This semester is the busiest one I’ve had so far at Luther with 5 classes and significantly more work than previous semesters. This is actually a welcomed change for me; last semester I often felt like I was being lazy when, in fact, I legitimately didn’t have anything I needed to be doing. Nevertheless, I am pleased that my classes this semester are more discussion based, relevant to my interests, and challenging me to think in different ways. Let me give you a general description of each of my classes!
Environmental Geology: This class is required for all environmental studies majors and is a lab science class that examines the earth’s geological processes. It may seem weird that potential ecologists might have to learn about plate tectonics, but the topics covered in the class are kind of like the stage that all common environmental science concepts share as a backdrop. The classes are mostly lectures and the labs are usually group projects dealing with the application of the ideas we’ve been learning and reading about. Future labs will also involve field trips to various locations in the area—something I’m quite excited for.
Social Statistics: Last semester I took Intro to Sociology and then declared a second major in the field. This class is my second sociology class and is centered around applying statistical techniques and ideas to social research. The theoretical learning is always accompanied by intentional application assignments. This helps me keep in mind how useful and relevant the concepts we are learning about will be to my work in the real world and at school.
Principles of (Jazz) Improvisation: This class only meets once a week and is only one credit. However, the weekly workload is considerably more than other single credit courses I have taken before. There are only 6 students in the class (one pianist—me, a percussionist, trumpeter, bassist, and two guitarists) and we spend our classes learning jazz improv techniques, listening to tunes, and playing together. The class involves a lot of transcription (listening to a solo/melody and notating it on staff paper by ear) as well as intentional listening (we often have to listen to a full album and then write an essay about the techniques and relationships we hear.
Environmental Economics: This is probably my favorite class of the semester. The core purpose of this class is learning how to understand and approach environmental issues through economics. There are rarely ever straightforward answers and people often disagree about very fundamental aspects of whatever we’re studying or debating. This kind of stuff is what I hope to do as a career and I can’t wait to dig deeper into the course this semester.
Philosophy of Religion: This class can count as either a philosophy or a religion course (I’m choosing religion). This is a reading-heavy course that examines the similarities and differences of different religious scholars and thinkers. We learn the categories that various ways of thinking can (sometimes) be organized into, and examine the arguments espoused by different religious perspectives.
Overall, this semester should be full of interesting, challenging, and enjoyable work. I will update with any new information!