My Favorite Classes: UPenn

October 08, 2015

Russia in the Age of Anna Karenina: Already fascinated by Russian culture and history, I eagerly signed up for the freshman seminar based largely on Anna Karenina, a novel written by Leo Tolstoy. Because the University of Pennsylvania’s freshman seminars are relatively small, they afford students greater interaction with faculty members than a typical class does. In my case, I was able to better get to know not only my incredible and passionate professor, but also my wonderful peers. Seated around a rectangular table, we engaged in vibrant weekly discussions, which often delved beyond Tolstoy’s plot and into the rich history of 18th century Russia. Instead of merely touching upon character analysis, we essentially took on the character persona (at least we did for our first written assignment). The course, heavily based on reading, writing, and discussion, pushed us to hone our analytical and critical reasoning skills—that being said, I learned a great deal from the seminar beyond an understanding of Russia in in the age of Anna Karenina.

International Political Economy: International Political Economy, taught by one of the most charismatic professors I have ever encountered, melded together three fields that I had often studied separately: economics, politics, and international relations. It served as a thread weaving together concepts that had earlier existed in isolated from each other in my mind. In IPE, we learned about the complex dynamic between politics and economics and we explored the development of economic theory throughout history. We read, discussed, and wrote about themes that ranged from globalization to international trade and finance, from political risk to international cooperation. In our weekly recitations (smaller and discussion-based), we examined, debated, and analyzed the IPE topics in our readings.

Science of Creativity: After glimpsing through the list of required writing seminars, I stumbled upon the Science of Creativity, which would quickly become one of my favorites. While writing seminars are often met with groans, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this course. As writing seminars are structured around particular books, I sought to join a class that reflected my interest in psychology, as James C. Kaufman’s Creativity 101 did. Science of Creativity explored various theories of and relating to creativity, a concept I realized was far easier to grasp than explicitly define. In class, we wrote numerous outlines, justificatory essays, and explanatory essays. We expanded and presented on creativity-related topics that interested us. (For instance, is there a link between madness and creativity? Drugs and creativity?) Guided by a wonderful professor, I was able to improve my writing skills and logical reasoning, and learn about a topic that has always interested me: creativity.

Written by lw2018, one of our college admits attending UPenn. Interested in applying to UPenn? Browse the application files of current students - learn what it takes to get accepted. Already a student? Get paid for sharing your application details and advice.

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