Oberlin Blogs

My Classes, Spring 2016

March 6, 2016

Kira Findling ’19

I can't believe I've never made a post about my classes, which make up a huge part of my Oberlin experience! I've been blown away by the opportunities for knowledge here, both inside and outside the classroom. It's amazing how frequently my readings line up with lectures given by speakers visiting campus. My classes are definitely different than last semester; for example, they are no longer dominated by first-years! Here's a look at my current academic schedule.

HISP 304 - Advanced Grammar and Composition with Professor Ana María Díaz Burgos
After taking HISP 203 (second-semester Intermediate Spanish) last semester and recalling my knowledge from high school, I knew I wanted to challenge myself with the 304 class. It has a reputation for being very rigorous - and it is (lots of homework!) - and for hugely improving grammar and writing skills. Though I still get nervous about speaking, I'm noticing improvement in myself and my classmates (especially when I eat in the Spanish room at Stevie!). Plus, our professor is one of the kindest and most genuine people I've encountered at Oberlin, and she creates a very safe and welcoming class environment.

POLT 211 - Revolutions with Professor Stephen Crowley
During the add/drop period at the beginning of the semester, I decided to check out Revolutions; I'm really glad I did! It's new territory for me. I've never taken a Politics class before (except for AP US Government in high school), so I find myself getting a little overwhelmed with theory. My classmates frequently reference Marx, which sometimes makes me feel unknowledgeable, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. The structure works well, as we have a lecture class with about 45 students two days a week, and then a discussion section of 15 people on Fridays. I'm usually too nervous to talk in lecture, so the discussion has been helpful. My favorite aspect of the class is its emphasis on history, as I've always been captivated by personal stories. The individual accounts we read of the Russian and Mexican Revolutions prompted many late-night Wikipedia spirals into the intricacies of the lives of revolutionary figures. My focus in my own research lately has been the role of women in revolutions. Applying a feminist lens to the class has made it fascinating in a whole new way!

MATH 050 - Understanding Networks with Professor Elizabeth Wilmer
In complete honesty, I took this class to help fulfill my Natural Sciences and QFR (Quantitative and Formal Reasoning) requirements. But it's been pretty cool so far! The class basically explores connections in a mathematical sense, which can take many forms. We've discussed the degrees of separation between people, the ways spaces are connected in buildings, and how to plan a trip to a bunch of different cities using the shortest distances between them. I just finished a group project creating a big access map of the Robertson Practice Building in the Conservatory, which was neat!

RHET 207 - Literary Journalism with Professor Nancy Boutilier
I love love love this class! I almost didn't get in off the waitlist, but I managed to do so at the last second and couldn't be happier about it. I look forward to it every time. Nancy is a hugely dynamic and engaged professor and I feel so lucky to get to learn with her. Our assignments are awesome as well: so far, I've written a piece about the Oberlin statue of Giles Shurtleff, the white lieutenant colonel of the first all-Black Ohio regiment in the American Civil War. I am currently working on a profile of the wonderful custodian, Mary, who works on my hall! I got to interview her, which was really exciting, though a little nerve-wracking. This class gets me out of my comfort zone on a regular basis, which is exactly what I hoped would happen in college.

Giles Shurtleff statue
Giles Shurtleff's statue on the corner of Morgan and South Professor!

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