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These past two months have flown by so quickly and yet it feels like I have been here for so much longer. As I was thinking about what to write for this blogpost, I thought it’d be nice to write about what kinds of classes I was taking first semester as an International Studies and pre-med student (at least for now).


My favorite study spot on campus

Applied Chemical Equilibrium and Reactivity (AS.030.103)

The title of the class makes it sound difficult, but it’s really just a fancy name for “the class in between Intro Chem and Orgo (Organic Chemistry)”. This is a 4-credit class that consists of both a lecture and lab, taught by Dr. Roth and Dr. Greco, respectively. We go over the same material as the intro class, but the class size is smaller (~70 students as opposed to 200+). Applied (or Chem-Eq as some of my classmates call it) consists of 3 midterms and a final exam at the end of the semester. Instead of taking lab tests like they do in Intro Chem, we only have one final lab presentation due in November- which is a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. I tend to see it as a good thing because less tests = happy Bri. We also have less problem sets than the intro class. However, this class goes at a faster pace so be prepared to study on your own.

Introduction to Literature in Spanish (AS.215.231)

This class is one of my chillest classes this semester. It consists of Señor Alvarez, a grad student, and 12 undergrads (including me). I love this class because it has a great dynamic due to its small size and because we get to speak in English occasionally use English to express difficult concepts (which happens a lot).  This class examines and discusses specific authors and topics in literature in Spanish from the middle Ages to the 20th century in both Spain and Latin America. We read and critically analyze assigned readings and discuss them in class. 

Contemporary International Politics (AS.190.209)

This class is by far my favorite class. CIP is the gateway course for the Fall 2015 semester. It explores the theoretical foundations of international relations throughout history from the Peloponnesian War to the current Era. Professor David is a brilliant guy who gives concise, thought-provoking lectures. Oh, and we’re reading his book in class, nbd. That’s one of the many great things about coming to Hopkins. Classes are taught by professors who are experts in their field. We meet three times a week, two in lecture and one in section. Two weeks ago in section we did a WWI simulation in which our class of 20 was divided up into the Allied and Central Powers. As the leaders of our respective countries, we went around making (secret) deals with other countries, mobilizing troops, or asserting our neutral stance all with the hope of averting war. Our grade in this class consists of a mid-term test (which I am currently studying for-or not), a ten-page paper, and a final exam.

Family, Gender, and Sexuality in China (AS.230.336)

Family, Gender, and Sexuality in China is an upper-level sociology course that examines social changes in China through the lenses of family, gender, and sexuality from the Mid-Qing period to present. It is a Writing Intensive class, consisting of 100+ pages of reading a week and 8 two-page responses. As the only freshman in this twelve-person class, it was pretty intimidating at first. However, after the first two classes I found that I had worried for nothing. The upperclassmen were very encouraging and gave me tips on how to approach readings and write responses. They really value my opinions and contributions to discussion, which is really great. 

General Biology (AS.020.151)

Gen Bio is one of the larger classes at Hopkins that explores concepts such as the biosphere, the cellular and molecular basis of life, biochemistry, and inheritance. Professor Roberson and Professor Shingles both teach this course and make the class very interactive. With so many people in the class (200+) it’s easy to not pay attention- your eyes might start drooping and your mouse will magically click its way into Facebook. But I should warn you that the majority of the answers to the weekly assignments can be found in the lectures, so pay attention!


I won’t say that these classes have been easy, but I am definitely enjoying them all and am looking forward to what I’ll take next year.