Monsoon Semester 2021: I’m Actually Having Fun?

Hello there!

I’m back to give an update on my university life that absolutely nobody asked for. I mean I like to think people actually read these posts but even if you all don’t, I just like writing these posts, okay? It has become a sort of journal at this point. Hah, pun intended!

Anyhow, I got back on campus for this monsoon semester and gosh it has been a wild ride. I’ll probably tell you more about that in my monthly wrap-up but I’m just so happy to be meeting my friends and taking in the campus sights! Oh the nostalgia. Things aren’t the same though, so it almost feels like I’m in an alternate universe. To start with, classes are still online so RIP my eyes…

That being said, I am super excited to talk about the courses I managed to get enrolled in this time! It was such a huge nightmare trying to wrestle my way in but I ended up getting a lot of the courses that I wanted πŸ™‚

Monsoon Semester 2021: I’m Actually Having Fun?

In case any of you need a refresher, I’m majoring in Psychology and minoring in Creative Writing and I just started my third year. I mean as I write this post I’m almost done with my mid-semester break but yeah. Thanks to online university it still feels like I’m in my first year so that’s fun.

I think the biggest thing I’ve been crying about is that both the Psychology and Creative Writing departments don’t offer enough courses and hold them at clashing times. Legit Sherlock wouldn’t be able to figure this shit out. And oh what I wouldn’t give for Hermione’s time turner! Anyway, here are the courses I’m taking this semester.

Intro to Neuroscience: I forgot I loved biology!

I know what you’re thinking. Why the fuck am I doing neuroscience? Because it’s actually Biological Psychology and a pre-requisite for me. Fun times! This course is quite technical and tough and I often need to re-watch lectures to understand the concepts but once you do get the concepts you’re golden. So far I’ve been performing well and it helps that the professor is an absolute sweetheart who wants the best for his students. And I’m actually enjoying it. Kind of. I had almost forgotten that I used to love biology back in 10th grade which is when I last studied biology. Thanks to the Indian education system I couldn’t pursue biology along with my other subjects from the humanities stream. If I have the time, who knows I might take up another bio psychology course sometime in the future.

Cognitive Psychology: I don’t really care for it

This is yet another pre-requisite course, one that my friends had warned me about. Apparently the instructor really wore everyone down but fortunately for me, this time a visiting faculty is taking the course and he’s pretty sweet and considerate. In my experience, visiting faculty don’t know much about the contents of other courses and hence are unaware of the level of our knowledge. So I often find myself going over pretty basic and easy stuff. I mean I’m not complaining but I’m often bored in this course. Cognitive psychology isn’t something I really want to pursue so I don’t mind that this course is low effort and low reward as compared to my other courses.

Communication Theory & Behavioural Change: great concept but the execution falls short

I have such mixed feelings about this course. Theoretically it’s kind of interesting but the professor just stretches the concepts way too much. The discussions aren’t very fruitful or memorable either but on the other hand I did take this course knowing that it’s an easy grade. It’s cross listed between media studies and psychology but it’s really media studies. I’m not complaining though, the workload is quite less.

Fiction Workshop: there’s always something new to learn!

I’m taking a fiction workshop with Vivek Shanbhag, an author whose work I absolutely loved. It still feels kind of surreal and I always love the advice he gives in class and the way he steers and guides the discussions. The workload for this class isn’t a lot either and I love that the emphasis is on improving our story writing rather than being graded for it. The discussions may not be the best sometimes but I’ve really been learning a lot in this course πŸ™‚

Worldbuilding and Visual Storytelling: kind of a dream course

Yes, this is an actual course!!! Well technically it’s a co-curricular course but most of it is us geeking out over all sorts of fantasy, sci-fi and horror media while reading stories and watching videos on worldbuilding. I genuinely enjoy this course although the writing exercises are not my favourite. I just wish that this course gave us a little more time but overall it’s generally fun.

Apart from these courses I’m also working on an Independent Study Module (ISM) with some classmates under a psychology professor. We’re looking at the faculty experience of the pandemic through the lenses of generational wealth and privilege, at least that’s the gist of it. It’s still in the beginning phases but I’m quite excited to be a part of it.

And I’m getting some teaching experience as a teaching assistant for an introduction to creative writing course. Most of my work is technological but it’s fun to take this class with this professor as a TA when I had taken it with her as a student a year ago.

So yeah, that’s everything I’m up to! It does seem like a lot but so far it has been working out. I had also been working on a first draft of my creative writing thesis for next semester and I decided to get it done early so that I don’t have to stress over it during finals. I’m translating another book from Hindi to English for my thesis and I’ll definitely talk more about it in the next semester’s update. And now I better be getting back to studying… See you all later!

Do any of these courses sound like something you would be interested in?

Would you rather take courses where you know you’ll get an easy grade but not learn a lot or courses which are tough but genuinely enriching?

Do you think creative writing is something that can be taught? I think a lot about this and was wondering if you all have thoughts on it.

