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How to choose First Year Seminar?

PrairiePrairie Registered User Posts: 159 Junior Member
edited July 2009 in Smith College
Hello, Smith group! My daughter has recently received registration materials for the First Year Seminar. What are your opinions about the various offerings this year? Happy Fourth of July, y'all.
Post edited by Prairie on

Replies to: How to choose First Year Seminar?

  • McPucks1357McPucks1357 Registered User Posts: 388 Member
    I've heard amazing things about the reacting to the past (?) FYS. I don't think I'm going to take an FYS, but if I were my top choice would probably be the Italian Film one (but then again I've been studying Italian for years and have watched many (strange) Italian films).
  • TheDadTheDad Registered User, ! Posts: 10,224 Senior Member
    My D was one who did the re-enacting the past. Great FYS. Her team for one of the scenarios even came up with a team t-shirt. Informative with some chewy bits and quite a bit of fun...a great intro course, imho. However, if you don't like history per se, it's probably not a good match. If you're even luke-warm about history, you may find a lot to like.

    Different sections use different combinations of scenarios. If anyone has any questions, run the scenarios by me and the memory may reasonably engage. (Sorry, it was so long ago...five years. Gah.)
  • overwhelmedmaoverwhelmedma Registered User Posts: 431 Member
    My daughter chose Italian Cinema since she thought it would be interesting and fun and wanted to put a lot of concentration into her other classes and is hopping to take a mid level lit class. She had wanted a film class and it seemed like a good way to make it happen.
  • smithiegrsmithiegr Registered User Posts: 243 Junior Member
    I would choose by professor and interest (in that order).
  • minimini Registered User Posts: 26,431 Senior Member
    "My daughter chose Italian Cinema"

    If that's the one taught by Anna Botta, my d. loved it (and her).
  • overwhelmedmaoverwhelmedma Registered User Posts: 431 Member
    Mini that is the one - nice to hear! It doesn't seem to have the following of geology and re-enacting but she liked the way it sounded and always nice to hear the Prof is good. Not sure when they find out which one they got so we'll see.
  • CarolynBCarolynB Registered User Posts: 1,068 Senior Member
    My daughter is traveling cross-country and won't be home till July 16. We briefly hear from her essentially every evening and she will have access to a computer as of July 9 so she can see the FYS course descriptions then. The deadline for FYS is July 12. If there are any current Smithies who are willing to PM me with any pertinent information about professors and seminars, I can pass the information on to her and I'd be extremely grateful. She's primarily interested in humanities and social sciences--literature, history, philosophy, anthropology, government, and religion. Any information would be helpful! Thank you so very much.
  • ajlangsajlangs User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 134 Junior Member
    I'd also love to hear any information/opinions people have about certain professors or FYS. I think my top choices are Placemaking with Anne Leone; Law, Community, and Belonging with Alice Hearst; Women Writing Resistance with Jennifer Guglielmo; and Rebellious Women with Kelly Anderson, so anything relating to those specific classes or profs would be great! :]
  • CarolynBCarolynB Registered User Posts: 1,068 Senior Member
    I don't know what I was thinking! :o Thank you, ajlangs. I had realized I'd confined my request to just current Smithies which was too narrow, but ajlangs, you beat me to the punch. ANY information about any of the professors and/or FYS courses as outlined in my previous post would be really helpful.

    ajlangs, you've got a great selection there; they look really intriguing. My daughter could also be interested in those courses so let's share information if either of us get PM'd.
  • borginborgin Registered User Posts: 616 Member
    I just found the list of First-Year Seminars. I took Groves of Academe with Pat Skarda (an English professor) back in 2004 and I loved it! There was a ton of reading (one or two books -- most were novels -- a week), three or four papers, and two presentations (which could be done in pairs). The books ranged from books that were about Smith or had Smithie characters to ones about universities in other cultures. I discovered many writers that I hadn't read before, and I absolutely recommend this class.

    It was also a good class for anyone with interest in the Smith archives, as that's where most of my research for the presentations was done. There is some very interesting stuff in there, and it was fun to read old letters.
  • stacystacy Registered User Posts: 1,100 Senior Member
    I like Alice Hearst a lot. I interned for her husband my senior year and she was my professor for an upper-level gov class on constitutional law, so I got to know her fairly well. The con law class was a nice way to get a flavor of what law school might be like (not a perfect simulation, but it was nice to have read and discussed a few big cases). She is very smart and included a lot of student participation--not just lectures! Her class might be an especially nice one for those who are wondering about law school--Prof. Hearst is the college's pre-law advisor and directs the Lewis Leadership Program, so she's a great person to get to know.

    I don't know the other professors who you mentioned, but if the seminar about the Northampton State Hospital (taught by Tom Riddell, the dean of the first year class) is being offered, I've heard that's great. My best friend from Smith took it and I always regretted not doing the same...both because of the subject matter, and because I could've met her sooner!
  • CrewDadCrewDad Registered User Posts: 1,599 Senior Member
    but if the seminar about the Northampton State Hospital (taught by Tom Riddell, the dean of the first year class) is being offered, I've heard that's great.

    Some time ago, I was also informed it was an amazing course. And since the subject fascinates me, I obtained the reading material Tom compiled for the course. But alas, the seminar is no longer being offered.
  • IreneAdlerIreneAdler Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    Last year I got into Kyoto Through The Ages-- a little dry, but I was with a great group of 15 girls and basically got the bill footed so we all could spend two weeks in Japan over J-term (for MOSTLY academic purposes, naturally!). I heard that was the last year for that particular program, but apparently this year they're offering one on theatre where students end up in China. I can't seem to find a list anywhere of the spring semester courses, but I hope this one went through because it sounded like an awesome opportunity.
  • CarolynBCarolynB Registered User Posts: 1,068 Senior Member
    Thanks, everyone, for your detailed feedback! Last night I found the website which you all probably know about, Ratemyprofessors.com, which is somewhat useful, if you take it with a grain of salt and look at the evaluations overall. The website essentially corroborated what you all are saying so that's helpful. But what's better about your comments is that I have a clearer sense of who you all are than anonymous raters, so thank you very much! I'm feeling better about having information to pass on to my daughter in a couple of days; however, any additional comments about other classes would be welcome.
  • PrairiePrairie Registered User Posts: 159 Junior Member
    CarolynB, your reply suggests that you have received some very interesting information. I am interested! Not knowing what it is, I won't suggest that you post it, but maybe you could PM me? I apologize if this sounds intrusive...please feel free to disregard this request as you like. Or share.
This discussion has been closed.