Need advice on classes to take in the fall? Here are a couple suggestions from the Class of 2017.
Professor Amy Kind’s “Experience” was by far the most enjoyable and intellectually stimulating class I’ve taken at CMC. Professor Kind is an excellent discussion leader, and she has a knack for framing potentially touchy topics in a way that creates thought-provoking and constructive conversations. My favorite part was the final project, where we were challenged to present on a relevant philosophical question through a non-traditional medium. If you want to become more aware of how you relate to others and, as an added benefit, indulge in your creative side, I highly recommend this class!
One of the best courses I took at CMC was my intro philosophy course with Professor Obdrzalek. I think it was the most intellectually intimidating course I had at CMC. Professor O taught us how to break down arguments into premises and conclusions, a skill necessary for clear argumentation. She was rigorous and thorough in her analysis of the texts–and demanded that we were too. She demanded precision in our writing and our class discussions. Her class wasn’t just an introduction to philosophy, it was an education in how to approach all courses, texts, and problems we face at CMC and beyond.
My favorite class is one I’m taking this semester, “Psych of Close Relationships” at Mudd with Professor Mashek. The class reviews topic relevant to romantic relationships, such as social cognition, sex, stress, and conflict, and you’ll essentially leave the class understanding a lot more about how to have a healthy relationship. Professor Mashek is great at facilitating, and it’s fun dissecting topics like hookups and jealousy in an academic setting.
One of my favorite CMC courses I took for my psychology major was Professor Valdesolo’s “Psychology of Morality.” Rather than a philosophy-based understanding of what is right and wrong (which can often get stuck in a circular moral debate), I was really intrigued to discuss why people value certain morals as right and wrong. Professor Valdesolo is incredibly engaging with the already-interesting course material and was one of my favorite professors. Would definitely recommend to majors and non-majors!
I really enjoyed “Capitalism and the Enlightenment” with Professor Kates down at Pomona. The readings were great, but it was undoubtedly Professor Kates that made the class so special. Not only was he masterful at guiding class discussions, but he also brought this incredible passion for learning to every class without fail. In a climate where one is often blinded by the quest for good grades, Professor Kates is a great reminder of how fun and invigorating learning can be.
My freshman spring, I took “Introduction to Engineering Design” – Mudd’s intro engineering course, aka E4 – and absolutely loved it. It’s not so much a class about how to be an engineer as it is about how to work with a team of engineers. The class is entirely group project based – my group worked together to build a bridge to cross a “chasm” (aka two planters), reverse engineer a curling iron, and design a nose-measuring device for reconstructive surgeons. It’s co-taught by three different professors each semester, and it’s a great way to get exposed to a different learning paradigm. Also, you get to build a hammer from scratch!
I didn’t even have to think about what my favorite course would be – it is, without a doubt, “Politics and Literature” taught by Pomona Professor Susan McWilliams. The class changed my life and made me a better person. Coming from CMC, the idea that politics = institutions was well hammered into my head. Professor McWilliams dismantled all of this through reading one book a week. Books weren’t explicitly on politics, they ranged from Cat’s Cradle to Girl in Glass. We had a final project component that could be either analysts or creative and I wrote 5 essays on the ways that different pieces of media influenced my life. Professor McWilliams is one of the most brilliant, caring, funny professors I’ve ever had and pushed me to be a better writer and I believe, a better citizen. I am forever in debt to this class and cannot urge students enough to take if not this class, then another class with Professor McWilliams.