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Courses with Friends

April 10, 2013   

On the Hill, academic interests and aspirations change from week to week, month to month, semester to semester.  A simple hobby today can become tomorrow’s passion—just as easily, a favorite pastime can be replaced by some new venture.  This frenetic concentration is especially prevalent this week on the Hill, as course selection for fall of 2013 nears.  Many Hamilton students – myself included – have put aside their textbooks in favor of the course catalogue.

However, experience has taught me to look past the catalogue—its descriptions sometimes suffer from being two-dimensional.  Fellow students, upperclassmen who have gained a healthy degree of insight into Hamilton’s academics, offer much more in-depth analyses.  They can reveal what professors like and dislike in their students, which lectures are particularly interesting and whether the workload is far too heavy or just manageable.  A simple conversation with a friend often reveals if a class is right for me or not.

But my peers at Hamilton do more than offer insight into particular courses; the tastes and preferences of friends oftentimes influence my scheduling decisions.  When one member of my social circle sits through a life-changing lecture or talks up a particularly engaging assignment, the rest of us hop eagerly onto the bandwagon, determined to find the same mental stimulation.

For example, my good friends Max Newman ’16 and Hashem Zikry ’13 are both enrolled in a course titled, “Psychology and Detective Fiction.”  For this class, they each had to produce their own detective story—along the way, they asked for input.  I became highly engaged in the assignment, truly invested in each short story; in fact, I was a little sad I could not write my own.

At this moment I am determined to enroll in that course—along with about five other friends who, like me, observed and took part in the creative process.  But it’s not available until next spring… so I will just have to wait.  For the moment, I need to figure out my schedule for next fall.