Why I Love My First Year Seminar
Every first-year at Barnard is required to take 3 classes: First-year Writing, First-Year Seminar, and P.E. First-Year Writing and Seminar are small classes designed to get first-years acclimated to college and strengthen their critical thinking and writing skills.
I love my First-Year Seminar class, it’s probably my favorite class this semester. I’m taking Literature and Justice with Professor Caroline Weber, a professor of French and Comparative Literature. In this seminar we read literature from all different time periods, from ancient Greece to contemporary America, and discuss different ideas about justice: what does justice mean, who decides what is justice, and are all justices equal?
It’s an amazing, thought-provoking class that really helped me to become more confident in my ideas and writing. Our classes are all discussion based, allowing everyone in the class to voice their opinions with some guidance from Professor Weber. It’s a great environment to be a part of. At first, I was really nervous about being in a discussion-based seminar. The idea of sharing my opinions about the novels and plays in front of others terrified me because I was afraid of being wrong and misinterpreting the readings. But my peers and Professor Weber are so supportive and make it easy to have a conversation and share. I always look forward to attending class, we laugh and have fun instead of a conducting an intimidating, formal discussion.
One of the reasons that the class is so engaging is that the texts we read are so interesting. From Hamlet to The Trial to Gone Girl, we’re constantly analyzing what people thought of justice throughout the ages. The texts we read are wonderful by themselves, but the class discussions bring out complexities and layers I would’ve never thought of on my own. We talk about what justice means to people and the lengths they will go to in order to achieve it.
As someone interested in pursuing law, the concept of justice has always been compelling to me and this class has grown my interest. However, the most important thing I got out of this class is assurance in my own skills. Literature and Justice has made me certain that my own critical thinking and writing skills are adequate and acceptable for college, something that will last long after the semester ends.
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