorology was fantastic, but my writing course was a unique, philosophy-based course questioning the emergence of consciousness in humans. I learned from other students in the class, contributed to discussions, and received constructive feedback on my papers. This was such a great course!

Winter: During my second term on campus, I took a government seminar course titled, "Does Democracy Work?" The discussion-based classes every Tuesday and Thursday morning fueled my energy for the day, and I loved the clashing of opinions from my peers and from my instructor. This was the first time my real-life experience have helped me understand course material, and it was fascinating!

Spring: Wrapping up my first year, I took a course in the religion department titled, "REL 005: Early Christianity – The New Testament." This is perhaps my favorite class that I've taken at Dartmouth, including the classes in my major path. I grew up in a Christian family, and I never quite had the time (nor was I allowed) to question the faith that was thrust upon me. At Dartmouth, I was able to embrace my new identity as a free-thinker to view this religion from an academic standpoint, which was an amazing experience for me.

Me sitting in the front row of a Dartmouth class while taking notes
Something I can't fail to mention.... sitting in the front row of ALL these courses is a key to success at Dartmouth!

Second Year

Fall: Public Speaking was an enormously beneficial course from a personal and academic standpoint. I used to be a very timid and softly spoken kind of guy back in the first half of high school. Once I started to gain confidence in my abilities as a leader through the help of my friends in high school, my life became much more enjoyable. This course reinforced my ability to remain confident in stressful situations, i.e., public speaking!

Winter: Sociology has always been a fascinating topic to me, and I got the chance to explore those interests during my second winter on campus. I learned about childhood sociology through a course titled, "Youth and Society" (SOCY 031), and it was certainly the highlight of the term for me. Again, it doesn't have much to do with my immediate interests in weather and climate, but this was absolutely fascinating material that made me a more well-rounded scholar.

Spring: A course that's a little bit more suited toward my career interests lies in the Environment Studies department at Dartmouth – "The Practice of Science Diplomacy & Policy." Through various simulations, discussions, and debates, I was able to better understand how science is (or is not) translated into tangible policy in the United States government. It allowed me to understand my career interests in more detail and even shift them quite a bit!

Third Year

Summer: I've yet to be on campus for my third year, but the first term of my third year was spent abroad in the Baltic Countries on the Baltic LEAP program at Dartmouth! I enjoyed all three of the courses I took, including energy & political systems of the Baltic regions and even the history of the region going back to medieval times. It was great getting to learn more about my grandfather's homeland in Latvia, so I must highlight all of these classes as well!

As you can see, I've enjoyed many courses at Dartmouth, and most of them have been outside of my major path. So, I encourage you to explore your academic interests by embracing uncertainty and taking a course you find enigmatic instead of comforting. Get outside your comfort zone when choosing classes… you won't regret it!

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