I’m now about halfway through my second semester at Hopkins. It’s absolutely crazy to me that just a year ago, I was waiting not-so-patiently to hear back from all the schools I applied to, and now I’m actually here, at Hopkins, living my daily life here and wondering how I ever wasn’t living my daily life here. I guess that’s just a funny thing about life; we anticipate and anticipate, but we can never know what something will be like until we are actually living it.
While I love to talk about everything non-academic on this blog, at the end of the day, I do attend Hopkins for an education (wow! who knew!). So I think it’s about time to dive into the courses I’m taking here, aka what I spend most of my time doing, contrary to popular belief.
Professional Writing and Communication
This course is for my (potential) Marketing and Communications minor. As the title suggests, it’s essentially a course meant to teach you how to write professionally, which is a skill that could really benefit anyone in absolutely every profession. This course is really interesting in that it is taught with a focus on communications work involved in social entrepreneurship. This gives the course a context in which we can learn how to write and communicate effectively. Basically, the whole course revolves around a scenario in which we have to pretend that we’ve become involved with a foundation that partners with students to promote social change. We are students with a great idea to solve a major social problem, and we’re determined to get funding for our idea. Therefore, all of our papers and presentations revolve around persuading this program to fund our idea. I chose to address the stigma of mental illness on college campuses, so all of my papers and presentations will revolve around this topic. I really like the layout of this class and how it causes us to think critically about social issues while learning how to effectively communicate and advertise not only our ideas, but ourselves.
Statistical Analysis 2
This course is (clearly) a follow-up to the statistics course I took first semester (Statistical Analysis 1). In this class, we are learning about hypothesis testing and analysis of variance. These techniques, which, before college, were completely foreign to me, are absolutely critical in any research findings. They are how researchers can prove if their findings are statistically significant, meaning that they show enough evidence to prove or disprove a hypothesis. In high school, I constantly felt like my mathematics classes were a waste of my time because I knew I would never use them in “real life”. This course, however, will be extremely useful in any field I may go into. It allows me to review any research with a critical eye, which is imperative in academia. Since I find this course to be challenging sometimes, I am also enrolled in PILOT, which is a free group tutoring service for two hours a week in which we work on problem sets given to tutors directly from the professor.
Introduction to Sustainability
This course is kind of my “random” course of the semester. I have always been interested in environmental issues, but I never really acted on my interest. Now, in a time when these issues are more pertinent than ever, I feel that this course is extremely relevant. The concept of “sustainability” is difficult to define, which is why we spend this course looking at it from environmental, social, and economical perspectives. From coming up with a way to efficiently heat a house in an eco-friendly and budget-friendly manner, to assessing BP’s definition of sustainability as a major oil company, to learning about (Hopkins grad!!!) Rachel Carson, I feel like this class has really made me think about my role as an individual in a world that is striving to progress, but is inevitably digressing.
Introduction to Social Psychology
This course is the second intro-level psychology course I have taken at Hopkins (the first being Brain Behavior and Cognition in first semester). Social psychology is something I have always been really interested in, especially after taking AP Psychology in high school and absolutely loving it. While Brain Behavior and Cognition was a fantastic and challenging class, it was much more neuroscience-y, which is fascinating, but not really up my alley. This class is more about behavior and attitude, which is something that effects our lives and interactions every day but we often fail to understand. Although this class is huge (literally bigger than my entire grade in my public high school), it feels kind of small in the sense that Professor Drigotas is a fantastic speaker and really keeps me engaged. Furthermore, the material is just so interesting to me. This class is full of case studies, anecdotes and experiments, which take the course material to the next level by proving its relevance in the real world. I think after this course, I will not only have a better grasp on the subject of social psychology, but I will have a better understanding of the people in my life and the relationships I have with them, and that is priceless.
Overall, my mix of courses (in addition to independent research) really keeps me busy, but engaged. This variety of courses seems relatively unrelated, but they are all tied by the ability of their material to transition effortlessly into my everyday life.