shopping period ~ Valerie

Call me Hermione Granger and give me a Time Turner because I’ve been attending classes that take place at the exact same time slot. For the past two weeks at Yale it’s been ‘shopping period’, meaning we get to go to any class we want–we only have to choose which classes we want to take for the semester at the end of the two weeks. For some people it’s a blessing, and for some it’s a curse. For me, it was a mix of the two. I loved attending all the different classes and getting a taster of what each subject was about, but I am also the most fucking indecisive person in the universe. Most people I know shopped 5-6 classes; I shopped 12. And you had to keep up with each class’s readings and assignments so I was pretty goddamn overwhelmed.

Last Wednesday was the first day of shopping period, and it did not get off to a great start. The first class on my schedule was a child psychology class which sounded so cool on the Bluebook (the extensive list of classes at Yale). You got to learn about children behavior and development, as well as visit daycare centers and actually observe the children. So I walked into class a minute early (I’d planned to get there ten minutes early but I got lost on the way over obviously) only to find that the room was completely full. The professor then asked “are there any freshmen here”, to which two other people in the room and I raised our hands. She then said “we don’t get many freshmen in this seminar… I mean, you guys can stay, but we just don’t…” I didn’t get up and leave immediately (the two others did) but I left halfway through when I realized there was no way I would get into the 20-person class with 50 other priority upperclassmen also vying for a spot. It was at that point where it hit me that I’d be attending classes with people who were 1, 2, and even 3 years older than I was.

So I left Child Psych pretty bummed. There were no other classes on my shopping list that were scheduled for that day, and I felt super lame because it was the first day of school and I’d only attended half an hour of a class I wasn’t going to take. So I went on the Bluebook, looked for any class that started in 15 minutes, and found one: Intro to Cognitive Science. At this point I was desperate and needed a class to attend, so I walked over to the auditorium where it was taking place, sat through the lecture, and was fucking blown out the water. The professor was amazing and made CogSci sound so interesting: he asked us questions like ‘What is right and what is wrong—and how do we know?’ ‘Why do we fall in love?’ ‘How did you read this sentence?’ He also showed us optical illusions and explained why our brains registered what they registered. I remember coming out of the lecture feeling like my mind had been thoroughly fucked with, but I also felt so excited about the class. It was this euphoric feeling of ‘EVERYTHING IS SO INTERESTING’ that I’d never felt after a class in high school, ever. (Disclaimer: Regrettably, I’m not actually taking CogSci this semester because it just doesn’t fit my schedule.)

The next two weeks were similar: hectic, but super fun and interesting. Like I said, I shopped 12 classes, 2 of which took place at the same time, meaning I had to attend half of my first class, excuse myself, and then attend the second half of my second class. It was so strange to me that you could just walk out of a class in the middle of a lesson, but I guess that’s the norm during shopping period?? ANYWAY–after a long time of agonizing decision-making, I now have my finalized schedule. I’m taking:

  • Intro to Psychology
    • I also came out of these Psych lectures feeling so happy because everything the professor talked about was fascinating. We learned about the biological reasons men are more upset by sexual infidelity and women are upset by emotional infidelity, about how some standards of beauty are hard wired, about why long-term monogamous relationships form etc.
  • US Lesbian and Gay History
    • my favourite class by far. It’s quite a heavy workload–there are countless readings and papers to finish but the subject matter is so interesting??
    • It covers the construction of heterosexuality, homosexuality and sexual subjectivity; the change over time of sexual politics; the politics of homosexuality (eg. how LGBT history is political history eg. Nazis suppressed gay organizations); and social organizations of LGBTQ life.
    • The prof plays gay anthems before and after each lecture it’s a blast
  • English Writing seminar: Fans, Culture and Society
    • I mainly took this course because a) it’s small and freshmen only and b) it’s supposed to help train our research and writing skills while focusing on a research topic: Our topic is ‘Fans, Culture and Society’. Because I’m too lazy to use my own words, this was the course description: “Do you covet a spot on Taylor’s #Squad? Are you a card-carrying member of the Beyhive? Did you scream for a glimpse of Lin at #Ham4Ham? This course looks at the formation, expression, and practices of fan culture in a variety of modern fandoms.”
    • One of our assignments is to get a Tumblr account and join and monitor a fandom’s activity over a long period of time WHAT
  • Chinese 162
    • just to satisfy my language requirement–I shopped Chinese 164 before 162 and the first thing the prof did was assign us a 2000-3000 word essay. I was not having that
  • Intro to Astronomical Observing
    • a practical, hands-on class that essentially teaches you how to use telescopes and stargaze

So those are the classes I’m taking for the next 4 months. I got way too into the descriptions and I doubt anyone really cares but I’m beyOnd psyched for everything to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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