A big difference between high school and college is the diverse classes you get to take in college. While I plan on majoring in Economics, Oberlin offers a flexible path to meeting requirements for your major, so I have taken many different types of classes. In this blog, I will discuss my favorite classes that I have taken so far, excluding Economics.
Number one on my list has to be New Zealand Film taught by Professor Leah Vonderheide. In this class, we learned about New Zealand culture by watching films that were produced either in New Zealand or by New Zealand filmmakers. I found it so interesting learning about the Maori tribe and how they experience othering similar to black people in America. This class was mainly discussion-based with guided slideshows and readings. I felt like Professor Vonderheide truly did a great job of showing the power of New Zealand cinema as a singular identity and then showing how it relates to the rest of the world. Not only was it a great class, but Professor Vonderheide also took members of the class on a Winter Term trip to New Zealand! Though I was unable to make the trip, I heard from my friends in the class that it was an amazing experience and that what we learned in class really related to what they saw when they visited the actual country.
Number two on my list is Intro to Religion taught by Professor Corey Barnes. This class is exactly what it says it is, an intro to religion. We covered topics in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Professor Barnes did an excellent job of breaking down how the three religions compared and contrasted with each other through different readings of religious books. In my opinion, the most interesting piece we read in Intro to Religion was the story of Job. I would tell you what the story is about, but I'm going to leave that up to Professor Barnes! Many of the classes Professor Barnes will read directly from the religious books and help translate what the text is saying to the class. There will also be small group class discussions where you can talk about how you feel about the readings and what you think metaphorical things in the text stood for.
I'm going to top my list off with Environment and Society taught by Professor Karl Offen. My favorite part of this class was the community-based project that assigned you to work with a group of people on a project that will help the environment. My particular assignment was to gauge the interest of a community garden in Oberlin. I found myself door-knocking and surveying members of the community. On top of that, my group and I surveyed different areas around Oberlin to determine where it would be best to put the garden if we could get enough community members to support the garden. We determined which areas would be the best by assessing the greenery that surrounded it, as well as who owned the property and the angle the sun touches the property. At the end of the semester, we made a slideshow out of all the information we had gathered while working on our project and presented it to our fellow classmates and members of the community.
While I have taken many interesting classes so far I know it is only a taste of what Oberlin has to offer me and I hope to redo this list in the future. Next semester I am looking forward to taking my first Africana Studies class. This is very exciting because Africana Studies is one of the best programs at Oberlin and I am interested in learning more about African culture and possibly doing a winter term in Africa in the future. No matter how great your thirst for knowledge is, Oberlin will always be able to fill your cup with the opportunity and information you are looking for.