Look at that, I am already off to finish my junior year at Hope College. In all reality, I would absolutely love to tell you that I am slowly, yet steadily moving towards my goal, my dream job, everything I hope I would be at the age of 22. Alas, I am not anywhere close to it. From far, yes I look like what I want because I look like someone who would give themselves a pep talk in front of the mirror. Sad truth is, there are days that I don’t even get a chance to take a look at myself until the very last waking moment of the day; when I am trying to apply the moisturizer my mom urged me to use… if I do not want to look like un-Botoxed version of Joan Rivers.
Anyway, from afar, I do look like I know what I am doing, however it is not the case. Ask anyone at the Career Development Center, they will tell you how every drop-in session is basically me having a manic attack and the advisor trying to calm me down. Today I went to see one of the internship counselors (when I totally have a paid marketing internship) and told her that I love writing and that it is my passion yet I don’t know how to make a pay-check out of it. 5 minutes of the 10-minute session went by with breathing exercises she made me do.
As a person who has a hard time trying to decide between ordering a pepperoni and extra cheese & bacon pizza, you can imagine my anxiety a week before the class registration dates. Of course, the days of online registration being the virtual Hunger Games doesn’t really help.
Every single semester, I do a very detailed research on classes I need to take and possibly might have to take. Since I am technically graduating in 3 years, I always have to be very careful with my choices to make sure that they either count for my major or one of my minors. So far, I did o-kay, but this semester I didn’t leave it to chance and signed up for 24 credits first week; because it is my shopping week for classes.
First week is always the drop- add time for people who are not sure about what they are going into. I am one of them; for me, registering for classes is like taking 7 items of clothing to the changing room, at a store that allows only 5 pieces. This trial- error method has not fooled me yet… Except for Calculus 1, which was looked like an Enlightenment era philosopher trying to learn about Teletubbies; there was a lot of questioning and calling things “dumb”, using “satirist” language in the papers and a few anger management issues, here and there. The pizza stains on the pjs I am wearing have a lot to say about this subject, I am sure. Unfortunately I needed the class for my Econ minor which I recently replaced with a Communications minor. Talk about living a wild life.
So to save the future International Relations majors from this limbo, I decided to list my top-5 classes an International Studies major must take.
- Environmental Public Policy. It is taught by an economics, a political science and a geology professor. The class material definitely provokes you to think about all the international agreements, preventative policies and even the market of pollution. Maybe it is a difficult class, since it is listed as 300-level, but it is definitely worth it.
- Intro to World Religions. So, a good friend of mine visited me last semester and I took her to this class. She is a Senior at Mount Holyoke which is known for its rigorous academics, hence is officially a liberal arts ivy. After attending the class, she turned to me in shock and told me that she is not sure what just happened. The lecture was not strictly about religion; there were random pop culture references, a little touch philosophy, some culture based discussions and sprinkle of humor… The lecturing part belongs to Dr. Boyd, who is a genius in the most unorthodox way, but he is more of a performer than a prof. In this class, you will get to explore Far East both culturally and religiously. For the ones who are committed to their faith, this class may change your life. Plus, with the help of this class, you will be able to comprehend the Chinese and Indian political systems which is very important for a IS major.
- Any class with Dr. Dandavati. Whatever you do, take her class. You need her wisdom and knowledge in your life. She is a professor from India who taught at American University of Cairo, needless to say, her area of expertise is not necessarily American politics but her global perspective is definitely applicable to any international conflict. She is someone who casually throws in the fact that she is friends with Suzanne Mubarek. If you are lucky enough to see her room, her picture with the Pope will definitely catch your eye. Take. Her. Class.
- American Foreign Policy. As polarized world reality disappeared, despite all Putin’s efforts, United States is THE country to manage all the other relations. Whatever you do, wherever you go, somehow Americans are involved even with the local politics of the region. To understand the relationships between all nations or even just the UN, you need to take this class.
- Middle East Politics. I don’t know when exactly you are reading this post but if it is before 2020, or even possibly a little after that, the Middle East is going to matter to the rest of the world as it seems that its turmoil state will not go away anytime soon. Keeping up with the news stories is exhausting, especially if you read the same story from 5 different sources to confirm the basic facts of the event. This class will help you to actually synthesize and identify the “believable” parts of every news story and even see where the problem is rooted. Best part is, it is not one of those “political theory” classes; you will actually get answers to “why Iraq cannot be a democracy anytime soon”.
Questions? Ask away.