Happy Last Day of Classes!
I can’t believe I’m already half-way through my sophomore year.
At the beginning of the semester the end seemed so distant and far away. And like the previous two semesters, this one also brought its own share of lessons and challenges. So I’m doing a recap of the classes that I took this semester and reviewing what I learned and experienced in them. If anybody is wondering which classes to take at F&M, I strongly encourage you to take any of these!
- SOC 100: Introduction to Sociology (Prof. Amy Singer)
I learned a lot about sociological structures and constraints in this class, and it challenged a lot of the assumptions that I held about the social spheres around me. Prof. Singer struck me as a really intense and intimidating professor at first (which she is-in a good way), but I quickly grew to like her silent but quirky personality and admire her passion for and professionalism in her field. It turns out she is one of the kindest, most receptive professors I have met here. Rather than asserting herself in class, she provided a space for students to step up and share our thoughts about complicated and often uncomfortable subjects through respectful discussions. I really appreciated that, and learned a lot from those discussions, even though sometimes I was frustrated to discover that there is no one straightforward answer for the many sociological issues we’re entangled in today. I look forward to learning more about sociology as I take Sociological Theory (again with Prof. Singer) next semester.
Memorable moments: talking about bacon dresses and levels of “sluttitude” in Halloween costumes, watching a documentary about cute, British 7-year-olds talk about marriage and the stock market, meeting with Prof. Singer for her office hours at the Chestnut Hill Cafe, the “interweb”.
- FND 180: Antiquity (Prof. Stephen Cooper)
I took this class thinking that it would be a nice complement to my previous Foundations class, Modernity. This was arguably the most challenging class I took this semester because many of the readings were difficult and Prof. Cooper had rigorous expectations of our papers. But it’s also the class that helped me grow the most in my analytical and expository skills. It was very interesting to read primary texts and examine how Western thought came about, and how it has changed over the course of history. Prof. Cooper is one of the kindest and most knowledgeable professors out there, really. I want him to be my uncle or something and talk for hours and hours about life. But he’s a demanding professor and sometimes we went off into tangents during class. Overall, it was a great class that really pushed me to grow.
Memorable moments: My first B- paper, never being able to skip a class for fear of a pop quiz, “I’m not a dinosaur,” (Prof. Cooper), Prof. Cooper asking two of my classmates to pretend to slap each other in the face (and their awkward attempts to follow) to explain what Jesus meant when he taught to “turn the other cheek”.
- MUS 230: Music History 1 (Prof. Karen Leistra-Jones)
Given the subject, class could be a little dry at times, but Prof. Leistra-Jones is a great professor and always looks for fun ways we can interact with the course material. At first I thought the listening quizzes and papers would be overwhelming, but hey, I got through. And oh, the joys of taking a music class in Steinman B12 with that wretchedly out-of-tune piano.
Memorable moments: attending a baroque concert downtown and getting treated to Carmen and David’s ice cream by Prof. Leistra- Jones afterwards, listening to voice instructor Emily Noel sing a monody while Prof. Leistra-Jones played the harpsichord, learning how to dance to medieval music, reading a 30+ page article on castrati singers and whether they could have been sexually active, watching a screening of Giulio Cesare while eating donuts, trying really hard to listen to what Prof. Leistra-Jones was actually saying while all I could think was, “How are her ringlets so perfect?”
- MUS 224: Musicianship 1 (Prof. Matthew Butterfield)
I loved this class because it was so interactive. Dr. Butterfield is also a great professor. He’s very knowledgeable and I really appreciated his dry sense of humor. Sometimes it was funny to imagine how pitiful we must sound as we tried to guess the notes that he would play in the terribly-out-of-tune B12 piano, but in the end I think we got the hang of it.
Memorable moments: feeling really awkward and self-conscious the first time we would sight-sing, observing how that self-consciousness gradually turned into confident disregard as we still hit all the wrong notes, the epic story behind Prof. Butterfield’s name.
- ENG 225: Introduction to Creative Writing (Prof. Sands Hall)
This was another class that I was really worried about at first because the professor just seemed SO intense. Like, Prof. Hall is one of those people who just really loves words. And that was a little scary at first, but then I grew to understand her. The workload felt a little overwhelming at first, but then I got adjusted to it. By the end of the semester, I had written a poem, a scene in a play, and a short story. The most important things that I learned through this class was that 1) it’s okay and even helpful to share your writing with other people, and 2) there are very effective strategies and methods you can use to string together those little ideas I had into something actually substantial. Then there’s SOP and POV. Writing takes purposeful effort!
Memorable moments: writing about random subjects like shoes, bouncing ideas with classmates during peer critiques, reciting a poem at the end of the semester and going completely blank (but then eating the brownie that Prof. Hall baked to congratulate/console ourselves).
- MUS 285A: Voice (Ms. Gwynne Geyer)
My singing improved so much over the semester! Ms. Geyer is a truly wonderful instructor because she not only knows how to sing, but also knows how to teach what she can do. Masterclasses were so much fun, and I really enjoyed singing/squawking together and getting over stage fright with my classmates from the studio. The voice recital at the end of the semester was a little scary, but it was also fun to dress up in pretty evening gowns and singing in front of your friends and family.
Memorable moments: really weird vocalization techniques in awkward positions, dancing around to a song during Masterclass, making weird noises together and being okay with it, getting little gifts from Ms. Geyer for answering her emails (I only got one), and the beautiful voices of all my classmates.
Overall classroom experience this semester: A+.
The course overload was a little overwhelming at first, and halfway through the semester I nearly had a breakdown, but I’m glad I stuck with it until the end. Definitely not overloading for a while though. I look forward to taking East Asian cultures and history, Counterpoint (or Theory 2), Sociological Theory, and Music in Cultural Perspectives next semester. I’m so glad to attend a college where classes are actually fun and challenging, and professors are kind as well as knowledgeable. Another reason why I love F&M.