Part of the college experience, is choosing classes that, whether they are intended for your major or not, will nurture your mind and enhance your knowledge of the world around you and give you insight. Being a first year, I have wondered about this myself, so I asked some upperclassmen about classes that have impacted them. This is what they said.
Monique ‘19: Take the class Racism And Inequality in the Education System and Society with Jen Daigle-Matos. She is incredible and I always grow academically and as a person when I take her classes.
Savannah ‘16: Take an Art History class with Anthony Lee. He will transform the way you view art. The lectures were very engaging. Every piece of art has this hidden story and Anthony Lee teaches you how to read those stories.
Cheng ‘17: …For P.E. classes, I would definitely recommend Functional Weight Training. The class has dispelled a lot of myths about weight training, muscle building, and nutrition. It is a short course that is for everybody who is interested in learning how to use gym equipment and also how to train without it. I am surprised at how my stamina has improved over the course of just one semester of taking the course!
Libby ‘17: If a 5-College class can be allowed in this conversation, I would unequivocally say, take Ron Lembo’s Dilemmas of Diversity sociology course at Amherst College. It critiques the very idea and rhetoric of diversity, played out in contemporary contexts of institutional policy and lived experience. It’s the first course I’ve taken in college that made me think theory could be imaginative and “alive”. It’s also a class where everyone, by nature of being a college student brings something very unique and significant to the table. The independent project component to the class has been absolutely crucial to galvanizing my interest in interdisciplinary research, and continues to inform my thesis work and post-grad plans. If it is an MHC class, I’d say Asian American Film and Visual Cultural with Professor Ikyo Day because she guides the seminar to explore the two things mentioned in the title of the course, and then so much more (from neoliberalism in postcolonial studies, to experimental documentaries to architecture and landscape theory). It really opened my eyes to the immense potential that is enabled when we spotlight minority and non-white cultural archives.Kimberly Brown’s Toni Morrison Seminar is also currently blowing my mind. But that class, being taught by Kimberly Brown and spending a whole semester going through eight of her novels and one book of her groundbreaking critical essays speaks for itself.
Nana Amponsah (a recent graduate): I realize that I didn’t take any exciting courses at Mount Holyoke but I would recommend Intro to Economics, not just because I majored in economics but because I learned a lot about the economy that I think has been useful even in everyday experiences.
Now, while I don’t have such a wide spectrum of courses to choose (from being a first-year here), I think it would be wise to take a course called The Power of Images. I’m not one to sit and analyze artwork, but this course focuses more on the impact images have had on humans throughout history including contemporary society—how they shaped our societies and beliefs. What really attracted me to this course was that it focused on all images, even more contemporary images (for example: the use of images for propaganda). It is a very holistic view of media forms in general.
I would also say that Intro to Cultural Anthropology is a useful course for everyone regardless of their major. As the “future of America” we need not only to understand others, but to understand ourselves and I firmly believe that we cannot understand ourselves and our society if we do not understand how we fit in and compare to the rest of the world and the citizens of that world that we will work with side by side eventually.
There are a variety of classes at Mount Holyoke that will expand your knowledge, and if that reservoir of knowledge isn’t enough, the 5-College Consortium provides plenty of gleaming treasures. What classes do you think everyone should take before graduating? Leave a comment to share your thoughts with us.
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