Classes are in full swing! The snow is starting to melt, the libraries are bustling, and everyone is looking forward to spring. Over the past month, my life has been filled with some of the most amazing growing experiences, and I can’t wait to share them with you! Here’s a quick glance at the courses I am taking this semester:
First and foremost, shopping period was much more fun the second time around! In my post titled, “Welcome Home to Yale,” I started out with a crazy multi-colored schedule that worked out perfectly. I decided to take 5 credits (most Yalies take somewhere between 4 and 5 each semester) and I couldn’t be happier. One of my best decisions was taking a course called Introduction to Psychology, which happens to be taught by my college master, Master Chun. He is a superb teacher, an expert in the cognitive neuroscience field, and the best master at Yale (okay, maybe I am a bit biased). A few weeks ago, he brought his adorable dog, Pablo, into class for a lecture on Pavlovian conditioning. The lecture was absolutely phenomenal, and he was quoted in the Yale Daily News the following day for stating, “I know this is really corny, but you’re gonna remember that someone brought a dog to class, if you remember nothing else.” Even though the class is a large lecture, Master Chun has the uncanny ability to make it feel like a small classroom setting.
Intro to Psych is the best. I am especially happy that I am taking it Credit/D/Fail. What’s that? All Yalies have the option to take any class for a grade, or simply for a “credit.” Basically, you have the opportunity to take four classes during your time here at Yale simply for credit so that you don’t have to worry about the grade. One of the best aspects of the Credit/D system is that Yalies can always change that course from simply a “credit” into a letter grade after midterms are over.
Beyond Introduction to Psychology, I am also taking Cell Biology, a sophomore-level elective offered by the MCDB (Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology) department. Cell Biology is an incredibly demanding course, but it is taught by three amazing professors who are experts in their fields: Thomas Pollard, Craig Crews, and Valerie Horsley. Professor Pollard even wrote our textbook!
I am also taking a basic Spanish course that meets Monday through Friday at 10:30AM. It’s a lot of fun because there are only 16 students in the class and we have an incredibly enthusiastic professor. In addition, I was recently accepted into Spanish immersion program for this coming summer in Quito, Ecuador where I will live with a host family and have the opportunity to explore Spanish in an entirely new environment. Stay tuned for much more to come on this topic.
My last two courses are not to be overlooked! The first is Perspectives on Science and Engineering, which is a year-long course that introduces a class of about 60 freshmen to amazing Yale professors who are doing groundbreaking research in their fields. We meet once a week and alternate between lectures (from professors) and discussion sections, which are groups of about 9 or 10 students with two professors. For each section, there is a student presenter who prepares a discussion about the research and its broader implications. It is really exciting to lead the discussion for our peers and in front of the professors who are there to support us every step of the way.
Upon completion of the course, every single student receives a summer stipend of about $4,200 to take on an original research project with a Yale professor, either in New Haven or at a laboratory internationally. For example, I have a friend who is interested in Astronomy and Astrophysics, and is planning on spending the summer in Chile at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory! Last semester, we had lectures and discussions about everything from lung tissue engineering to neutrino physics, riboswitches to Arctic climate change, and the function of actin to deep space black holes.
My last course is a freshman seminar called “Narrations of Native America,” which is offered by the American Studies department. I am one of two students in the class! Coming from a huge high school in New York, I was cautious about taking such a small class. However, I took a 10-person English seminar last semester and loved it! This particular seminar is incredibly interesting because we are analyzing Native history and culture through literature, both fiction and non-fiction. There is no textbook, but we read plenty of novels, critiques, and short stories that relate to American Indian life and culture. We also take class “field trips” to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Peabody Museum here at Yale. The course is absolutely intriguing, and I have never had so much personalized attention in my life!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into all of my classes this semester! Feel free to post a comment if you have any questions or want to learn more. And stay tuned for some future posts about everything going on outside of the classroom here at Yale!