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Welcome to week 8! I hope this blog post finds you well. As hard as it is to believe, we are entering the final stretch of my first term at Dartmouth. Given the fast-paced nature of the quarter system, these weeks are often the busiest, but also the most rewarding–I'm starting to realize how far I've come in my classes and how much I've grown this term. I decided to write this week's post about each of my classes since I'm taking a very diverse and interesting set of courses. I did my best to test out a couple of unique departments that enticed me and I want to share my experience with all of you.

  1. COSC1: Introduction to Programming and Computation or "CS1."

When registering for courses, I was very nervous to take this class because I didn't have any prior experience with Python or coding in general. However, right when I walked into class, I was immediately reassured by Professor Vasanta who told us it truly would be a beginner-friendly course. In terms of class structure, we have four exams and four "lab" assignments – code for a longer homework assignment – as well as "short assignments" which are more frequent. The course has been the most time-consuming but by far the most rewarding. As someone who had never coded before, after a few weeks, I was able to solve complex math problems on exams and create complex graphics for a solar system with orbiting planets and a game of brick breaker. The class has also opened my eyes to the amount of peer-to-peer support that is available – we have "recitation" sessions of about 10 students where the teaching assistants (TAs) help us review what we've learned in class, and I've also made some very good friends from collaborating on projects. I would recommend this course to anyone looking for a fun, well-worth-it academic challenge.

  1. ANTH6: Introduction to Biological Anthropology

After taking a lot of traditional science classes in high school, I wanted to try out a new department that would challenge my understanding of science. After visiting the anthropology open house and speaking with professors about their research and fieldwork, I knew this was the department I wanted to explore. In the class, we learn about human evolution from early primates to modern-day humans through engaging lectures, funny anecdotes and videos, and physical skeletons that get passed around the lecture hall. My favorite part of the course was our lab experiment where we collected class footprint data and analyzed it in comparison to early hominin kinematics. Professor Dominy and DeSilva co-teach the class in each of their areas of expertise and truly show us how to apply what we are learning in the classroom to the real world.

  1. WRIT5: Authenticity: Self, Society and Culture

As a first-year student, we are required to take a course from the "Writing 5" offerings that focus on topics varying from free speech to Einstein's theory of relativity. I decided to take a course on how authenticity is defined and understood in the presence of social media, community pressures, advertisements, and much more. The small class size of 15 students makes it very easy to receive individualized attention from the professor and my peers. I've grown so much as a writer in this course as there is specific attention to things like the writing process, proper outlining, and effective peer review. We've also learned how to take advantage of the library's resources as we've begun work on our culminating research paper. I've received individualized attention from the psychology research librarian on how to navigate source databases and from the writing center (RWIT) on how to properly revise my papers. My professor, Clara Lewis, goes above and beyond for our individual growth, recently setting up meetings over coffee in Hanover just to catch up on how we've been doing – in and out of the classroom.

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