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An image of the statue in front of Fairchild Hall with the sky

Now that week four has come and gone, the midterm season is in full swing (I had two big tests last week)! My classes this term have been wonderfully balanced, and I'm looking forward to seeing where they'll take me as I continue trekking through the fall.

Chem 51 – Organic Chemistry I

Ah, the ever-infamous "Orgo." To continue my chemistry journey from last spring, I am taking my first-ever organic chemistry course. I'm taking it to fulfill my pre-medical requirements, but I'm also excited to learn more about the work that I've been doing in my research lab since January (after all, I want to learn the fundamentals of the discipline). It's definitely not easy—the laboratory component feels like a step up from general chemistry, with fully-fledged lab reports and our personal glassware, and the class pace feels ever faster as I learn about topics I've never really heard of before the class. Alkanes? Alkenes? Stereochemistry? And that's just the beginning!

But I know I'm not alone, and it's been great to work with classmates on figuring out the great puzzle that is organic chemistry. I hope I can keep up with the pace of the class as the term inevitably intensifies—I want to make sure I understand the material and am prepared for Organic Chemistry II this winter!

An image of Steele Hall Lecture Hall with a professor standing in front of a chalkboard
This class, we began learning about 1H NMR spectroscopy!

MUS 42 – Early Classical Music, from Plato to Mozart

There are two main Western music history classes at Dartmouth, dividing its entire history into two—from Plato to Mozart, and from Beethoven to the current day. I get to take one of these classes for the Music foreign study program to London in the spring! Before the term, I had planned to take the class covering Beethoven to the current day. After all, that era of music was more familiar to me; I thought that that's what I'd find more interesting. But as the term began, I realized that learning about music that I was less familiar with would be a more rewarding experience! I don't regret it one bit.

The class is a mix of art history and music, as we get to look at old music scores and notations, and art that matches each corresponding era. Early classical music, like medieval and ancient art, seems to exist on a different wavelength, operating under a different set of rules than our rules for music today. I've been having a great time learning about it, even if the music isn't really what I'm used to listening (Gregorian chant, I'm looking at you). I'm excited to see how music continues to evolve as we learn about the Renaissance and beyond.

An image of an orange paper with music notated on it
For one of our assignments, we had to copy some music in notation from the Medieval Ages! As you can see, I made a few mistakes…

SOCY 1 – Introductory Sociology

Sociology is what I wanted to study the most when I applied to college! I'm not sure if that still holds completely true today as my interests shift, but I'm still very excited for introductory sociology. I've been enjoying learning about the names that have been ascribed to certain social phenomena that I've noticed in my day-to-day life. The presence of debate about different aspects of sociological theory also intrigues me. The ability to view the same phenomenon from different angles is very important, and I hope to explore that further while I'm at Dartmouth. So far, we've read and discussed a book about the institutions of college and how they affect class mobility, especially in the context of the Greek life system (feels pretty relevant to our Greek-life-heavy campus). I look forward to seeing what more there is!

An image of the East Asian Reading Room in Baker Library
The East Asian Reading Room has been a little solace of mine—a new nice place to study!

Overall, after my summer break, I've really enjoyed getting back into the process of learning! As I ponder what my major will be, I've had to reflect on what exactly I'd want to continue learning. But with such different and interesting subjects as my three classes, I've come to realize that whatever I end up choosing as my major, I won't want to stop learning about topics outside it. And I don't have to (fingers crossed)!

An image of Dartmouth Hall
And learning, I'm sure, won't stop when I leave Dartmouth.

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