The power to choose my classes is what most appealed to me about college in the United States. At Cornell, the selection of courses to choose from is so wide that pre-enroll can be the most confusing time of the year. Perhaps the simplest way for Cornell students to procrastinate is by browsing the Course Catalogue which contains about 4,000 courses (That’s the number from Wikipedia, but I feel there’s more).
My personal list of classes to take is not something static. It evolves along with my interests or I find more interesting classes. There are so many classes that I want to take – ranging from Expository Writing, Introduction to Evolution, Nation and Nationality in India, Introduction to Wines and Vines (that one is probably on everyone’s list) to Introduction to Art History: The Classical World in 24 objects.
Although I have only spent one complete semester at Cornell yet, I already have two classes that I recommend to almost everyone who talks to me about courses.
1) PMA 2800: Intro to Acting
Many people assume that one must already have experience to get the most out of this class. But as the course title says, this course introduces you to acting, so no experience required at all! In fact, when I took this course in Fall 2013, I had had zero theatre experience. Being open minded and engaging yourself in the class and outside alone is more than enough to enjoy the class. Last semester was an immersion into theatre for me: I watched several performances on and off campus, auditioned for a theatre group and made it (and loving it! Shout out to Ordinary People). This class added a new aspect to my life.
However, I did not take the next course in the sequence: Intro to Acting I because that probably more serious about the techniques of acting. I only intend to be an “appreciator” of theatre who occasionally takes part in it. So not only do I get to choose my courses, I also choose in what capacity I pursue them.
P.S.: I am yet to reveal the best part of Intro to Acting: No prelims or final exam! You do a final scene study instead.
2) ENGL 1167: FWS Great New Books
This recommendation is for incoming freshmen or anyone who has to take a freshman writing seminar. When I was choosing my FWS, I was told that classes in the English department tend to be tougher than those in most others. But unintentionally, I ended up with this class (it’s a long story).
Basically, we read recent, acclaimed, fiction books, discussed them in class and wrote essays about them. One of our readings was a graphic novel titled “Fun Home”. After reading it, I get enraged when anyone refers to graphic novels as “comics”. Keep that in mind if we ever have a conversation about graphic novels.
While I enjoyed the book club style of our classes, my writing also improved greatly. This is the perfect FWS for all book lovers!
My list of classes to take and classes to recommend will keep growing and changing. When some college seniors complain about not having enough time to take all the courses they would like to, to study subjects that interest them, I can easily imagine myself in their shoes three years from now.