Oberlin Blogs

My Favourite Classes So Far...

February 22, 2023

Aishwarya Krishnaswamy ’23

Eight semesters in, and here are a few classes that not only helped me learn academic skills but shifted my tectonic plates, helping in my learning evolution. One common theme across all these classes is that they in some form or another helped in my soul evolution journey. They also have some element of non-conventional teaching modes, for example yoga and dancing. 

1. Applied Psychotherapy 

I took applied psychotherapy taught by Kamilla while I was studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. I loved the critical framework this class took towards psychology as a field. No other psychology class has made me question the ethics and shortcomings of psychotherapy like this one. For example, the lack of a multicultural perspective, the centrality of the therapist, and the potential harm done through therapy. For the first time, I saw true critical thinking play out in the classroom (instaed of talking about 'critical thinking'), where we all engaged in rich discussions questioning the majority perspective. Ironically, learning about the deficits of psychotherapy made me like the field even more because, as an upcoming psychologist, I feel more aware of the blindspots and areas for improvement. Moreover, when I asked my professor why she continues to practice psychotherapy despite all its deficits, she said, “Sitting in that [therapy] room, I am not seeing my clients' suffering; instead, I am sitting with their growth, and this energizes me for days if not weeks on end.” I returned to the U.S. feeling more grounded in my decision to pursue psychotherapy post-Oberlin. 

2. The Future Is Feminine 

This was a class like no other I had taken before. Unlike what the name suggests, this class was more about balancing the masculine and feminine energies within ourselves. We would start class at 8:30 am with an hour and a half of Kundalini Yoga every class. The goal of this class was to stick to our ‘daily sadhana’ or daily practice/ritual. Truth be told, this was probably the hardest homework I have had to do in my undergrad career thus far. Finding the discipline and dedication to commit to the activity daily was really hard for me, but I did try my best. We learned about the female consciousness, emotional co-regulation, female pleasure/sensuality, creativity, consent, and the voice of the inner critic, to name just a few. My teacher Emily was very open, giving and thoughtful in her offerings to the class. I still practice my sadhana in ways I can uphold it. I am grateful I got to take a class like this while studying abroad. Truly a gift of a lifetime. 

3. Contemporary Dance 

This was the first dance class I had taken at Oberlin in spring 2022 with Prof. Holly Handman-Lopez. Only when I took this class did I realise how much I missed dancing. Under the weight of all my academic/premed requirements, it was challenging to do a class just for fun. My junior year spring semester was personally the hardest term for me. Even during that phase, this was a class I looked forward to each week. Moreover, Holly made this class so enjoyable with her funny remarks and making dance truly a fun experience. For the final project, I choreographed a dance piece along with my group. The theme of the dance was resilience and was centered around ‘spring always finds a way.’ I used my background in Kathak (Indian classical dance form) to create a fusion piece. It was overall a very fulfilling experience. I regret not having taken many dance classes during my time at Oberlin but I’m determined to dance as much as I can before I finish school. This semester, I am taking another dance and theater cluster. The dance class is called ‘Somatic Resilience,’ which explores the healing stored trauma in our body through dance and movement practices. 

Another class I am excited for this semester is a Theater class called ‘Staging Intimacy.’ I always wanted to take a theater class but never got around to it until this semester. This class explores the work of intimacy choreographers, boundaries and consent work through a performing arts lens. I am also pushing myself physically by taking the couch to 10K class in which my friend and I are training each week with the goal of running a 10K at the end of this semester (fingers crossed)!


Thank you for reading and hope you are embracing the seasons in your life ;) 

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