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Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Peyton Lawrenz ’19

Santa Fe, New Mexico • Politics View Profile

Academic Playground

Course offerings, course selection and a dozen choices ... oh my!

I like to refer to Princeton as “an academic playground.” Within the confines of the “Orange Bubble,” my responsibilities and obligations are largely limited to my academics and extracurricular interests. I am blessed to be at a point in my life where even if I am rushed, frantic and busy every moment of the day, this sense of ordered chaos only exists because I am doing so many things that I am immensely passionate about.

Princeton is my academic playground because I am unbound by the things that I can learn, the places I can go and the professors that I can meet. My favorite days in the academic year are the days that course offerings are released. On those days, regardless of my coursework or responsibilities, I am immediately caught up in the wild fervor of reading and examining every class that sparks my interest. Princeton offers hundreds of courses each semester and I am often paralyzed in my decision-making.

I have yet to finalize my course selection for next fall, but I suspect that by the end of the year and certainly by the end of summer, my interests will have shifted. For now, here are some of the courses that have made my short list:

POL 388: "Causes of War" with Professor Gary J. Bass

POL 345/SOC 305: "Introduction to Quantitative Social Science" with Professors Marc Ratkovic and  Matthew J. Salganik 

  • A course required for my major and one of my distribution requirements.

HIS 425: "The History of Political Propaganda from the French Revolution to Vladimir Putin" with Professor Igor Khristoforov 

  • After several weeks working on a project involving political posters from the first revolution in Russia, I am interested in exploring the theme of propaganda more thoroughly.

HIS 383: "The United States, 1920-1974" with Professor Kevin M. Kruse

  • This course consistently receives great reviews, several of my friends have recommended it and I love U.S. history. 

JRN 441:"The McGraw Seminar in Writing - The Art of the Profile" with Visiting Lecturer Rebecca Mead

  • Several of my close friends have raved about their experiences with journalism courses here. Rebecca Mead is a staff writer at The New Yorker.

ART 272: "Rage against the Machine: Art and Politics in America" with Professor Rachael Z. DeLue 

  • I took a class with Professor DeLue in my first-year spring, but haven't had the chance to take another course in the Department of Art History since.

ITA 303: "Dante's 'Inferno'" with Professor Simone Marchesi

  • I may or may not have specifically started taking Italian last fall specifically so that I could take this course.