Emma O’Hara here, helping you to pick out your classes for
For second semester Freshmanzz, picking your classes is especially hard:
Regardless of how effectively you used student/teacher testimony and RateMyProf,
you probably ended up with a mix in the quality of the classes you took. Sowwy
I’ve gone through that same gauntlet, I’ve taken some good and some bad
classes; I’d like to do my part to help you to avoid another mediocre semester,
being that you’re my audience, the reason I blog, and because I’m in love with
While I do feel I am qualified to identify some of the weaker classes I took,
so you don’t end up taking them, I haven’t yet taken a teacher at MC who’s had
their heart in the wrong place; I cant sit here and fry good people, when I am
no highly-trained, battle scarred, adventure-hardened, force-wielding teacher
When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me “if you have nothing nice to say,
don’t say it at all” and “don’t pee on the floor in the corner of the house;
that’s what the dog does.”
I’ve taken both of these messages to heart.
K, so here ya go—my must-take class list:
HS-113—19th century Utopias—John Riedl
There is more depth to this class than any class I’ve ever taken. There’s so
much information and background to the topic of Utopias, you learn a lot.
There’s also a lot of work, I should add. You do a group project where you and
a few others design a Utopia; that’s a lot of fun. It’s the only group project
I’ve ever done where doing the project is fun, so people actually do their
John Riedl, the prof., is a very personable and knowledgeable. His lectures are
lively, interesting, and funny; he runs the kind of class that gets you out of
bed in the morning.
You’ll walk away from this class not only understating the Utopian movement,
but also a lot more about American
Culture. Every utopian effort is tied in with intellectual currents,
celebrities, and/or crazies of the time. If National Enquirer, the Economist,
and Time Magazine teamed up 200 years ago, you’d get the sort of information
you learn in this class. If you’re an American History fan, this is 100% a
class to take; I wasn’t, and I still loved it and took a lot from it.
PS-241—Aram Hessami—Western Political Thought
This class traces the evolution of Western Poli.
Thinking, from Plato to Karl Marx. Hessami tries to illustrate how every
philosopher’s works were affected by his environment and how they changed that
environment, which he does a good job of. What the best part of this class is,
though, is Hessami’s ability to foster the capacity for critical thought in his
students. If you intend on pursuing a
career or are majoring in anything that rewards logic and critical thought,
take this class.
Aram Hessami is the kind of professor whose quality isn’t accurately quantified
by RatemyProfessors.com. That site compiles ratings of a teacher’s ease,
helpfulness, clarity, and the rater’s interest (what does that even mean?
Interest in what? The class? Interest in the teacher? Like, sexually?) and
gives you an overall rating. Hessami is NOT easy, tends not to meet struggling
students on a level they understand, dooming him in terms of helpfulness, and,
while Hessami does explain things methodically, he delves deep into topics,
making what he says seem unclear if you cant follow. I loved his class, though.
Hessami boasts an encyclopedic knowledge of the content, influences, and
implications of Philosopher’s works. You learn so much about how classic philosophers have viewed the world, which
is really perspective changing, because Hessami has so much knowledge that he
makes available to you.
Evironmental Biology (W. Lab)—Sharon Ward
I am not, nor was I ever, planning to be a Bio major. I took this class because
a science w. a lab was required. Content-wise, this course offers a sufficient
survey of an impressive number of fields: you’ll learn about the processes that
perpetuate nature, the environmental problems we’re facing today, and about the
politics behind support for or against environmental change; the course has a
whole lot of politics in it. One of the things that sets this class apart from
every other one I’ve taken is the field trips. Most of the field trips are for extra
credit, minus one or two, which are required, and all of them are fun. She does
a good job of finding interesting, topic-related events for students to attend;
it can be as much of a course in DC’s Green-culture as it is Biology.
The teacher is what really makes this class memorable, though. Professor Ward is a concerned teacher and a
really nice person. I say “concerned” because she badly wants her teaching to
be effective for every student and she’ll work with you if you’re not
understanding something; she’ll work with you until you get it completely.
In addition, unlike the other two courses I’ve suggested you take, this is an
easy class. Do the assigned reading, which never gets too heavy, and pay
attention to the lectures, and you’ll get an A. Easy does NOT mean invaluable,
though. If you take advantage of the depth this course offers, you’ll get a lot
more out of this class than a kid who does the minimum of what he/she has to
get an A.
PL-201--INTRO TO PHILOSOPHY—Robert
Okay, so I’m getting tired of writing so much; trim down time; I have other
stuff to do. You learn a little about a LOT in
this class. More than give you a understanding of the history of philosophy,
which he does an okay job of, he knows a lot about contemporary philosophy,
which he shares knowledge of with the class. The text he uses is very dense, so
you probably wont end up reading what he wants you to read. If you do manage to
read the text, you get VERY interesting lectures alongside a background of the
history of philosophy. If not, you’re going to just attend a bunch of
Professor White is a great guy. He loves when people come by to chat with him
in the office. He’s a great thinker and would be willing to chat with you about
any intuition or idea you’ve ever had, but never really been able to discuss. I
will note that he’s pretty disorganized, which is apparent from his occasional
repeating of theories he’s already discussed.
All three of you who go to MC and have read this much already are probably more
interested in learning than getting a good grade, but I should note that this
is the easiest class I’ve taken at MC. It’s like listening to an interesting
lecture every class period, rather than the traditional exchange of written
work for more information that will go into your next piece of written work.
There’s two or three graded assignments, all of which you can find ways to get
the grade up for.
EN102—TECH OF RDNG & WRTG II—Ruth Dalton
I cant say enough about this teacher. Professor Dalton is so
knowledgeable about everything and SO kind. Professor Dalton is like
Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother; that is seriously the only equivalent I can think
of, which says strange things about me. If the nicest woman in the world went
to the best school in the world, and then had 40 years experience with the best
job in the world, that woman would be professor Dalton’s clone.
You walk out of Professor Dalton’s classes with your head hurting, having
learned so much, so quickly. She condenses SO much information into night
sessions. Unfortunately, Professor Dalton is SUPER BUSY, and so she teaches
only one class, and it’s a night class…If SOMEHOW you’re looking for a EN102
class at night, do yourself a favor and take professor Dalton.
SO-206—Sociology of Personality—Dan Wilson
I am really tired, so this one’s gonna be short.
This class fleshes out a very way of looking at interaction between people
that’s very applicable in life. The way you look at people interacting around
you changes after you’ve been in this class. I walked away from this class with
a different perspective on the way I carry myself, act around other people, and
how other people react to me. Some of the insights you gain from this class
click right in with your own experiences and resonate with you. The class
combines Powerpoint lectures and videos in a way that the class is never