Final Projects and Exams at Dartmouth!
A lot of people, myself included, aren't quite sure how they will handle the academic workload of college. Since Dartmouth is on a quarter system, each term moves fast, which means we cover material very quickly. This term, I found myself with final projects and exams all in one week. Although it was definitely a lot of work, it was also super interesting! By sharing my experience, I hope you can all gain a better sense of what academics are like here!
Let's start with my Econ 22 class with Professor Levin, which is an introductory class to macroeconomics. This course is different from most other courses because instead of midterms, we are assigned a country to present on. Last week, I was given the task of proposing monetary policy changes in my country, Vietnam. My partner and I engaged in a live debate in front of our class, where we each argued what we believed would be best for Vietnam. It was fascinating to dive into a specific country and look at present events, such as the effects of the coronavirus or recent policy changes. We then got to hear about other countries, and it was great to learn what my classmates had found in their research. Instead of studying for monetary policy and taking a midterm, we looked at real-life examples and learned about a variety of different countries. As I listened to other students, I saw the similarities that different countries shared in terms of monetary policy and current issues, showing me how globalized our world is.
I'm also taking CS1 this term with Professor Lakshmi, an introduction to computer science. I was afraid that since I didn't have any experience with computer science, I would struggle in the class. However, concepts are well explained and support is available since there are 50 teaching assistants! Last week, I had to do one of our labs, which is a longer assignment that allows us to practice concepts learned in class. For this particular lab, we had to go through a list of countries, sort them by population, and then visualize it on a map. Although it took me many hours to get down, I was super proud of what I created once I got it working. As someone who had no idea how to code at the beginning of the term, it's pretty cool to think about everything I've learned in only two months.
Finally, for my First-Year-Seminar, I had a major writing assignment. I wrote another post about my seminar this term, which is Pessimism and Happiness with Professor Lurie. The class is a mix between Classics and Philosophy, and it has allowed me to reflect on my life views and personal experiences on a daily basis. Not only is the subject material very intriguing, but our writing assignments are great, too. Instead of the typical five-paragraph paper, we were tasked with writing a Socratic dialogue between any two people of our choice. I decided to write my dialogue between Gatsby and Schopenhauer, in which they discussed the hopelessness of the American Dream. I loved exploring another way to communicate my ideas, and I was able to get a lot of great feedback from the professor.
As you can see, Dartmouth gets busy. However, you will often find yourself doing things you have never done before, as my past week shows. Coming into the winter, I would have never thought I could create a randomized quicksort function on Python or write a Socratic dialogue between two thinkers on pessimism.