Mountains over a serene alpine lake
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a view from martin's dorm window overlooking the back of Dartmouth Hall and Baker-Berry library in the distance.

As my first fall term comes to an end, I wanted to provide some thoughts and reflections on my classes this term. Here at Dartmouth, most students take three classes a term. While that might not seem like many—keep in mind that Dartmouth's ten-week quarter system is fast-paced—so three classes can actually be a sufficient amount of work (depending on which you take!). In fact, as a first-year student, you're only allowed to take up to three classes during your first term here. After your first fall term, you can opt to take up to four per term.

For my first fall term (designated 23F–meaning the "Fall (F)" of 2023), I took three courses that piqued my interest: Introductory Sociology (SOCY 1), Ecology (BIOL 16), and Spanish III (SPAN 3). As finals week and the end of the term approaches, here are my thoughts on what each course was like, along with some general information:

Introductory Sociology (SOCY 1)

The "introduction" course to the subject of sociology, this class kept me interested and excited all term! I think it's pretty common for high school students to have never taken a sociology class upon entering college–as it's not usually a subject explicitly offered at the high school level. As my first exposure to sociology, this class was how I imagine a psychology class might be if it had a larger focus on social culture and dynamics.

Including anything from sociological research methods to the social mechanics of housing and labor, this class definitely did a good job "introducing" me to sociology. For anyone who might be interested in sociology (or has never had an opportunity to take a sociology class before), I highly recommend taking Introductory Sociology!

Ecology (BIOL 16)

Ecology is the study of interactions of organisms with one another and with their environment. I spent ten weeks in this course learning about ecosystems, climate, soil, inter and intra-species interactions, and the different types of ecological biomes. As an intended STEM major, this was probably my favorite class this term–as it aligned closely with my interests. I will admit, it's hard to pick a favorite!

However, as a biology "foundations" course (one of the mid-to-upper level biology courses), this course certainly demanded a lot from me this term. Most of my time doing homework was spent on work for this class–writing lab reports, studying and re-studying concepts, or practicing population-based math problems (yes, there's math in ecology!). However, not a minute was wasted, as I loved the content area. Anyone with an interest in ecology, environment, or biology as a whole can and should take this class!

Spanish III (SPAN 3)

Here at Dartmouth, you'll have a "language requirement" to complete before you graduate. This looks different depending on each person and their foreign language background, but one way to complete it is by taking Spanish like I did!

Spanish III was another class I looked forward to each day this term. While languages can be difficult, Dartmouth maintains small class sizes in the language department (my Spanish class had 12 people), with engaging class activities like games, partner-work, and discussions. My Spanish class and professor were awesome, and I recommend taking a language like Spanish here if you're interested in foreign languages (or to complete your language requirement)!

Those are my closing thoughts on my first courses (my first term at Dartmouth)! I'll make sure to update you with classes I take in future terms (and how they go)!


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