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Monday, February 26, 2024

Classes that all underclassmen should take, according to upperclassmen

Three upperclassmen recommend their favorite classes for students returning to the in-person classroom this fall

As new students arrive on campus for the first time and returning students come back after nearly two years of studying from home, some will be looking for interesting classes to overcome the academic slump experienced by many as a result of online learning. The following classes — which are ideal for those in need of general education (GE) credits or who just want to further explore their interests — have been recommended by three upperclassmen. 

Aleshia Rose, a third-year communications major, recommended PSC 051 (Relationship Science: Lust, Love and Evolution). The class explores the scientific reasoning behind romantic attraction and how humans have evolved to crave romantic relationships. 

Rose said that the class altered her perspective of the world of college dating, which she feels could be beneficial to younger students. 

“A lot of people [aren’t in] relationships in high school and when they come to college, they start having relationships, so this class really helps figure out how to do that,” Rose said. “It gives you a deeper understanding of why people act the way they do in relationships and how relationships work.”

The class consists of four units, meets twice a week and is typically taught by professor Paul Eastwick, who has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 on the Rate My Professors website. 

“I feel like it’s super applicable to college students and I learned so much that I can just apply to my daily life — I genuinely feel like the way I approach relationships has changed now that I know the psychology behind things,” Rose said.

Rose said that one of her favorite parts of the course was taking part in a recurring game that tested the compatibility of students’ and their past romantic partners’ zodiac signs to test the validity of astrology. 

“[Professor Eastwick] would have someone volunteer their zodiac sign and their past partner’s zodiac sign and then he would read aloud the description for romance between the two,” Rose said. “Then you would have to guess if the description was actually between the two of you or if it was between two other signs.”

Noppakan Sirikul, a third-year mathematics major, recommended NUT 10 (Discoveries and Concepts in Nutrition), which was featured in The Aggie’s “Best of Davis” issue as the best GE course multiple years in a row. Known as a popular choice for UC Davis students, the class covers basic nutrition concepts and takes a look into the role nutrition plays in health. Sirikul said the class gave her a better understanding of health and wellness as well as a very elementary overview on the science of our bodies. 

“NUT 10 was one of my favorites, only because I feel like it’s something everybody should know,” Sirikul said. “I feel like it just taught me a lot about how we should eat, and a lot of stuff about my body.” 

For those interested in the class, Sirikul recommended they take Professor Debbie Fetter, who she says was able to make complex concepts involving the human body fun and easy to learn.

“She’s just a gem,” Sirikul said. “I feel like everybody should get to have a professor like that in their lives because she was so enthusiastic — she even wore a tomato costume on Halloween. She’s just so funny and made the information really digestible, quite literally, no pun intended.”

A second class recommended by Sirikul, ETX 20 (Introduction to Forensic Science), allows students to immerse themselves in historical criminal cases, putting themselves into the shoes of the investigators who worked on them. 

“We would read about a case, for example the Yosemite murders,” Sirikul said. “We would analyze the evidence that was found […] and say, ‘OK, knowing this information, what would a cop or investigator do? That was just really fun, it was basically the stuff you see in TV shows.”

Sirikul took ETX 20 with Professor Matthew Wood, who has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on Rate My Professors. The class is three units. 

After taking GSW 50 (Introduction to Critical Gender Studies) as a GE in her sophomore year, fourth-year Emily Htway decided to add a second major in gender, sexuality and women’s studies in addition to her major in neurobiology, physiology and behavior. The class gives insight into basic feminist theories, teaches the histories of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, police brutality, and cases of ethical abuse in medical studies. 

“At the time, I was just pre-med and I was taking it as a GE and then I was able to study medicine in a feminist lens,” Htway said. “I ended up doing a project on incarcerated pregnant women and how the prison industrial complex really just screws women over and does not value human life.” 

According to Htway, her instructor for the class, Professor Anna Ward, presented a very nonpartisan perspective of gender studies that she found refreshing. Ward has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Rate My Professors.

“She introduced the class [by saying], “‘Yes, women and gender studies is a polarizing field in and of itself, but feminism is not something that is for only one side.’” Htway said. “She really explained that feminism is not something that should be tokenized as something that only belongs to the left, rather, it’s a discipline in itself and you can use that to study anything.”

Written by: Lyra Farrell — features@theaggie.org 


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