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My Favorite Course Freshman Year: Selby Sturzenegger

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Screenshot from film 10 Things I Hate About You. FAIR USE: This image is a single frame from a widely known film. No free or public domain images illustrating this film have been located, and the presence of this screenshot in this student essay does not significantly impact the copyright holder's ability to profit from the original film.


While I know I’m supposed to be picking one class that really stood out to me, I can’t because I didn’t have a favorite class.  I had three favorite classes, and they were all the same type; they were Intro Sems.  Introductory Seminars, lovingly called Intro Sems, are small, typically all-freshman classes taught by professors who are deeply interested in their specific course subject.  I took three Intro Sems my freshman year, one each quarter, and they were all outstanding.  In the fall, I enrolled in an Intro Sem about World War One.  Because the professor was also a Resident Fellow, the class met in one of his dorm lounges.  Our group of fifteen sat on couches, discussing the readings and sharing our own thoughts about the causes of WWI.  In the winter, I participated in an Intro Sem about humanity and rational thinking offered by the Anthropology Department.  Having never taken an Anthropology class before, this was a great way to ease into a new subject field while becoming friends with other students and really getting to know a professor.  In the spring, I found an Intro Sem revolving around the works of Shakespeare.  I have always been fascinated by the themes in Shakespeare’s works, but in this class we analyzed them far beyond what I had done before.  The class even got together one Sunday afternoon to watch the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, which is based off of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, because we were interested in watching a modern interpretation of a work we had just discussed in class.

As a student who came from a smaller high school and thrives on discussion, Intro Sems were perfect for me.  Intro Sems kept me engaged, focusing on both the perspectives of my fellow students and the professor.  Besides being a great academic experience, Intro Sems were a fantastic way to form friendships and expand my social network.  They allowed me to engage with people from all parts of campus, backgrounds, and majors, make new friends and establish personal relationships with professors.  Intro Sems validate for me that Stanford is a safe environment where the community supports trying new things and sharing one’s thoughts.

Selby Sturzenegger

Class of 2018

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