One of my favourite aspects of my Penn education is the fact that I have essentially free reign to take any classes that catch my eye, provided it fits into my schedule. As a senior, I've accumulated some pretty interesting classes under my belt as I made the best out of the vast and varied academic offerings at Penn. I am an International Relations and Economics double major with a minor in English.
1. Freud (GRMN253), taught by Liliane Weissenberg
Many people write off Freud for being essentially, a hack of a scientist. This class instead examines the life, cultural influences and societal impact of Sigmund Freud. This was one of the first classes where I was consistently engaged in lecture and recitation, delving into not only the cultural phenomenon that was fin-de-siècle Vienna but the philosophies of Freud and his contemporaries. Liliane Weissenberg made the most esoteric of concepts accessible with a dry sense of humour. I left the class with not only a deeper appreciation for Sigmund Freud and his works, but a greater understanding of European history and psychoanalysis today.
2. Information Strategies and Economics (OPIM469), taught by Lorin Hitt
Despite not being in Wharton, I was able to register for this Operations Management class because of Penn's One School policy, which took down many of the bureaucratic red tape surrounding taking classes outside of your school. Despite the seemingly dry name, this class explored how digital goods (like digital songs, e-books, and streaming) changes the way businesses are fundamentally run (think about how the rise of Uber and Lyft displaced traditional taxis) and how we use economics to price and regulate these information goods. Lorin Hitt is at the top of his field and his work as a private consultant for some of the biggest companies in the world meant that every lecture was filled with relevant cases he's worked on before. This was one of the classes that I saw myself applying the most concepts from in everyday life.
3. Ancient Roman History (ANCH027), taught by Julia Wilker
I had always been a classics buff and I was very excited in my freshman year spring semester to immerse myself in Roman history. This class spanned the entirety of Roman history, from the myth of Remus and Romulus to the rise and fall of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. This was another class in which the lectures and recitations complemented each other very nicely. I would learn about how Romans borrowed many parts of their culture from the Etruscans and then hear my super cool teaching assistant tell me about how she excavated an Etruscan village in Italy years prior in recitation. I loved classes like this one because you were able to be fully immersed in a topic that you have never delved into before and emerge at the end of a semester with your brain full of new information. Taking this class actually prepared me very well for future political science classes that cited various Roman wars and political thought.
-Ber Ber X. '16