HELLO HELLO. I’m so happy that winter break is finally here! I’ve been home since yesterday, and today… wow, today I did almost nothing. I slept and went for a walk and took selfies with my cat. DOING NOTHING IS GLORIOUS.
It also feels a bit weird… I keep thinking that I should go study or something, and then I remember that classes and finals are over. OMG I HAVE HARDLY ANY RESPONSIBILITIES FOR LIKE A MONTH. I’M GONNA ENJOY THIS SOOOOO MUCH.
Anyway, I mentioned in my previous college update that I’d like to post those updates about once a month or so… so that’s what I’m doing today! This will be the last post about my fall 2015 classes, because today I’m recapping them! HERE ARE MY FINAL THOUGHTS ON WHAT I’VE BEEN STUDYING.
City of Literature
I freaking LOVED being in a literature class this semester. I’d never taken one before! My mom is super science-y and not literature-y, so… well, TBH, I do feel that part of my homeschooling education was lacking. (Sorry, Mom. But it’s true.)
Oh, I read a lot, and I even read classics on my own, just because I felt like it, but there was no one there to analyze them with me, to pull them apart and dissect characters’ motives and the symbol meaning of certain objects and… yeah. It was kind of lonely. So I loved being able to discuss the meanings and merits of various novels, poems, and short stories! OMG THIS IS MY KIND OF THING.
Also, this course was an EXCELLENT introduction to Iowa City, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and the university itself! The Workshop was a major factor in my decision to attend the University of Iowa, and I learned more about it than I ever thought possible, thanks to this course.
If I’m ever accepted to the Workshop for grad school, I’ll already know a lot about its history and the motivations for creating it and whatnot… and if I’m not? Well, this IS where I’ll be spending the next four years of my life, so this course will be helpful either way. YAY FOR LITERARY HISTORY.
I’d never taken a creative writing class before, either! AHHH THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN. At first it was kind of scary to show my writing to people I didn’t even know – I barely show my writing to people I’ve known for years, or even all my life – but it ended up being really really helpful! I’m proud of the short story I wrote for my final assignment, as well as all the other pieces I produced.
Intro to Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies
THINKING ABOUT THIS COURSE FILLS ME WITH RAGE. RAGE, I TELL YOU. RAAAAAGE. It was just… so not what I was expecting! This is a subject I love, but Intro to GWSS ended up being my least favorite class. I had to practically drag myself to class each day. (At least I found a friend who snarked about that class with me?!)
Intro to GWSS is one of the course that may be used to fulfill the Values, Society, & Diversity section of the gen ed requirements (which are necessary for graduation). The syllabus said no prior knowledge about gender, sexuality, or women’s history was needed for this course… which is what worries me. Someone could sign up for this course not knowing anything about these subjects – which would normally be fine, because everyone has to start somewhere, after all.
Except… my professor was terrible. She spouted off so much misinformation – I counted four inaccurate definitions of bisexuality alone – and it really worries me because someone who may not know much about that kind of thing could leave this course thinking that they know oh so much about this topic when in reality, their head is now filled with misconceptions.
UGH. And like… her discussion of LGBTQ+ issues was absolutely awful? I’m not saying that a cishet person can’t teach classes on this subject, but doing so does – or should, anyway – require a ridiculous amount of studying and research in order to be even halfway competent, simply because they don’t have the lived experience that an actual queer person would. And my prof just didn’t.
I tuned out halfway through the unit on trans identities because it was so obvious that she didn’t believe a single word she was saying. I basically wanted to slap her in the face with my textbook and say, “Look, there are a lot of reasons why Caitlyn Jenner is a terrible human being and an equally terrible spokesperson for the trans community, but SHUT UP AND STOP DEADNAMING HER.”
The two good things that came out of this course were an appreciation of Roxane Gay’s book Bad Feminist, and a newfound interest in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ writing. (I’m going to get his 2015 book Between the World and Me at the library tomorrow!) So at least there’s that.
Media History and Culture
It’s kind of funny to think about how much this course intimidated me at the beginning of the year… because I ended up loving it! I wanted to drop out of it during the first few weeks, though.
I loved learning about the history of media – I ESPECIALLY loved learning about the history of photography, film, and computers! I love taking photos, and since film is closely related to that I think it’s cool too. I’m not much of a computer person, but that unit of the course was still super cool because our lives are filled with technology and it’s amazing how quickly that tech changes.
(Like… I was digging through our boxes of old VHS tapes and cassette tapes today, and it dawned on me that although that’s what I grew up with, I have no idea how to operate it now. I remember using it as a very young child, but now I’m used to iPods and smartphones and Netflix now, and it’s just bizarre to think that that didn’t exist when I was in elementary school, or maybe even middle school. Anyway, I’m just rambling now. I’m sorry. I’ll stop.)
3,000 Years of Heroes, Villains, and a Mad Race for Immortality
DSKJHGDKAGJAHDSKG ASDLKHSDLGKHLDS SADJHGDSJGHDSLGJDHSGLDSG! I LOVED THIS COURSE SO FREAKING MUCH IT WAS DEFINITELY MY FAVORITE FROM THIS SEMESTER!
This course was my honors first-year seminar… everyone in the honors program is encouraged but not required to sign up for one. We read a ton of comics as well as classic works of literature in order to compare and contrast superheroes and mythological heroes. (Think Captain America & Bucky vs. Achilles & Patroclus, or Batwoman vs. Camilla. I wrote two papers about those heroes!) We talked about a lot of BIG IDEAS, too. Such as free will! Now when I read comic books, I can’t help but think about their philosophical underpinnings.
I can’t wait to take another course with my SU professor this spring!
Has your winter break begun yet?! Tell me all about your recent classes!