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 🙂
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 🙂
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.