The Hamline Review: Part III

And now here’s a listing of my favorite and least favorite courses while at Hamline. I was just going to write about two courses (the best and the worst), but then I realized that there are a few different criteria for those two poles. So, instead of awarding any course a “Best” or a “Worst,” I’m gonna provide a few categories.

There are really four things to take into consideration: the course which presented the most enjoyable information, the course that afforded me the most enjoyable time in class, the class that was the easiest for me to ace, and the course in which I ended up with the highest grade. …And their opposites.

Most Enjoyable Information
The most enjoyable information was in my Horror Film course, which I took in the fall of 2014. Though I’m a big film buff, I’d often shied away from horror films. I’ve been interested in them, but always kind of nervous (scared?) to watch them. This course gave me some great exposure to a lot of great horror films, and the books were very interesting, too.

Most Enjoyable Time in Class
This had to be the Reform Movements course I took for my minor in History (Fall 2016). The students were a varied bunch, but we sat in a square, facing each other, and different students had to lead the class each day, so we got to know each other well. The camaraderie was better than in other courses, and I even made friends with one student, with whom I later roomed with during our time at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research in April of this year.

Easiest Course
During the summer of 2012, I interned as an associate editor for Freethought House, thus fulfilling the degree requirement of being an intern. I was already volunteering with Freethought House anyway, so nothing really change for me that summer except for two in-person meetings with my advisor and three brief questionnaires I had to fax in. Piece of cake.

Highest Grade
If my best class is the one in which I obtained the highest grade, then my best class was Music in the World’s Cultures, which I took in the summer of 2016. I accrued 995 of the course’s 1,000 points, but I also participated in the course’s extra credit assignment, which garnered me another 99 points. All told, I score 109% in the class.

Least Enjoyable Information
…But that one music class also came with the least enjoyable information. Hardly any of the information was even interesting; it was a lot of “well, there’s no good way to sum up all the music of central Asia in just one class period, so we won’t even try. Just know it’s really diverse. Here’s an example of one piece of their music, which is sure to not give you a good sampling. Now take this quiz which asks excruciatingly exacting questions about what you just learned, even though some of it has nothing to do with music.”
Here’s a sample question from the class: Which central Asian country lies between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea?
A) Armenia
B) Iran
C) Tajikistan
D) Turkmenistan
Give up? The correct answer is:
E) Since this isn’t a geography class, who cares?

Least Enjoyable Time in Class
My least favorite time in class was Women in Literature, which I took in the summer of 2011. The professor was great, and the information was interesting, but the class was squeezed into one month (instead of the normal three), so it was intense! Also, I had hand, foot, and mouth disease and sat in the class shivering with a fever on a couple occasions. I even showed up for the first class about 15 minutes late, since I was driving there but then turned around and went home when Jennifer told me Owen’s fever was spiking. Once I got home, I told Jennifer I either had to go to class or go and drop the class (either way, I had to get to campus pronto!), so that made for a crappy start. That June was very hot and humid, too, so the classroom was terribly uncomfortable. Night classes were always the hardest, anyway.

Hardest Course
Senior Seminar, which I just completed last month, was the hardest course. Even before the first day of class, I had to read 250 pages out of a novel in preparation, and the coursework never let up. I had to give two presentations and turn in, among other things, a 20+ page research paper.

Lowest Grade
Unfortunately, every instructor did not keep an exact point tally of grades. For example, in the Reform Movements course, the professor simply said she was grading us on attendance, participation, and on our final paper and presentation. I had perfect attendance in that class, so I assume I got 100% on that, but she never gave me any grade information on the presentation. Did I get 100%? Or 90%? Or something lower? I have no clue. I know I got an A in the class, but that could mean anything above a 93%. And, actually, I got an A in every class, even though I know I didn’t get a perfect 100% in every class, I don’t know which one came out on the bottom. If I had to guess, I’d say I probably “only” got a 95% in Textual Studies and Criticism (Spring 2010), since I got an A- on a couple papers.

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