Hello! My name is Jenny and I'm a junior at Dartmouth studying biology and qualitative social science. Besides blogging, I also work as communications intern for the admissions office, conduct research at the Geisel School of Medicine, and act as a mentor for the Great Issues Scholars LLC. Some of my favorite things to do on-campus include running around Occom Pond , stargazing, and spending quality time with some of the amazing people I have met here.
I looked forward to this class every week, partly because of the professor and partly due to the content. We read books on a wide variety of topics, ranging from privilege and how it affects our interactions with others to restaurant kitchens and the hierarchies inherent in surgical residencies.
Biol13 is structured so that you have to work as a group on difficult class problems and even on some exams, which was novel to me and pushed me to really understand the material. This class inspired me to pursue research (both off-campus and on-campus) related to genetics.
Although this class was daunting to me in the beginning, given that I had little to no experience in either Women's, Gender, and Sexuality or Art History, it was also one of the classes in which I became the most engaged in. For our final project, I investigated the history of allegories in Western art and why they were so often portrayed as women.
I interned at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA under Dr. Livingston. I explored the mechanism by which BRCA1 acts as a tumor suppressor. It was really rewarding to be able to apply what I had learned in Biol13, including specific procedures and techniques we had been tested on, to a real-life laboratory setting.
This class is notorious for its difficulty, and I would not call it an easy class. Nonetheless, it was my favorite class because I loved Professor Jacobi, who has taught at Dartmouth for 22 years, and I appreciated learning mechanisms behind why certain reactions happen. Instead of rote memorization, this class relied on being able to predict the products of a reaction, a skill picked up from lots of practice.
Although this was an introductory class, Professor Craig made it more dynamic and interactive, with several visits to the Hood Museum of Art, ethnography labs, and weekly discussion posts. I learned about everything from the Gebusi culture and their rites of passage to the opioid epidemic. For my final paper, I conducted an ethnography studying the social dynamics that take place in Baker Lobby and how that relates to the exchange of capital.
Though I had taken four years of computer science before (mostly in middle school), I did not have a very good experience with coding prior to taking CS1. However, the professor was one of the best professors I have had, explaining jargon in understandable ways and even giving out chocolate bars to students who answered the most difficult questions she would ask in class. I was certain that there was no way I would be able to create the lab assignments (such as a revolving solar system animation and map of Dartmouth that calculated the shortest possible route between two points), but she enabled all of us to through exercises, short assignments, and exams.
I took this class for a distributive requirement and ended up loving it. Each student was assigned a day to present on a certain topic - mine being patriarchy. I decided to analyze relationships in Crazy Rich Asians through a lens of the patriarchal bargain. We explored transgender issues, the history of feminism, gender identity, and so much more. Would highly recommend!
I'm curious about the type of curriculum offered at Dartmouth. Are there distributive requirements or core classes?
There are two strictly required classes for freshmen, a world culture requirement, and distributive requirements (to complete by graduation). Freshmen must take a Writing 5 (or Writing 2/3) as well as a First-Year Seminar course during their first year. Although those sound very vague, the classes themselves focus on very specific and unique topics. For example, my Writing 5 was on diversity in higher education and my First-Year Seminar was on the body and the nude in Western visual art. Both of them were fantastic classes! Each of those classes is only 16 students, which creates a very intimate classroom setting (especially since my other courses were larger STEM classes).
The world culture requirement can be satisfied by taking a class in each of the three areas of European, North American, and Non-Western. The distributive requirements include one class each in the Arts, Literature, Philosophy/Historical Analysis/Religion, International or Comparative Study, Quantitative and Deductive Sciences, Technology or Applied Sciences, as well as two in Social Analysis and Natural Sciences (one of which must have a laboratory component).
Personally, I have written a bit about the distributive requirements here, but I have not found them difficult at all to complete and I personally appreciate the fact that they encourage everyone towards a more holistic education. Also, some courses can satisfy more than one requirement; for example, my First-Year Seminar also checked off my art distributive. I only have two left, which I plan on completing my senior year.
Sophomore summer is a Dartmouth classic, and something that captures a lot of what makes this school special - small classes and amazing professors, a close community, and boundless opportunities to explore, in all senses of the word.
Something that is relatively important to a Dartmouth term that has an unnecessary mysticism about it is the elusive period of testing at the end of every term known simply as "finals." While they are certainly difficult and do take a lot of work,