Hey there, readers! Last time I wrote, I extolled my excitement for my classes this term and promised to share more soon. Well, that time has come!
Believe it or not, more than a week of the trimester has already gone by, which means I’ve had Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes four times, and Tuesday-Thursday classes twice. (To learn more about our schedule, check out this blog post.) For now, humor me while I rave about my classes!!
Anthropology of Food
Even though I’ve only been to this class twice, I’ve gotten a good flavor for it already. (Get it? Food puns? Brace yourself.)
The professor, Constanza (lots of profs go by their first names at Carleton!), is one of my faves. I took Intro to Anthropology with her last spring term, and I was sold. She studies environmental anthropology — read, how humans interact with their surroundings and the natural world — specifically conversation and development in Latin America, which is right up my alley. Plus, she has a big, outgoing, friendly personality that makes her one of the most popular professors at the school.
I knew I had to take another class with her if I could get in. Luckily, I had a good registration priority for this term, which helped me get into my top choice courses.
So far in the class, we’ve talked about what food means to us, which drew out the social and communal nature of eating; how taste can bring back memories and assert an identity; and how cooking shaped evolution, helping make humans human. Today in class, we’re going to discuss how a combination of culture and genetics has shaped ideal diets and food intolerances for communities across the world. I’m looking forward to continuing these themes throughout the term, and exploring food as a connection to the environment!
Intro to Latin American Literature (Spanish 242)
This class is in Spanish, and not gonna lie: it is hard. Last term, I took Spanish 204, the last course in the language requirement sequence. We practiced speaking and reading and writing, and covered grammatical topics like the past subjective and “si” clauses. It was harder than Spanish 103, but still definitely a language-learning class.
Spanish 242? Not so much. From Day 1, we’re expected to speak in Spanish, read in Spanish, understand when the professor talks in Spanish. There are even native Spanish speakers in the class, which was definitely intimidating. It’s already easy to have imposter syndrome with so many smart people at Carleton. Add in a foreign language that everyone else knows better, and I maybe got a sense of what it’s like being an international student who grew up speaking another language and now is doing college in English.
That realization alone is a good reason to take a class in another language. Plus, there was a moment yesterday when it all clicked.
Sunday night, I stayed up late reading a particularly hard piece by Bartolemé de Las Casas. I was totally lost. So I Zoomed with two friends in the class on Monday morning to talk over the reading and response questions in a mix of Spanish and English. After that half hour, I felt so much more confident.
And when I got to class that afternoon, my professor told us that this would be one of the hardest readings all term. I breathed a sigh of relief. I’d done it! During class, I understood more of what people said than I had yet. I spoke confidently to one of my native-speaker classmates in a breakout room. I even chimed in with a question to the whole class!
Learning another language is challenging, but hella rewarding. Combine that with my love for learning about other cultures, and it’s no surprise that I’m considering a Latin American Studies minor (or maybe even major??)
This was probably the course I was most excited about… even with all my energy for the other two! I’m a passionate writer (if you can’t tell from my effusive blog posts), so I’ve been holding out for a creative writing course since the beginning of college. And so far, this one has scratched that itch!
We spend Monday and Wednesday discussing the craft of writing. We read short fiction and poetry, pulling out parts that make the story tick: last week was description-focused, this week was plot. To supplement, we read writing about writing. I’ve really enjoyed our excerpts from Steven King’s funny and insightful book “On Writing.”
Then, Fridays are workshop days.
We come having written a piece based on a prompt and read those of our peers; we split into workshop groups; and we spend a whole hour discussing each others’ works. The dream! I’ve gotten lots of good feedback and had a ton of fun getting to know my group.
(One bonus: the class is sophomore priority, which means basically everyone in it is in my year at school! It’s a fun way to build community and meet new people online.)
So far, I love the course, the professor, the reading, the writing… it’s definitely confirmed my interest in majoring in English and/or minoring in Creative Writing. (I really need to get on that post about majors and minors, don’t I?)
I hope I’ve helped you get a taste of classes at Carleton. (Told you to watch out for puns.) To formulate your own dream schedule based on your nerdy passions — we all have them here — check out the course catalog!
There’s no better way to procrastinate high school… whoops, I mean prepare for college 😉
Greta is a proud Vermonter and Carl who’s getting the best of both worlds by doing school from home. She has weathered the pandemic by writing constantly, playing piano, and spending time outdoors. Then eating lots of chocolate. She wants to learn everything, but she might major in English and minor in Latin American Studies. Meet the other bloggers!