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To date, I’ve taken 26 classes at Carleton (woah… that’s way more than I thought!). Although I enjoyed some more than others, I’ve never been in a class I didn’t like! Here’s a list of some of my favorites:

POSC 160: Political Philosophy

  • I took this class as a freshman, and it was hard. I really struggled but learned so much: that’s one of the reasons it made it on my list of favorites.
  • We read books like The Leviathan, Aristotle’s Politics, and 5 Texts on Socrates, and wrote quite a few papers. I couldn’t believe I got through this workload in ten weeks, but it was actually pretty fun and way more manageable than I first thought.
  • This class was lecture-based and took place over Zoom (2020 was a weird year to start college).
socrates joke
Who doesn’t enjoy a Socrates joke?? (My professor “had to include it” in his presentation because he thought it was hilarious.)

SOAN 335: Politics of Public Art

  • This was the first upper-level class I took (at the end of my freshman year). I had to get permission from my advisor and the professor to get into the course because I hadn’t taken any Sociology/Anthropology (SOAN) courses yet and it was a 300-level, but everyone was so helpful about it! Because he knew I was new to things, my professor checked in with me often to make sure I was doing okay.
  • This was my first time making good use of office hours, and marks when I started connecting with professors more!

ARTH 214: Queer Art

  • I took this Art History course at the beginning of my sophomore year after spending the entire summer looking forward to it… it did not disappoint! We studied alternative art movements in the US starting from the 1940s, read a ton of papers, and wrote a lot of essays. The pattern you may notice: my favorite classes are also the ones that challenged me the most. This is true of most Carleton students!
  • This was the first lecture-based class I took in a classroom as opposed to over Zoom! It was such a relief.
  • Queer Art was the class that convinced me to declare an Art History major at the end of my sophomore year!

ARTS 290: Experience of Disability

  • This is a class I designed this class myself! Carleton has an independent study program where students can propose a course, petition the college to get it approved, then work one-on-one with their faculty mentor to study. A lot of students do independent studies; this was my second one in the Art department. I really love being able to pursue my own, independent research and having it count toward my degree!
  • In this class, I worked with my advisor to create artwork regarding identity, sense of self, and what it’s like to grow up with a disability.
  • My advisor for this course was the reason I declared a second major: Studio Art!


One of my drawings (marker and watercolor) from my study!

 PHIL 322: Social Constructionism

  • I took this philosophy course in the winter of my sophomore year. Even though it was difficult, I enjoyed every second of it. I have always been interested in philosophy, and may still declare a minor.
  • This course was a mix of discussion and lecture: all 10 students sat around a long table with our professor to discuss the readings, ask questions, and chat about what we were interested in pursuing in the future.
  • The professor for this course is in a band (Louis and Dan & the Invisible Band)! They performed at Carleton’s music venue, The Cave, earlier this year. It was so funny to see my existential and very intellectual philosophy professor singing a children’s song. They even have an album out on Spotify!


PE 171: Step Aerobics

  • This is a class I’m currently taking! Carleton requires all students to take four PE credits throughout their time here (this is my third one, only one more to go!). The instructor is in his 80s and has more zest for life than I’ve ever seen anyone else come close to. It’s a workout for sure!
I can’t even be mad about walking over to Cowling Gym with this scenery!




Ren (they/them) grew up catching salamanders, recklessly climbing trees, and running around barefoot in the Appalachian Mountains in a small town in North Carolina. They are a junior double major in art history and studio art, and love spending time in the arb, Sayles Hill Campus Center, and the Weitz Center for Creativity. Ren is the co-president of Carleton’s QuestBridge chapter, and also works with other equity programs on campus.