By April Khowong '19

My first year of college at Occidental was dedicated to trying various classes from a variety of different majors as well as taking classes that would fulfill my core requirements.

Last year, I had no idea what I wanted to pursue and it was really stressing me out. I ended up taking classes in psychology, economics, marine biology, and sociology. Here is some advice: if you’re looking for a class that fulfills your lab science requirement, I definitely recommend marine bio because you get to go on a ton of cool field trips to aquariums, tide pools, and even go out on a boat to collect samples. Anyway, once you get most of your core requirements completed, you can focus on taking classes in the major of your choice.


Choosing classes can be tough. To take that  8am psych class or not? It could work out great if you’re a morning person ( like me, kind of); you would finish class earlier so you could potentially finish your work earlier too. Another thing to keep in mind is to lay out a plan of when to take your core courses so you don’t have to face a situation later on where you’re rushing to find a class because you forgot to fulfill one core. The good news is that it is easy, and even fun, to fill those core requirements and most students are done with their core by sophomore year while also fulfilling major and minor requirements.

Therefore, one important tip for prospective students (and frosh) is to make sure you keep track of what core courses/major requirements you’ve completed and which ones you still have to take. Once that’s figured out/planned, you can take the classes that really interest you.

I would say a perk of being a sophomore is taking more classes that personally interest you. For me, that was Sociology of Food and Intro to Digital Media and Culture. I’m taking the media class this semester and I absolutely love it. We get to discuss readings about the web and social media and we’re also going to have a unit later on memes (how many other classes get to do that?!). My point is that as you progress through college, you start to get more of a feel of what interests you (or at least what doesn’t). With this new knowledge, you can take advantage of classes to further your interests and goals.

That’s why, in my opinion, one of the best things about sophomore year is getting to take these classes you are more invested in. Discovering more about yourself, whether it’s academically or personally, is awesome and that can lead you to find out more about what you want to do in the future. Plus, it can make you feel like you’ve got your life more under control (even if you totally don’t, like me).

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