Wash U’s interdisciplinary education has equipped me with skills necessary to travel during my abroad experience. Each day, I use my knowledge to synthesize the plethora of new sights and cultural characteristics that I encounter. Wandering through museums, I recall relevant facts from my art history classes. My physics courses helped me understand how contemporary buildings stand. Knowing Italian allows me to communicate with Florentines, but also to understand the basic grammar of other romance languages. Wash U’s versatile course listings exist to nurture well-rounded students, and so, we must take advantage of all our school has to offer.
It can be tempting to ask peers for class recommendations that will ensure an “easy A,” or to fill your schedule based on your inclination to sleep late, but I encourage you to think flexibly. As an underclassman, I avoided taking Friday classes in order to expand my weekend. As a senior, I wonder what classes I missed out on due to my rigid thinking. When picking classes, enroll based on your interest in the subject and the diversity it brings to your schedule, rather than logistical benefits. I have created a list of departments and classes that, when not representative of your major, will stimulate your curiosity and set you up for life after college.
1. Writing: We use writing skills more than we realize, spending hours emailing professors, potential employees, etc. Communicating well through writing is especially important, as we cannot rely on facial expressions and gestures to reveal mood and tone. Understanding how to construct effective sentences could make the difference in procuring a job. Although each course in the writing department targets a different skill set, practicing any type of writing is worthwhile for your professional and personal development.
2. Business: I recommend “Business Fundamentals for Non-Business Students” for those interested in obtaining basic business knowledge. This class will provide unique skills in career planning, interpersonal communication, and group work. Understanding the intricacies of business is key to succeeding in any field. Additionally, it never hurts to be well versed in management, especially if you are promoted to a leading position in an office early on. With just one semester of learning in Olin’s highly organized and efficient environment, you will become well-equipped to begin your professional career.
(Click here to watch a collection of student interviews, including my own, on this course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS-ZoBQYyfA)
3. Psychology: Although “Introduction to Psychology” was by far the most challenging class of my college experience, it was also arguably the most valuable. Competitive students sometimes tend to disregard mental health, while instead prioritizing academic success. This extensive psychology course allows you to focus on both. You can simultaneously explore the inner workings of the human mind and strive to be a successful student. This unprecedented duality will prove critical to developing a better understanding of yourself, your peers, and our emotional complex society.
Consider taking classes in each of these three departments, or if you are looking for even more diversity, create your own list and try to cross off classes each semester!