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A Peek into the Course Load

Posted by on Friday, December 19, 2014 in Academics, General Information, Year in Review.

Whew. My last fall semester at Vanderbilt is behind me, and I am overflowing with all of the feelz. Cue that sappy Vitamin C song. Some of the greatness of the past few months has been due to extracurriculars and just general being-a-senior-ness, but the majority of the credit goes to my spectacular Vandy courses. I don’t normally take the time to walk through my class schedule or describe what my course load is like, but as I’m sitting here at home under the twinkly Christmas tree and as Michael Bublé quietly serenades me with I’ll Be Home for Christmas, I’m feeling nostalgic. I thought I’d take the opportunity to do a little gushing.

This semester I took two HOD classes, Managing Organizational Change and Advanced Organizational Theory. These two classes happened to be the last two classes I needed to finish my Human and Organizational Development major, so that is done. I still have a lot of growing to do, but HOD has given me a strong problem-solving foundation that will take me far. Fingers crossed. In Managing Organizational Change, we learned about how to be Organizational Development Consultants, contracting with organizations and performing analysis to determine appropriate interventions. In Advanced Org Theory, we looked at organizational structure and culture, usually through the lenses of case studies or well-known corporations. For the final project, my friend Hope and I gave a presentation on the organizational design of Costco, which was THE BEST because I got to read articles about the science behind giving out free samples and the differences between international Costco locations for weeks and weeks. Did you know that the food court at Costco in Japan sells Bulgogi? Well now you do.

On the first day of my Chinese Calligraphy course, I didn’t even know how to hold the brush. In this one-hour, once-a-week course, I learned how to (theoretically) write with Chinese Calligraphy strokes and write poignant, deep things like “tiger” and “I love mom.” Our final grade was based on attendance and participation, and on the last day of class we got to write a sheet of our favorite characters to be voted on by the class to determine the “best calligrapher.” Let’s just say I was not even in the running. Chinese Calligraphy was relaxing and let me explore a culture I hadn’t really explored before.


African Drumming was the sweat-fest I participated in each Monday evening at the Blair School of Music. I convinced my friends MK and Monica to take it with me, a smart move as we had a somewhat-embarrassing final concert open to the public after Thanksgiving. We learned to play syncopated beats on the cowbell-like gankogui, but most of our time was spent learning the traditional war dances. We got to wear costumes with bright patterns and wave around swords for class credit, so I was all about it.

It's a good thing the swords they gave us were wooden.

In Advanced Marketing, I had the pleasure of being taught by one of my favorite professors, Professor Johnsen. I had the opportunity to work on the Credit Karma project I blogged about earlier this semester with Professor Johnsen and four other students, so we got to know each other really well. Professor Johnsen would bring in interesting local advertising professionals as guest speakers, and all semester we got to work on an Integrated Marketing Plan for a company/brand that we made up. So, if you’re ever looking to market a recycling program to middle-school girls, Jodi and I have the 104-page marketing plan for you.

Finally, I took an Intro to American Sign Language course on a whim. A few of my friends were taking it, and it’s been a lifelong, slightly random dream of mine to learn sign language, so I went for it. ASL ended up being one of my favorite classes I’ve taken at Vanderbilt, as learning the language is a blast and there is a whole deaf culture to explore beyond learning the signs. One of our larger assignments was signing to a song in front of the class, and I chose Strangers Like Me from Tarzan. I loved the class so much that I am taking ASL II in the spring!

When I think back to my senior year of high school when I was making difficult college decisions, I remember how important balance was to me. It’s still one of the main things I value about Vanderbilt, because I’m not an all-work-and-no-play kind of gal.  I wanted courses that would challenge me, bring out my strengths, and develop my skills all at the same time. I am so happy to be able to say that my classes at Vanderbilt have lived up to that standard and surpassed it, and this semester has been a great example of that.

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