#CelebratingUNC: My Favorite Classes

As a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I've accumulated quite a bit of experience during my undergraduate career, be it through a rigorous course schedule or undertaking internships. This past Friday, October 12th, was the University's 225 anniversary. It is the oldest public university in the United States, which is definitely a major accomplishment. I am honored to have the opportunity to study at Carolina, to explore my interests, to join campus organizations and to be a crazy fan of Carolina's distinguished athletics, including watching us win the National Championship in 2017. However, the knowledge I will take away with me when I graduate is by far what I hold dearest, which is why I have decided to make this list in honor of the university's anniversary. Without further ado, take a look at some of my favorite classes at Carolina:

 

Music 143 - Introduction to Rock and Roll Music

Before coming to Carolina, my interest in music basically amounted to listening to whatever happened to be trending at the time. However, because my parents were both insanely in love with Rock and Roll, I soon shared their interest and grew up around the music. Thus, I was both surprised and curious to run across a course like this at Carolina. As a first-year, entering college for the very first time, I really had no idea what I was doing, so to find a course like this was very much welcomed. Furthermore, of all the courses I have taken at Carolina, this class remains my favorite. I mean, how can someone hate a class where you listen to Rock and Roll music during lecture and write papers on why Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt" is better than the Nine Inch Nails version (opinion will greatly vary)? It was the first course I truly enjoyed, and I always looked forward to attending the lectures. It also sparked a newfound interest in music itself, inspiring me to take two more music classes during my sophomore and junior years.

History 276 - The Modern Middle East

Given today's volatile political climate and the worsening situation in the Middle East, this class is a must-take for an understanding of the region. If anything, I'm glad I took this class to gain valuable insight into the history of the region. As a history major, I am fascinated by how everything is connected together, and I like tracing these threads back through time. I also feel like you can't truly understand anything without first knowing the context from which it emerged. Understanding motivations, why people and governments do the things they do, is crucially important because nobody does anything without a reason. The course professor was passionate about the topic and made the course incredibly engaging. One of my favorite things about the class was the literature we read because it's also important to understand how the people, the ones caught in the center of these conflicts, experience these issues. I think we sometimes forget that it isn't just about the corrupt government or the ones in charge; there are also human lives at stake who suffer every day.

History 207- The Global Cold War

One of my favorite subjects in American History is the Cold War. During my sophomore year, when presented with the opportunity to take an entire class dedicated to that topic, I jumped at the chance. What I got was my favorite history course at Carolina, a class that challenged me to think critically in a way that I never had before. My experience culminated in my first attempt at real historical research, in the form of a 12-page paper on the Korean War that certainly helped prepare me for my current course, a capstone research seminar required by all undergraduate history majors. The course also presented me with new perspectives on the Cold War, ways to look at the conflict that I had never considered before. It wasn't just America versus the Soviet Union because the Cold War was a world-wide conflict that touched almost every continent. This is perhaps my favorite thing about courses at the University, how they can teach you new ways to approach familiar topics and think about things in ways you never had before. 

English 356- British and American Fiction since World War II

It wouldn't be a list for me if I didn't include a course from my first major. My area of interest has always been on modernist fiction, and this class allowed me the opportunity to explore that interest. Additionally, this course coincided with the History 207 course I previously mentioned, which meant that I was practically learning the same things in both classes at the same time. Perhaps most importantly, the novels we read in the class have managed to score a permanent place on my bookshelf. Since taking this course, I have re-read several of the novels from this class and found new and exciting things about them. If you're looking for any book recommendations, then check out Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

English 143- Film and Culture

This class is important to me for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I entered the University knowing I would major in English and History, but I never anticipated my newfound love for cinema. This class is the reason I am now a Global Cinema Studies minor, and it's the reason why I started paying attention to films in ways that I never had before. At this point in my career, I have taken four film classes for my minor. All four courses could have easily found their way onto this list, but I restrained myself to just one. Initially, I took this class as a fun way to garner credit hours while keeping my GPA up. Yet, I ended up thoroughly enjoying what I learned and found that I was remarkably good at analyzing films and writing about them. I also really enjoyed the process, learning about how films are made and the extremely arduous work that is put into making the perfect shot. Never before would I have considered watching a film like Solaris, a deep, thought-provoking science fiction piece, but now, it is one of my favorites.

 

Reflecting back on my undergraduate career, I realize just how lucky I am to have been admitted to this University. Happy Birthday, UNC! Here's to another 225 years of academic excellence!

What's your favorite UNC course?