As the 2015 spring semester comes to an end, I would like to take some time to reflect upon the classes I took in the fall and spring. These classes, although very diverse, helped me determine what I want to pursue in these coming years of college as well as figure out what I want to do in my future.
Originally, I applied Early Decision (ED) to Wash U in hopes of being a future doctor (yikes…). Before making my decision to ED Wash U, I even attended the 2013 June Pre-Medical Institute the summer before my senior year in high school.
During this three-week-period, I stayed in one of the modern freshman dorms, Dardick, and attended classes both on campus and in the Medical School. In addition, I ate delicious food and explored the beautiful campus—this experience convinced me to attend Wash U.
After being accepted, I researched the pre-med classes that undergraduate students need to take in order to be prepared for medical school. I noticed that General Chemistry and General Chemistry Laboratory are two separate classes. The best thing is, those two classes counted toward the biology major, which is what I wanted to major in.
As a result, for the fall semester, I signed up for the following classes:
General Chemistry Lab
Writing I (a required course for all Freshman)
Beginning Arabic I (a five-unit course)
MedPrep I– The Lecture Series (a one-unit pass/fail course recommended for all pre-med students)
Small Chamber Ensembles
Strings (private lesson for violin)
GenChem was a tough class that required a LOT of studying outside of class (as seen in the picture above^).
However, the last three courses on my list were more like “electives” than actual classes, since I enjoy playing music. Even though I had fun in those classes, I still had to practice a lot outside of class in preparation for concerts.
After the end of the first semester, I took some time during Winter Break to think about the classes I liked more than the others. Surprisingly, I realized that I prefer classes like Arabic and Writing I (instead of the science classes).
As a result, I made a big decision to no longer pursue pre-med. Now, this part sounds easier than it actually was—I basically had to choose between pursuing a dream I’ve had since I was a little girl and an interest I discovered after one semester of college. I talked to my four-year advisor (a great resource, by the way! I highly recommend going to them for help!), parents, and friends, and they all encouraged me to use freshman year as a time of exploration.
Instead of focusing so much on what to major in/what classes I need to take, I should step out of my comfort zone and take a bunch of classes that interest me.
I looked through the Course Listings page and selected those that sounded “cool.” For example, one class I took in the Spring Semester is “Romantic Revolutions in European Music History and Culture.”
This way, I can figure out a major that interests me!
I ended up taking that advice for second semester. Instead of taking pre-med courses, I switched from the sciences to humanities.
In the spring semester, I signed up for the following classes:
Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature
Introduction to Traditional and Literary Chinese II
Fifth-Level Modern Chinese II
Romantic Revolutions in European Music History and Culture
Small Chamber Ensembles
I signed up for two language courses, two humanities courses, and three music courses.
I learned from first semester that although the music classes are one/two unit(s) each, they still take up a LOT of time outside. To better balance out my time, I only had a total of 16 units total (including music).
Additionally, it’s not usually recommended for a student to take two language courses in one semester. Since I already spoke Chinese fluently and only wanted to touch-up on my grammar, my advisor told me that I should go ahead and take both.
I actually enjoyed Chinese so much that I decided to take Chinese next year as well!
Finally, the two humanities courses helped me figure out that I like reading & writing more than math & science. A lot of the concepts I learned in these two classes, moreover, are about social justice, equality, freedom of expression, etc. These topics really interested me. Aside from those topics, I also like the international part of the classes. Since I grew up internationally, I enjoy learning about different cultures and languages.
Eventually, I talked with my advisor one more time, and she introduced me to the International and Area Studies major.
And that is my current major.