Fun Alternatives to Sitting in Big Intro Classes

By Michelle Liu

One of the best things about Harvard (and college, generally) is that you can finally escape the rigidness of only being able to take certain classes in high school, whether they are APs, IBs or A-Levels. As prospective Harvard students, you may have heard of some of the classic introductory classes offered here — Economics 10a: “Introduction to Microeconomics,” Computer Science 50: “Introduction to Computer Science,” Psychology 1: “Introduction to Psychological Science,” or Life Sciences 1a: “An Integrated Introduction to the Life Sciences.” Yes, these classes are fundamental and you will probably have to take some of them depending on your concentration, but, a) all colleges have an equivalent of these intro classes and b) I think it’s safe to say that these classes are not what make Harvard fun.

Harvard has so many cool departments and funky classes that you can take during your time here. As you are making your college decision, scroll through the course catalog and check out departments that may seem random relative to your interests at first (I’m looking at you, Folklore and Mythology). You never know what you’ll find or what new interests will be sparked. I’ll get you started: here are some fun classes to consider looking into!

ANTHRO 1201: “Human Osteology & Bioarchaeology”

What’s cooler than pretending to be Indiana Jones for an entire semester? Over the course of the semester, you put together a “bone notebook”–which is basically a collection of sketches of bones. Plus, if you’re looking to live out your crime drama fantasies, you get to handle actual human and animal remains.

AFVS 53AR: “Fundamentals of Animation”

Moana. Encanto. Coco. Inside Out. Soul. Need I say more? Imagine being able to create something that falls in the same category as these movies! No, you don’t need any prior experience to take this engaging and hands-on Arts, Film and Visual Studies course.

PSY 980AH: “Psychology of Cults”

While you may not be able to take this as a first-year, this class will be waiting for you as an upperclassman. It will equip you with everything you need to know about -how to start your own cult , how cults work, why people decide to join them and how cult leaders come to be.

MUSIC 1: “Introduction to Western Music, from Bach to Beyonce”

This class is easily the best class I’ve taken at Harvard and made me consider concentrating in Music. Not only is the teaching staff phenomenal, but the assignments are genuinely a great time — you get to listen to beautiful pieces of music, research interesting and often overlooked musical figures and patrons, and look at really cool, old pieces of music. Take this class, take this class, take this class!

FOLKMYTH 150: “Internet Folklore, Online Communities, and Digital Storytelling”

What do Twitter, TikTok or Facebook have to do with ancient storytelling? What sort of relationships are people hoping to find through exchanges of memes, DMs and snapchats? What stories get told in a world of fake news and internet trolls? Not convinced by how cool this class is yet? The readings for this class range from Tweets to ancient Greek myths!

Exploring your interests is part of what makes college so exciting! Harvard is a melting pot for renowned professors and faculty in almost every academic corner–so why not try a little bit of everything and see what you find?

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