This year, I decided to cut my winter break short by three weeks and come back to campus for Intersession. Normally, I’m not the type of person to willingly take extra classes, but Intersession is one of the only times I can explore topics I’m interested in just for fun, without worrying about major or distribution requirements. I chose to take three one-credit classes, and all three of them have been great so far. Here’s a summary of what I’ve learned in the past two weeks:
Writing Fantastical Fiction, taught by Shannon Robinson
I’ve always loved creative writing, but during the school year I never have time to write just for fun. In this class, we read and discuss almost 20 short fiction stories as well as writing several works of our own. I’ve enjoyed seeing how fantasy, which I always associated with children’s or YA books, is used in literature by authors like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Joyce Carol Oates. Having my own story workshopped by the fifteen other people in the class was intimidating at first, but getting feedback on my work was undeniably helpful. This is my earliest class of the day and the one with the heaviest workload, but the experience has definitely been worth it.
There Will Be Monsters (And Popcorn), taught by Guido Furci
This class is all about examining horror movies through a historical lens. Horror movies are another thing I’ve always loved but never had the chance to actually study them in an academic setting. We’ve talked about how horror movies have evolved over the years and how they parallel real-world events of the 20th century. I’ve watched classics like “Night of the Living Dead” as well as more modern films like “Nightmare on Elm Street.” When am I ever going to take another class where we have to watch movies for homework? Plus, when we watch movies in class, Professor Furci brings in popcorn.
Cooking the Books, taught by Heidi Herr
The rare books library is one of the most impressive things about Hopkins, but I’d never been in there before this class. We learn about the history of cookbooks and get to handle and look at the library’s extensive collection. I could look at old recipe books for hours–it’s fascinating how cookbooks, as well as the art of cooking in general, has changed over the centuries, and trying to decipher a 200-year-old handwritten recipe or home remedy is always a fun challenge. Our final project is to recreate a dessert recipe from one of the books, which I’m super excited about. The timing of the class can be a bit inconvenient–it’s Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:15-8:30–but Heidi’s passion and enthusiasm definitely make up for it.
This intersession has been busy–aside from classes I’m starting a new job, volunteering at my lab, applying for summer internships, and intensely marathoning The Great British Bake-Off–but the past two weeks have been so fulfilling, I don’t regret any of it.