Baby it's COLD outside!
Moving super quick! Let's girlboss our way through this one!
Having a BLAST at the BURKE
Honors 397 with Melissa Frey
After a truly unfortunate turn of events during my winter quarter registration period, I discovered the Burke's Honors 397 seminar during a course exploration session in my Honors 100 class, and it turned my college experience around on its head, all for the better! To summarize my winter quarter fiasco, I wanted to sign up for the introductory DESIGN 166 course in hopes of possibly being a VCD major. When that plan fell through the cracks, I found myself signing up for the Burke class since it was at the exact same time as design on the time schedule.
At the Burke, I met my incredible instructor Melissa Frey, the collections manager of invertebrate zoology, who knew exactly how to introduce us all to every nook and cranny of the Burke's operations with the goal of having us fall in love with something new.
During this curse, I wrote two papers about the visitor engagement experience, and made a final presentation with my friend (and fellow future peer educator) Shalini. These assignments were extremely fun to make and design, and I'm incredibly drawn to the world of natural history museums after my engagement in the Burke this quarter.
In fact, this course convinced me to SERIOUSLY consider taking up the Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology major here, just because of how exciting EVERYTHING was to me. Id love to broaden my horizons beyond the marine science world, and this class surely gave me a whirlwind of opportunity to explore all these options. From photographic MILLIONS-of-years-old plants, to digging around shell specimens of various colors, shapes, and sizes, I had a blast and a half in this course. (PS: Honors! Please make this a full 5 credit course if possible! It's just too darn good!!!)
Bring your Switch to English Class
ENGL282 Intermediate Multimodal Composition with Misun Bishop = Best ENGL course out there!
When I tell you that tis is one of my favorite english classes I've ever taken, you better believe it. 282 with Misun Bishop was SUCH a blast. I knew that the course was going to suite my personal interests and personal approach to literature, but what I didn't expect was how engaging and eye-opening the course was really going to be! Misun framed the course around disability lenses and approaches to the relaying of information in terms of accessibility. We read many texts over the course of the quarter, but our primary text was actually... a video game!
On the first day of class, Misun instructed us to not worry about purchasing a textbook like those used in the other intro lit courses, she said all texts would be provided except for one, Night in the Woods! After running back to my dorm and booting up the Nintendo eShop on my switch, I bought the game and immediately started on my "homework" for the week.
Of course, this text was partnered with weekly journals and a later major project surrounding the themes and experiences presented in the game from the lens of mental health. It was such a fun approach to understanding experiential text, and our other assignments rocked too!
I made posters, infographics, podcasts, all about the things I was passionate about. My favorite smaller project was a poster/museum installation I designed about the Seattle Seawall on the waterfront. I was able to deliver information about something I knew quite a lot about, and experiment with different modes aside from strictly text. I made interactive buttons, audio recordings, visual illustrations, and maps!
4 POINT OH MY GOD!?
The quarter I fell in love with the subject I thought I'd hate the most - Organic Chemistry!
During Winter quarter, I had a lot of time to dedicate to my one hardcore STEM course: ochem! Considering I was taking English, the Burke, and a Marine Biology Seminar, I felt really confident and happy during winter quarter as I was doing a lot of what I loved, while also focusing time where I knew I needed it most. I only heard bad things abut ochem all my life, so i decided I wanted that to change, and I felt like I had set myself up for that opportunity in the best way possible.
After getting a 70% or so my first midterm, I thought I threw my goal out the window, but little did I know that my 70% would encourage me to study like I've never studied before for the rest of the quarter. I got into a great rhythm with my study group (who also turned out to be my CLOSEST friends this year!) and we all spent time working our butts off for chem, while also having a blast outside of chem with post-session adventures and food outings. I ended up getting 98-100s on my remaining two midterms, and a pretty great grade for the final.
All of this amounted to me receiving a 4.0 in the course! I was actually super shocked about the grade considering I was expecting a 3.7 or 3.8 at the highest based on the grading policy calculations shared by the professor during the start of the quarter. When i saw my final grade, I had assumed it was my final grade for my english class rather than my chem class. I'm really proud of the systems and support I've set up for myself from this experience this quarter, and I truly found what ways I can set myself up to flourish in this academic setting.
Looking back on Winter 2022
When my older peers told me that winter quarters are, without a doubt, the worst and most "depressing" quarters of college, I went into my first winter quarter with a single goal in mind: make winter quarter my BEST quarter.
Ironically, I was preparing myself for a quite rigorous winter quarter before all of my registration plans went down the drain thanks to an overfilled DESIGN 166 class and scheduling conflicts with my ochem lectures and the remaining available MATH 124 lectures. SO instead of doing ochem, design, and math, I ended up taking ochem, the honors Burke course, English, and a simple marine biology seminar! I really only got to sign up for ONE of my originally intended courses, but that is totally ok, because this winter turned out to be the best and most engaging quarter yet.
I felt like I was taking classes I would easily fall in love with.
As mentioned above in my ochem annotation, I was hesitant about the subject for the longest time from all of the hate ochem typically gets from past students and the collective sentiment discussed in mainstream media, HOWEVER I had so much time to dedicate to ochem, and I fell in love with the systematic nature of the course. The concepts were so much easier to understand and apply in comparison to general chemistry, and I found a really solid group of amazing friends in the lecture who also happen to double as my study group. We had rituals and routines for our upcoming exams, and we made sure to have fun after hard session.
You've already heard oh so much about the Burke class - I could really go on and on about it, but I'll save your ears for now. Long story short, I had an incredible time exploring all of bits and pieces that make natural history and culture museums so important. This course is seriously making me consider a job in collections management or preparation, hence why I'm hoping to apply into a different major beyond marine biology. Dr. Frey was extremely accommodating to everyone's personal interests, and when we visited each collection, you could tell the people responsible for these pieces were incredibly passionate, and I hope I can end up in a career where my passion shines through, just like theirs.
Aside from courses, I spent a lot more time focusing on myself and my wellbeing this quarter. There was a sense of guilt I felt when signing up for only 14 credits this quarter. It's a guilt that really stems from the culture of "work hard, don't stop" that I've grown up with over the last few years, but I've been hoping to break that mold a bit more as I navigate college. I truly cannot drop my mental health, and this is something I have to remind myself every once in a while.
I took those important rest days. I spent time lazying around on my bed, messing around on my laptop or doing what I call "get your 💩 together" tasks that are relatively low stakes.
These tasks include, but are not limited to:
Updating or fixing my resume
Drafting and sketching up a personal brand design
Updating my design/film/photo portfolio
Updating my honors portfolio
Brainstorming what to get my parents for their birthdays
Scrolling through bank account statements
Checking to see if I have any medical/dental issues that need to be checked out
Checking to see if I need to go to any events in the near future
All of these things seem really boring or menial. but for me, sitting down in bed with some swiss miss hot chocolate and addressing these little things makes me feel really relaxed. BUT it is also always important to fully unplug and not do anything at all. This gal has been doing a lot of face-down brain breaks on her bed - it's probably saving my eyeballs from all the screen-time to be honest!
All in all, I'm incredibly satisfied with how this quarter went down. I feel happier than I've ever been before, and I know that I have a stronger sense of belonging and community here simply from just dedicating that time to explore. I've discovered more things that make me excited to learn. I've adventured around with my chem besties. I've eaten an unfathomable amount of Pho during these cold winter days. Most importantly, I found more things that make me happy, and I hope to discover more as I move into my last quarter of freshman year.
So, dear Winter quarter,
I LOVE YOU! THANK YOU!
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