It’s mid- to late-August, which means school is back in session. I’ve officially spent a half-week in school now (classes started on a Thursday, which was pretty odd) so I’ve got some reporting to do on first impressions. School overall looks to be pretty good, albeit bad scheduling. I got to see Dr. Fuchs before she sped off to France, so that was good. However, I’m still trying to fenagle Schools For Schools meetings into a comprehensible schedule. I got to see a lot of friends at Passport, where S4S also got a lot of e-mail addresses. I’ve got a lot of friends in my global studies classes, as usual, but I will still have a few big projects going on this semester. Here’s a vague breakdown of what I’m thinking:
German 201. I like languages but that doesn’t make learning them any easier. I’m glad Kim and I have a class together for once but it will still be interesting to trudge through the syntax and semantics of German. The TA seems nice and helpful, and hopefully the courseload isn’t too much and it’s mostly practicing language and such.
SGS Research Methods. Not sure how this class will go. Big research paper (duh) with activities mixed in. At least I’ve got a half-dozen friends in there for three hours every Monday. I’m already trying to decide what I’ll concentrate on – I don’t often have a clean slate for thinking of topics.
Social Statistics. I don’t know anything about stats. We’ll see how that translates.
U.S. 20th Century Foreign Relations. My third and last class with Dr. Bass, who is great. He teaches well, uses media a lot, and makes things pretty easy to understand. That said, I’m worried what won’t make the cut in a busy semester (in Contemporary U.S. History he skipped Clinton’s foreign policy problems, so I’m hoping we visit them this time around). Either way I’ll be learning and hopefully get some good stuff out of it.
Global Environmental Conflict. I’m really excited about this class because it’s stuff I’ve never even thought to think about. We’re talking about how the environment can cause conflict, which inevitably means we’ll spend time on oil and diamonds, but we’ll also visit conflict minerals in the DRC which I’m excited about. What I’m really excited about, though, is some more abstract studies like the mass atrocities in Darfur being caused by climate change rather than ethnic divisions. Also, the final paper takes the form of a policy brief, which will be a first for me.
The Politics of Global Justice. My last Peskin class will also be functioning as my capstone, which means I’m probably going to end up doubling my paper length or adding something extra onto the workload. There’s a cadre of like a dozen friends (and almost all of us are ardent Peskin-fans) that I get to sit with too, which always helps. We’re talking a lot about the international courts, about which I’m always stoked to learn more. Plus – for the first time ever – no course reader! Instead of his usual three books and a $40 reader, Peskin put the extra readings online! I should go have an expensive lunch.
And now, it’s time for me to go to those last four classes. This will be a good semester, I think. Let’s hope work, wedding, clubs, and life continue to follow suit.