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Staff Editorial: Our Spring 2024 course recommendations

As we anxiously inch toward Fall Break, the midpoint of the semester is nearly upon us, and with it comes the scramble to create the perfect spring schedule for an even better second term. WebSTAC features like PlanIt and tools like Rate My Professor are important for staying organized and tracking divisional requirements and can also be helpful in selecting the instructors and experiences most aligned with your preferences. 

Sometimes, however, hearing the personal accounts of other students is the icing on the cake for feeling confident in your selections. So whether you’ve already carefully planned each semester until graduation or if this is the first you’re hearing of the course listings being open, here are some of our favorite offerings for spring 2024: 

L12 Educ 303 – Gender and Education 

Everyone interested in education should take this course! I’d recommend pretty much anything taught by Dr. Gilbert, but this one holds a special place in my heart. Gender and Education meets biweekly, is discussion based, and features many interdisciplinary readings on the role gender plays in educational experiences. A highlight of the course was the segment we did on book banning and the group projects we completed on assigned banned books. This incorporated a lot of fun fiction reading material alongside more academic pieces for our conversations on elementary education. 

— Jasmine Stone, Senior Forum Editor

L13 Writing 220 – Creative Nonfiction Writing 1 

I would recommend this course to people who don’t normally gravitate towards nonfiction or who have historically had an aversion to it. I used to be someone who disliked and avoided the genre (I was a hater, I know), but through compelling readings and discussions (most of which were facilitated by this course), I’ve found that the nonfiction genre is lush and teeming with exciting things to read. It is therapeutic to write about your life and your memories in a way that you see fit, and this course is the perfect place to try that out. It’s also a great foundation for writing pieces in other genres. Give it a shot!

— Cathay Poulsen, Chief of Copy 

L32 Pol Sci 3300 – Terrorism and Counterterrorism 

Professor Wayne’s class is the perfect fusion between real-world case studies and deep academic analysis. Growing up in the shadow of 9/11, a thorough understanding of why people engage in terrorism and how it operates particularly behooves our generation. Additionally, some of the major assignments are policy proposals, which highlight just how difficult it is to prevent and mitigate terrorism. Classes feature lively discussions, use of mixed media, and debates about larger moral issues. If you are interested in the social sciences, international security, or the policymaking process, I highly recommend you take this class.

— Jared Adelman, Managing Multimedia Editor 

L77 WGSS 3561 – Law, Gender, and Justice 

Anyone interested in law and/or social justice should take this course. It centers on how the American legal system intersects with and is shaped by constructions of gender, race, socioeconomic status, sexuality, and other social identifiers. Taught by different law students every semester, much of the class consists of discussions on the readings, which range from legal opinions to feminist critical theory. Some of the topics we covered were reproductive, racial, and criminal justice; sex work; intimate partner violence; and marriage and family law. It’s a three-hour class once a week, but if you bond with your classmates, bring in snacks, and immerse yourself in the topic, the length really doesn’t feel too bad.

If pre-law students had prerequisites, this would be one.

— Sylvie Richards, Senior Forum Editor

L13 Writing 320 – Creative Nonfiction Writing 2: Literary Journalism

Okay, I know how it looks writing about a class called “literary journalism” as someone actively involved in journalism through StudLife. However, I recommend this to anyone — regardless of if they have a journalism background — who has taken Creative Nonfiction 1 and is looking to try unique forms of writing, dive deeper into specific areas of interest, and even improve their skills in talking to other people. This class pushed me out of my comfort zone in asking journalistic questions to uncover complex aspects of a story and conducting interviews I previously would have been too socially anxious to ask for. The assignments also led me to journey to new places — my final project involved multiple visits to various cemeteries around St. Louis. I ended the semester with a batch of work unlike anything I had written in other classes, as well as new friendships forged through a fun environment within the small class of less than 12 students.

— Reilly Brady, Managing Forum Editor

L33 Psych 219 – The Infant Mind: Sophomore Seminar 

This is a pretty niche course recommendation, especially since it’s only useful to one-fourth of the undergraduate student body. But if you’re a sophomore, take this course! Infant Mind is a developmental psychology course, and the day-to-day course load goes over pretty much what you’d expect – textbook readings, documentaries, facts about how kids learn and think. But the coolest thing about the course is the lab requirement – each student is placed into a daycare center to observe (read: play with) babies for a few hours per week. Not only is it exciting to see the principles you learned in class play out in real time, but hanging out with little kids is a fantastic escape from the hamster wheel of studying and exams. Childcare work is certainly grueling, but as a student, you’ll sing “Twinkle Twinkle” and read “The Hungry Caterpillar” and bounce before it’s time for diapers. 

— Via Poolos, Editor-in-Chief

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