Friday, January 14, 2011

Why I'm Excited About My Classes

1. There are only 5.0 credits' worth of them. This might not seem like a big deal to some of you—5.0 is still a slightly above-average course load at Yale—but this is the first time I've taken this few credits during my time here. The reduction in number will be offset somewhat by the more challenging material, but who knows—perhaps I'll have a bit more free time than in previous years.

1.5 Lunch. Partly as a consequence of reason number 1 above, I'll actually have time to eat lunch every day. This is definitely something I have not taken for granted during the past half-decade of my life.

2.5. No problem sets, no sections, no finals, few exams. None of the courses I've selected have weekly problem sets or huge tests. (Portuguese will be my only class with regular exams.) In other words, a lot less busy work and more opportunities to read and write about topics I'm genuinely interested in.

3.5. Small class sizes. My only lecture-style class, with about 60 students, is MGT 562 Behavioral Perspectives on Management, a graduate business course taught at the Yale School of Management. The sizes of my four other classes range from only 5 students in the Junior Seminar in Cognitive Science to 12 in Social Enterprise in Developing Economies.

4. Reading lists. How could anyone not get excited about titles like How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of Ideas and The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits? (Both for INTS 427.) I'm also particularly looking forward to reading O Xangô de Baker Street, my first Portuguese novel. "The adventure of Sherlock Holmes that Conan Doyle neglected to tell," reads the back cover. "A missing Stradivarius, cut ears and their respective cadavers bring the famous Sherlock Holmes to Brazil." 19th-century Rio de Janeiro, a cold-blooded serial killer and my childhood hero—what's not to love?