Sex and the Ivy

Shopping at Harvard

Filed under: Academics, Life — Elle January 25, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

During the first week of each semester, Crimsonites “shop” classes, trying on cores for size and hopping from back-to-back lectures to overflowing seminars. It’s the most academically enthusiastic you’ll ever see the campus — or me. It’s the only time I eagerly highlight syllabi and listen with rapt attention to accented instructors. I dash from building to building, no pre-med requirements to slow me down, with a license (via my sociology concentration) to taste test history, English, women and gender studies, psychology, African American studies, and more.

Not unlike nights when I’ve triple booked myself for drinks (as I did last week in New York), I sometimes schedule three classes for a single hour. A quick scan of the room for potential classmates, an assessment of the professor’s ability to keep me awake, a few taps at my Powerbook, and I’m off with syllabus in hand.

Conveniently, my shopping schedule for this semester includes FOUR classes at 10am on MWF. I’m choosing between:

* Folklore and Mythology 106: Witchcraft and Charm Magic
* Literature and Arts A-88: Interracial Literature
* Sociology 109: Leadership and Organizations
* Sociology 156: Quantitative Methods in Sociology

Actually, it’s not much of a choice. I’m required to take the last one for my concentration, so I have to ditch the other three classes (which are infinitely more interesting). Must also take Sociology 97: Tutorial in Sociological Theory. Which means I have room for two of the following:

* African and African American Studies 97b : Topics in African American History and Society: Changing Concepts of Blackness (Does anyone know if I can get into an Af-Am tutorial if I’m not a concentrator?)
* Psychology 980qq. Psychology of Race: Theories, Politics, and Controversy
* Psychology 1201. Your Brain on Drugs: Psychopharmacology
* Sociology 24 : Introduction to Social Inequality (Might be a gut since I did four sociology courses already)
* Sociology 67 : Visualizing Social Problems In Documentary Film and Photography (Sociology in fun mediums. Most excited about this!)
* Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality 1170 : Power to the People: Black Power, Radical Feminism, and Gay Liberation 1955-1975 (Unfortunately, the reading for WGS tends to kill.)

Though I don’t want to, I should really look into cores (I’ve only taken Justice so far, and my head tutor is ready to deny my study card):

* Science B-57. Dinosaurs and Their Relatives
* Science B-64 : Feeding the World; Feeding Yourself

* Foreign Cultures 67. Popular Culture in Modern China

Save for the sociology requirements and cores, that’s a pretty representative sample of my intellectual interests. I should’ve probably gone to a liberal arts school.

[Okay, I've determined there's no way I'm doing an 11am class on Friday. Just no way. Also, I'm only waking up at 10am two days a week because my concentration requires it. Fuck science on TTh.]

8 Responses to “Shopping at Harvard”

  1. Sam Jackson Says:

    How early / late do most schedules tend to be?

  2. MWR Says:

    Werner Sollors is excellent. I’d pick his course.

    Have fun in Sociology 156. Possibly the only course at Harvard that has never been taken as an elective by anyone, ever.

  3. Frances Says:

    I strongly, strongly recommend Science B: Dinosaurs. True, it was the hardest class I’ve ever taken in my life, harder than Government Tutorial, but in the end I’m super happy I took it. You can impress little kids everywhere with your knowledge!

  4. Julia Walthers Says:

    Take African American studies. Such good dick I got in that class.

  5. Elle Says:

    Sam — schedules are as early or late as you make ‘em. I have a required course this semester at 10am but last semester I only had 11 hours of class a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. My latest class got out at 6pm on Wednesday but I could barely care since I had three-day weekends (and a FOUR day weekend had I not gotten an internship for Mondays).

  6. Ling Says:

    Hey Lena, I’m thinking of being a sociology concentrator at Harvard next year. Do you have any general comments on your department? Is the advising as famously crappy and distant as Econ? Professors generally good/caring?

  7. Rody Says:

    Oy, another social science concentrator griping about having to get up before noon on a Thursday. How precious. Why isn’t, say, Physics 181 on your shopping list?

  8. Mike Says:

    If I sent you a DUCATI official t-shirt would you wear it? You should write about the awesome coolness of Ducati bikes.

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