Back in June, I posted a Sophomore Year Recap to share a little bit about my major and the classes I took last year, and the post was so popular that I decided to do it again for this semester! There are so many cool and interesting things to learn in college, so I always love hearing about students’ different areas of study. I’m a Criminology and Geography double major with a minor in Entrepreneurship—all three are in different schools but that’s exactly how I like it. Gotta dip my toes into as much as possible, ya know? With that said, here’s a little bit about the courses I took this fall!
Intro to GIS
Intro to GIS is one of the more involved courses for my Geography major and one of the first requirements (I only just declared the major this quarter). GIS, which stands for Geographic Information System, doesn’t have a very straightforward definition, but National Geographic explains it as “a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface.” In a normal school year, this class would have been taught with two 1.5-hour lectures and one 2-hour lab per week. However, due to Covid, we had just one 1.5-hour Zoom lecture on Mondays and one 2-hour in-person lab on Wednesdays. The most exciting part of this class was definitely the labs, during which we would follow a set of instructions to navigate the GIS software in order to produce various maps and models. Our final project required us to create several maps of Denver that showed the city’s diversity over time, median income, and even 3D models of the data. It was so cool!
Sustainability and Society
This may have been my favorite class of college so far! This course fulfilled an elective requirement for my Geography major, but it’s also the intro course for the Sustainability minor at my school—meaning the class dabbled in several different areas of sustainability. We discussed climate change, wildfires, food production, urbanization, energy and renewable alternatives, etc. The professor was an extremely engaging lecturer, and I learned so much, not just about sustainability but about historical and political implications of these topics as well. This class was also taught entirely in person, which was surely a contributing factor for why I enjoyed it so much.
Violence in Society
This course fulfilled my last elective requirement for my Criminology major. I only have one more course—a theory class—before finishing my Crim major at the end of next quarter. Violence in Society was taught in a hybrid format, so we had an online lecture on Tuesday mornings and an in-person discussion on Thursdays. I didn’t know what to expect from this course, but it ended up being largely theory based—the readings were very long and abstract, and we didn’t talk much about relevant, real-world applications. However, I did learn some interesting tid-bits about why and how people commit violence, what it means for the state/government to perpetrate violence, etc. We also discussed topics such as nuclear war, genocide, hate crimes, and the crime spike of the 80s/90s. It was an interesting course, but it would have been a lot more engaging had it been taught entirely in person.
Death and Dying in Hindu Traditions
This class fulfilled my writing-intensive senior seminar requirement, which was my last common curriculum course. Unfortunately, it was taught entirely online and asynchronously, meaning I could work on it whenever I wanted. In some ways that flexibility is nice. However, I mostly find that these asynchronous classes are unfulfilling. It’s so difficult for me to learn or absorb anything when I just read something to myself, by myself. And I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but I love lectures! The professor of this class would have optional Zoom meetings just to ask questions about the homework or chit-chat, and she seemed like so much fun. I think I would have really loved this class had it been taught in person.
However, I did still learn about some fascinating Hindu practices and cultural differences. Our final exam for this course was an essay connecting what we learned in this class to two recent phenomena in India called Coronadevi and Coronasur. In Hinduism, disease is often attributed to goddesses, so when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, a new goddess, Coronadevi, was created. Some Hindus have started worshiping Coronadevi and giving her offerings so that she spares them of the virus. On the flip side, Coronasur is a newly created demon who is blamed for causing the virus, and figurines of him have been burned throughout the year at various Hindu holidays/celebrations. How interesting is that???
Emotionally Effective Leader
For my Entrepreneurship minor, I usually take two 1-day, 1-credit classes every quarter that happen on Saturdays. The Saturday part sucks, but I love being able to take a crash course on one very specific subject related to entrepreneurship. This Emotionally Effective Leader class was all about emotional intelligence and how to improve it. Before the day of the class, I had to take an EQ (emotional quotient) test to assess my emotional intelligence. The most useful part of the class was getting my test results so that I can see where to improve. Emotional intelligence involves categories such as impulse control, self-confidence, self-awareness, empathy, stress management, ability to work with others, etc.
The Perfect Pitch
As the name suggests, this class was all about how to pitch—pitch your business idea to investors, pitch yourself during an interview, etc. Even beyond entrepreneurship, this class was really useful because being able to present yourself and your ideas is a vital skill in the professional world and in life. I struggled a lot with the assignments in this class, but by the end I finally nailed my pitch and my pitch deck (aka PowerPoint slides)—it was so satisfying! I liked this professor so much that I’m taking his class next quarter too.
I have no idea what I want to do when I graduate, but more and more I am learning that my Criminology and Geography majors are surprisingly interconnected, which is super exciting. I would love to find (or create!) a job at the intersection of crime data and GIS analysis, and then I’ll use my entrepreneurship skills to run a fashion blog or personal styling business on the side. The possibilities are endless!
Also, how stinkin’ fun are these edgy photos?? My mom helped me take them at an equipment yard, and I love how they turned out. I feel so BA in my pleather jacket, aviator sunglasses, and choker. It was the perfect outfit for an industrial backdrop! Except for, maybe, a hardhat. Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever taken photos? Let me know in the comments below!
Miles of smiles,
Grey Tee: JCPenney, $6, last worn here | Black Pleather Jacket: BB Dakota via Gracie’s Boutique, $25, last worn here | Skinny Jeans: Francesca’s, $20, last worn here | Snakeskin Belt: Francesca’s, $9 | Black Booties: DSW, $45, last worn here | Black Fringe Purse: Unknown, $50, last worn here