CHOO CHOO CHOO CHOO–what’s that sound??? It’s the junior year train pulling out of the station! That’s right, if all goes according to plan and I pass my classes, I am now a Yale College senior. There are many exciting things about *tosses hair* being so mature, but definitely one of the top senior benefits is the amount of freedom you have in terms of choosing your classes. By your senior year, you will be finished with at least your Language, Writing, and Quantitative Reasoning requirements and probably a good chunk of your Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences requirements. You’ll also probably be getting close to fulfilling your major requirements, with the rather large exception of your thesis still ahead of you. But still! The freedom of choice is almost unimaginable! To celebrate I am making a list of The Top 9 Classes I’d Like to Take Next Year.* For the purposes of this list, pretend prerequisites are not a thing (i.e., if I wanted to take Computer Science 8321: Introduction to Building Robots with Feelings, I couldn’t in real life because that class would probably require me to have at least some basic knowledge. Also it doesn’t exist. But all of the following are real Yale courses–though a few weren’t offered this year.)
Me in September of last year, very excited to take my classes.
1) AMST 669: Religion, Art, and Resistance to Empire
From the Course Description: “This course explores religious and artistic modes of resistance to U.S. imperialism, using the Philippines as the primary case study.” It also includes a trip to the Philippines, where students get to meet artists whose work explores themes of resistance and anti-imperialism.
2) ASTR 030: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life
This is a first-year seminar (you can usually tell by the “0” in front of the course number), which means a small group of first-years get to work with an excellent, fancy, big-time professor on a subject of that professor’s expertise. In this case, the subject is extraterrestrial life–probably the coolest possible way to earn a science credit.
3) CHEM565L: Introduction to Glass Blowing
Ok, this class is the stuff of legend. Rumor has it that it is the best class at Yale. And it’s technically a chemistry lab!
4) CSBF** 310: Cocktail Culture: The History, Ethics, and Aesthetics of Drink
Alas, the one who got away. I applied to this class but as a lowly junior, my chances were not great. (Residential College Seminars, which are small courses taught within the colleges, sometimes on especially funky topics, usually give enrollment priority to seniors.) This course is co-taught by a Yale history and ethics lecturer and the owner of a very classy drinks joint, 116 Crown. Maybe next year?
5) ENGL 425: Writing the Television Drama
Out of all the classes in this list, this is the one I’m probably the most likely to actually take next year. I’ve taken a lot of writing workshops, but never one for screenwriting or TV writing. Since we are apparently in the Golden Age of Television right now, this seems like a good skill to have. Plus, I’ve heard great things.
6) EVST 348: Yellowstone and Global Change
Oh, man. Another absolutely LEGENDARY course. “Topics include large carnivores”? That’s one of my favorite topics! AND it features a spring-break trip to Yellowstone. Truly a top-tier class.
7) EGYP 590: Egyptian Coffin Texts
Apparently there are ancient Egyptian coffin texts in the Yale Art Gallery? And if you take this class, you can study them? Why not?
8) GLBL 398: Yale and the World: Global Power, Local History
There are a couple classes offered by the College that focus specifically on Yale and its history. I’ve always kind of wanted to take one of these courses but held back because I worried that it would be self-indulgent or navel-gaze-y to do so. But I’ve now come to realize that it’s important to know the history of where you are, especially if you’re benefiting from it.
9) PHIL 450: The Problem of Evil
I mean, who wouldn’t want to solve this problem?
These are just nine classes that are/have been offered at Yale. There are HUNDREDS more! I’m so excited for later this summer (usually July, I think), when we’ll get the list of classes offered next fall. I typically spend many, many hours browsing. It is a privilege AND a pleasure.
*Why 9? The average Yale student takes 9 classes in an academic year to achieve that 36-class graduation requirement.
**College Seminar: Benjamin Franklin