I can't believe you guys actually wrote to me! I know this is weird, because I don't actually know any of you, but your letters convinced me that -- even in these uncertain times -- the world is going to be okay. So many of you sent pictures of your children, told stories of your parents, or wrote about your own dreams for the future. You expressed it in different ways, but I could tell that each of you had something or someone that you cared about more than you cared about yourself. It's inspiring stuff :) I'm slowly but surely working on your replies! It may take a while, but keep checking your mail.
Briefly, this was my October:
Superstitious paranoiac that I am, I didn't want to write about how awesome my classes are until I was sure I'd passed the midterms. I made it out alive, so here we go.
I'm taking four classes this fall, and I love them all. They are fascinating, specialized, and give me a clear trajectory for where I will be in 10 years: overqualified, unemployed, possibly homeless. Here they are:
Time -- a physics class about time. We raced through all of Newtonian mechanics (blah) and thermodynamics (wtf) in about a month, and now we get to do the fun stuff: relativity, paradoxes, time travel, quantum mechanics. I really get a kick out of this class. Basically, I'm not that good at physics but I think it's incredibly cool. I'm pretty bad at mechanics -- my 10th grade teacher told me as much, and I literally cry when I see the word "centripetal" -- but I really like circuits and magnetism and most of all, the mind-bendy time stuff. You can be terrible at math and science and still understand Einstein's derivations. I wish you could major in mind-bendy stuff. That would be pretty awesome.
...not on that note at all, my next class:
Body Image in French Art and Visual Culture (18th and 19th Centuries) -- The name says it all: I was seeking depth over breadth, and I got it. This is a fantastically taught class. Every lecture focuses on a different use of the body in art: as the embodiment of the state, as an erotic object, as a tool of racism, etc. I can honestly say that I will never look at a painting the same way after taking this course. Another fun aspect is the field trips. Last week, we went to this storage facility where Harvard keeps the collections it has no room to display. It was absolutely astounding. My professor had them pull out one of David's preliminary sketches for The Tennis Court Oath, a self-portrait by Courbet, and a Rodin sculpture -- NO BIG DEAL OR ANYTHING. I could barely believe my eyes. Anyways, I'm totally not hipster enough for this class yet but I'm trying my best. If you have any scarf-tying tips, please let me know.
Language and Prehistory -- This is my freshman seminar. It's my smallest class: there are only about 15 of us. We're learning about language reconstruction -- specifically, recreating Proto-Indo-European from its descendants -- and later, we're going to see how linguistics has been used and misused in recent history (think Nazis). Oh, funny story about my social skills. About a month ago, I decided to be brave in the dining hall and sat down with two kids I didn't recognize. "Hi guys! We've probably met somewhere, I'm Sophia." The response: "We know. We're in your seminar." Awful, just awful. But there's a happy ending! I aggressively made everyone exchange contact info during the next class, and now seminar is increasingly tight and fun. Hurray for texting :)
Anthropology of Arabia -- A class that may actually influence what I do with the rest of my life. My professor did lots of field work in Yemen, and he tells vivid stories about finding himself caught up in tribal disputes, being mistaken for an American spy and thrown in prison, etc. I knew absolutely nothing about the Arabian Peninsula going in, and now I'm kind of dead set on going abroad to the Middle East. I really want to see the crazy cosmopolitanism of cities like Dubai, but I want to see the local as well as the global. I'm going to take Arabic next term and see where that gets me.
But you know what they say: work hard, play hard(er)!
2. Fun times
Never thought I'd be sunbathing in October. Also never thought the men's swimming/diving team would have "take picture with the tiger mom's daughter" as an item on their scavenger hunt (for the record, it's TIGER CUB. Not "tiger mom's daughter." TIGER CUB). Definitely never thought my roommates and I would jump off a bridge into the Charles' river because, hey, those guys just did it for their scavenger hunt and it looks like fun. In retrospect, yes, I jumped off a bridge because everyone was doing it. So worth it.
I like college :)
My roommates and I are making a bucket list! Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!