10 Classes to Take Before You Graduate

Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 2:24 am | By Amar Sarkar '12

Issue: Spring 2011 Author: Amar Sarkar '12 If you come to Grinnell, there are some classes that current students recommend strongly. If you join our ranks, you’ll write your own top 10 classes list. Here, in no particular order, are mine:

Calculus i and ii. Calculus relates to everything that happens in the natural, physical world. I loved Calculus, and you can make it painless by doing five problems every day and keeping up with homework.

Applied statistics. Same as above, plus it’s useful for a ton of different majors, such as psychology, history, biology, and political science.

Neuroscience. Foundations, Future, and Fallacies: You’ll never take your brain for granted again!

ANY senior seminar. An excellent, challenging experience, seminars delve into what is actually going on in the field. Whether you want a course that mimics graduate school or just want to explore your field, you owe it to yourself to take a seminar. Though some departments mandate them, others leave it optional — but really, don’t let the opportunity pass.

Major Russian Writers. With no prerequisites and taught in English, this class focuses on Russian writers who helped shaped the past century. Anna Karenina, War and Peace, and Crime and Punishment are books that everyone should read. This is one of the best classes at Grinnell.

Psychology of Motivation. Suppose I place a bowl of red Starbursts in front of you. You’ll eat a certain number of them. Suppose I place a bowl of red and green Starbursts in front of you. You’ll eat more than if they had been just one color. Why? To learn the answer to this question and many more amazing facts about eating behavior, take this course when you have the prerequisites.

Craft of Fiction. Write fiction and get credit for it! The class is intense, but the workshops are helpful for budding writers — you, your peers, and your professor constructively critique (or “workshop”) the class’ stories.

Economic Development. An insightful class that will broaden your perspective about parts of the world that still struggle.

Macroeconomic Analysis. This is a great extension to Economic Development — challenging, theoretical, and extremely useful in understanding the economy as a whole.

Philosophy of science. Philosophy of Science offers a great perspective on what scientists do. Most importantly, the class shows that science is not infallible. Why? Because it is created by humans. Since humans make mistakes, science does too. Amar Sakar '12 is a Psychology Major from Gurgaon, Haryana, India.