13 thoughts on “Monsoon Semester 2021: I’m Actually Having Fun?

  1. Yay for getting back to campus! I definitely feel you about it being a bit of an alternate universe though but also being happy to be back, that’s kind of how I felt even after a four week lockdown with most of my classes in person haha. I really enjoyed hearing about all your courses, the ISM sounds super cool and I’m glad you’re getting some TA experience too! Definitely a great idea to get your thesis draft done early, can’t wait to hear more about it πŸ™‚

    I’d absolutely rather take courses which are tough but genuinely enriching, I get really bored if the content is too easy and would probably end up doing pretty average anyway since I didn’t put enough time into it!

    With regard to creative writing, I’ve thought about this quite a bit too; I think there’s aspects that can be taught, e.g. improving story flow, grammar, structure, etc., but there are also things that you learn with experience and/or come naturally? For example finding your voice and style.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OH wow, in person classes! That’s great for you πŸ™‚ Thank you so much, I really am very excited for this ISM and my thesis.

      Yeah, I completely get that. If I know a course that I’m going to take is tough I’ll try supplementing it with easier courses so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. A lot of the times I just luck out in this department though, lol.

      I completely agree! Some aspects can be taught but again those too can be quite subjective and differ from person to person. And then there are bigger things like finding your style which you can only get when you just keep writing on your own.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh so I haven’t had a creative writing course in a while (not since elementary school), and I am in my last year of high school, so I am hoping to take one in college.

    I love genuinely enriching courses – if my brain is not being challenged enough, I struggle with paying attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow, I really hope that you get to take one in college because they can be quite fun and force you to write a bit regularly.

      Sameeee. I’ve had courses which are way too easy and I end up not performing cause I’m bored :/

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I definitely think creative writing can be taught! Sure, talent and personal aptitude matter but it is also a skill like any craft and that requires practice! And I feel like writing classes focus on different techniques in order to get you to write and try different things and get those hours in which is great! It’s been a few years since I took a class and right now I’m probably too insecure about my writing haha but I have really fond memories of the workshop I attended! It was so fun to see how differently people interpret the same prompt and what kind of stories came out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do agree with that a bit. It’s just that writing is so freaking subjective and everyone is so different. It really depends on the professor and how they conduct a course. But yes, even I have quite fond memories of all my workshop classes and seeing the amazing things my classmates came up with πŸ™‚

      Like

    • RIGHT?!
      Lmao someone asked me why would the faculty want to reveal their privilege and I was like who’s asking them lol. We’re probably gonna interview them without revealing our true aim and being sneaky af hehehehe

      Like

  4. It sounds very cool to be able to take a creative writing course taught by a favourite writer! Psychology and creative writing in general sounds like an appealing program to me, haha. Glad you’re enjoying it πŸ™‚ I think aspects of creative writing can be taught (says a person who no longer writes creatively lol) but I suppose you still have to think of the foundations of a good story from your own imagination.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right?! Honestly a dream come true.
      Yeah, it’s a wonderful and complementary program and I’m so glad that I get to do this πŸ™‚
      True! I feel like we place a lot of emphasis on teaching cw but in the end what we all learn from the same course can also be so subjective and different.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Shut up, you’re in your third year *screeches in disbelief* how is that possible, it feels like yesterday when you were still in school and like damn time really did fly. Proud of you though πŸ’œ Ah your courses for the most part sound super interesting and fun!

    As for if creative writing can be taught, I would say the techniques can be taught, guidance can be given and you can be shown how to write creatively. None of that matters though if the person is able to imagine well, I often think back to primary school and even secondary school. Imagination is often encouraged in children but the older you get, the more people try and pull you down to the ground so to speak. I know a lot of my peers in English Lit/Language when we had any creative writing struggled because they didn’t know what to write about. Or how to describe it. So whilst I definitely would say a portion of it can be taught, the execution can still fall short if the person writing, hasn’t been feeding their imagination. At least in my opinion anyway – a lot of my peers as well didn’t realise that you don’t just pull from stories, you can get ideas from pretty much anything you consume. Again, if it wasn’t something that was encouraged in them though, their ability to imagine and create is hindered I feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AHAHAH CLO XD
      Thank you so much, may I remind you though you’re only a couple years older than moi πŸ˜›
      Oh my god yes, imagination is a huge key. One of my professor says she hates how all our academic essays and papers can’t be creative as well. Technically they can but then our other professors will throw a fit.
      Oh really? Wow yeah you really need to just draw inspiration form everything and anything and write consistently.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sksksk I mean that’s true, I’m like 1year I think if that older than you but I’m not at Uni so the passing of time doesn’t feel the same to me anymore haha.

        Yep, imagination is kinda key and it can also be a huge blockage for anyone who has some imagination but it’s just not been nurtured enough :/ Ooooo that would be fun though, just YOLO it your final year maybe and go creative on everything haha xD

        Liked by 1 person

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