In a week from now it will be Thanksgiving. After that, I will be experiencing my first finals, and then suddenly my first college semester will be over. It’s amazing to me that in three months I have explored a new city, become so close with my friends, and learned more than I learned in all four years of high school. One of the biggest differences between Hopkins and high school is that it has been my own decision to take the classes I chose. There are no core requirements and no mandatory classes! Not only has this allowed me to take classes that genuinely interest me, it has altered my attitude towards learning in general. Here is a look at my classes this semester.
Introductory Chemistry I: I have this class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10-10:50 with JHU_Dan! Professor Fairbrother’s lectures are always interesting and the class goes by really quickly. He is an environmental engineer, so he relates many of the concepts we are learning to global warning and other real world applications. For example, right now we are learning about acids and bases, and he explained to us why river water is often slightly acidic.
Calculus I: Before starting this class, I’d learned from many upperclassmen that “Hopkins Math” is different from any other math class I’d ever taken before. They were right. Yes, this class can be challenging, but I feel like I am actually learning concepts and not just formulas. I came with a very weak math background, so I am very happy that I am building a strong foundation.
Intermediate French: In this class, not only am I building upon my existing French grammar, I am becoming more comfortable speaking French. A large part of this class is comprised of oral exercises in small groups. To top it off, this class is in Gilman, arguably the prettiest building on campus!
Freshmen Seminar: This is a small class of about 15, and it is exclusively for freshmen. It is an introduction to anthropology, so every week we have extremely interesting articles or novels to read. My favorite reading was Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.
Introductory Chemistry Lab I: This lab has really taught me that precision matters, which I believe is an idea that will help me in all future science classes. Not only do we get to have lab in the beautiful new Undergraduate Teaching Labs (one of the newest buildings on campus), we get to use brand new hoods and equipment.
Public Health in Film and Media: Over the summer, my advisor told me to sign up for this class and I did at the very last minute. I think I barely glanced at the class description, but it has turned out to be one of my more interesting classes. Every Friday we watch a different documentary related to a different field of public health, and then listen to a lecture by a specialist in each respective field. It has been fascinating to explore all of the facets of such a complex major!
Introduction to Neuroscience: I saved my favorite class for last! Introduction to Neuroscience, taught by Doctor Hendry, has completely convinced me that neuroscience is the right major for me. Not only is Dr. Hendry an inspiring and captivating lecturer, the course content is beyond interesting. For example, we spent the first 12 lectures on nociception, the percept of pain. We went from the molecular level all the way to cognition in order to understand how and why pain is possible.