I thought I’d write this post for fun, to let you know my personal thoughts on the courses I’ve taken in my first year at university. It’ll be interesting to read in future and may be helpful to any of you planning to study similar subjects in university. I’m studying at University of Auckland, in case anyone is interested. Not sponsored and I hope none of my lecturers/ex-lecturers see this because that would be awkward … but let’s go ahead shall we?
Philosophy 101 – Introduction to Logic
This is what the title says so if logic interests you, this is a solid introductory course. I’d done a little logic in high school before so I knew what to expect but if you haven’t done it before, it might be different from what you thought. It’s a bit like a cross between learning a new language and mathematics (in fact, you’ll learn propositional calculus – there’s the word calculus in the name!). It was quite interesting and easy (I found), although some parts quite basic and pedantic. I reckon it’ll become more interesting in higher stages. The lecturers are GREAT and this is pretty much the only subject this year where I attended and also paid attention to (nearly all) lectures. Would recommend.
Compsci 101 – Principles of Programming
It’s an introduction to programming in Python. The labs and assignments were enjoyable and very useful. The lectures were painful. You can get away with reading the slides, thankfully.
Maths 108 – General Mathematics
If you’ve studied calculus in high school, you’re sweet. If you’ve never studied calculus before, believe it or not there’s hope for you, because even though this course said only enrol if you’ve completed NCEA Mathematics/Calculus Level 3, in particular the differentiation standard, and I like an idiot thought, pfft who needs background knowledge? I’ll be fine, I still passed. I still got a pretty good grade (B range). So don’t despair. You may cry a little and regret your life decisions but you’ll make it. The content is super interesting (once you understand it) and there are some great lecturers (e.g. Igor). Tutors are super helpful (helps if you have some idea what you’re doing though and don’t just go to them with all the questions of the assignment, because they’ll ask, what have you got so far, and you’ll just stare blankly. I totally do not have personal experience with this).
Stats 101 – Introduction to Statistics
Most boring course in the history of boring (especially if you’ve already studied stats in year 13). Take it if it’s a required course for your major or you need statistics for your field. DO NOT take it for fun.
Psychology 108 – Individual, Social, and Applied Psychology
An intro to social development, social and cultural psychology, personality and intelligence, and clinical psych. I’m not sure how accurately what you briefly learn in each of these fields reflects what study is like in each field, because I haven’t taken second year yet so I can only speak on what I thought of the teaching of this course. I found it fairly basic and surface level and most aspects boring, if I’m being honest. We have great lecturers and tutors, but the content didn’t do it for me. I am still keen to continue with personality and intelligence and clinical psychology and did find these parts of the course more engaging so it’s likely just my personal preference. Labs are super chill and great if you have a friend in them. I apologize to my tutor Sam for being a terrible person in tutorials and hope he didn’t notice too much.
Psychology 109 – Mind, Brain, and Behaviour
I enjoy this course much more than Psych 108 and it’s more challenging. I really enjoyed the memory and language modules, as well as perception, emotion, and consciousness. Again, there are great lecturers and tutors and the info is not difficult to understand … there’s just quite a bit to memorise so do not cram.
Drama 100 – Taking the Stage: Performance and Presentation Skills
Very good lecturer… it IS a course on presentation skills after all. Nice variation of assignments and workshops were really fun. I wish there was more workshop time to develop practical skills, but I understand, ”tis a university course.
English 109 – Drama on Stage and Screen
I didn’t really enjoy this course which disappointed me because I am an English nerd. I think I prefer academic English to academic drama which may partly explain why this course didn’t wow me. It was interesting and there were some really good texts but I guess the lecturers didn’t go in depth with most of the texts and it seemed like rather shallow analysis. I suppose we are supposed to do the analysis ourselves. In general, it reminded me a little of English in high school which while I did enjoy I found quite shallow at times. I LOVED scholarship English and was hoping university English would be more similar to it, as I’d been told it would.
So those were my courses, folks. Yes I took quite a variation because I switched major in second semester (and am planning on switching back so there’s that!). All in all, my courses were good but I didn’t really love them in general and definitely found my year 13 and scholarship studies more engaging. I’m hoping second and third years will be more interesting since we’ll be getting much more of the depth and focus which I’ve felt has been lacking.
I should also mention that this year has been rough socially and in terms of mental health so I didn’t really make use of office hours and such so that also didn’t help my experience with the courses. Again, hoping to change that next year.