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Learning Can Be Fun?! My Top Three Favorite Classes That I’ve Taken at UMass, As a Senior

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

It’s the spring of 2020— everyone is pent up in their houses to deal with a pandemic and no one knows when it will ever end. You go to your high school graduation while it’s about 90 degrees outside, and everyone is wearing face masks with their cap and gowns. Summer flies by and you suddenly begin college from your bedroom at home because everything is fully remote due to COVID-19. This is the beginning of your journey, but you have no idea which classes you’ll end up taking or where your interests will lead you. Flash forward to the fall of 2023: it’s senior year and you’re looking back at all of the courses you took throughout your college career. Which ones were your favorite? My answer to this question lies in the following article.

1. Abnormal Psych

There was no hesitation in choosing which class took first place on my list of favorites. Abnormal psychology, also known as Psych 380, with Professor Richard Halgin, was an experience that I will never forget. As someone who is a psychology major, there are many courses that have similar concept, but Professor Halgin is what set this course apart from any other that I have taken here. Since he is a clinical psychologist with a private practice, each class that he taught was devoted to a particular client’s story. This story started at the referral, went through the therapeutic process, and came to an end in one way or another. Even though this course was in a lecture hall at 8:30 a.m., every class felt like I was attending a TED Talk, and I genuinely looked forward to hearing each story. Throughout these stories, Professor Halgin would incorporate the psychology textbook terms, which made it feel so much more relevant than a PowerPoint slide would have. I would recommend this course to anyone and everyone who is considering taking it.

2. Film and Education

This class had a unique backstory because I was going to take it freshman year as my residential academic program (RAP). At UMass, a RAP is an opportunity for first year students who live in the same residence hall to enroll in the same course. I was super excited about this opportunity because it meant that I was guaranteed to live in the Southwest part of campus while also taking a class that I would enjoy. Unfortunately, when UMass announced that the fall semester of 2020 would force everyone to stay home, I did not get the full experience of a RAP. Despite the letdown of doing this class fully remote, it still ended up being one of my favorite courses that I have taken in my four years at college. Our assignments consisted of watching movies from the 80’s that related to schooling, doing a writing assignment to react to them, and talking on Zoom calls with our classmates. It doesn’t get much better than receiving credit for watching great movies!

3. Social Problems

This class might have had a greater impact on me because it was pertinent to current events at the time. This was a sociology course that covered a wide range of topics from race, to crime, to sexuality. I took it in the fall of 2020, when Black Lives Matter protests were in full swing. Additionally, this was not too long after the death of George Floyd. For these reasons, when we discussed racial injustice. It felt less like a history lesson and more like a passionate conversation about the issues that society was dealing with. It reminded me that issues like this are never just a part of a textbook, but topics that must be continuously addressed in everyday discussions. Also, because this class was on Zoom, there was a Snapchat group that a large portion of the class communicated through. Taking this course at such a unique point in time made me really appreciate the material and the mode of communication.

While I feel a great sense of nostalgia as a senior at UMass, it brings me a lot of joy and gratitude to reflect on some of the best courses I took. It also reminds me to really appreciate every moment of the classes that I am in right now, as they will soon be a distant memory that I reflect on. Lastly, I hope that if anyone who is reading this is a UMass student and still has courses left to take, they will consider some of these options.

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Ashley Pope

U Mass Amherst '24

Ashley is a senior at UMass Amherst majoring in psychology with a minor in education., with a certificate in social work This is her second semester writing for Her Campus and she is excited to continue to be part of the community. In her free time she enjoys reading, journaling, working out, and going to cafes.