One of my favorite things to do when speaking to my friends from other schools is brag about my slightly obscure but really awesome classes, especially the titles. If this seems strange to you, you obviously haven't yet taken advantage of the wide array of classes offered at Wagner.
To start out, when you first arrive at Wagner you are placed in a First-Year Learning Community, which consists of two courses plus a reflecting class that connects the two. Now these aren't just your average English 101 courses; check out these titles. My freshman LC was Leashed and Unleashed: Animals in Art, which consisted of an art class and script analysis. In our reflective tutorial (that combining class I mentioned), we went on so many trips to see animals in every art form, which was pretty easy since we live in a city where art thrives. Some of my other favorite Learning Communities include: So You Want to Be a Human Being? and Views from the Fringe: Access and Equity in America Through the Lens of Immigrants and Individuals with Disabilities. These titles are sparking up intellectual conversations before you even walk into the classroom.
At Wagner, we need to take a good amount of general requirements to complete our liberal arts degree. As a physics major, this terrifies me a little bit. The last thing I wanted to take was an English course, as it is not my forte. Much to my surprise and utter happiness, when choosing my schedule for second semester freshman year, I found the perfect English class for me: Ghosts, Vampires and Civilization in English Gothic Fiction. I knew I could get behind this class. It turned out to be the best English class I've ever taken. I learned so much about analyzing, formulating ideas, discussion and writing them down while reading the best books of all time, like Frankenstein and Dracula! My professor even asked me to be an English minor, which was the last thing I thought I was capable of before this class.
Similarly, I've found throughout my life that I struggle more than others when it comes to history. I've always enjoyed it, but I struggled when it came to exams. I was looking for a history class that would interest me enough that learning about it would be fun for me, which would help with memorization and analysis. I came across the perfect class: History of Food. Yes, food. Who doesn't love food? As soon as I saw the class, I immediately registered. Then I started thinking... wait, but actually, what is the history of food? NOW I KNOW. Seriously, I learned all about the history of food from the origination of certain spices to processed food to current food policies. I also got the opportunity to pick any topic related to the history of food and/or food policy and I got to research the history of food in space!
There's been a debate recently about which is better, survey classes (such as English 101 or History 101) or more specified topics as general requirements. My personal feeling based on experience is that general, basic knowledge of a topic should be grasped in high school. College is the place to expand your mind and learn how to critically think. This goal can be accomplished through several topics, both broad and specific. In many cases, these classes also present an opportunity to work with professors in their specific field. I've learned more in these types of courses than some survey courses I've taken, and I've enjoyed myself a lot more. More specific courses have contributed so much to my personality as a well-rounded individual able to discuss certain topics to the extent they deserve.