One of the coolest differences between high school and college is that the range of topics to study in college is HUGE compared to high school. Obviously we still have the basics – math, science, language arts, social studies – but there is so much more. My personal favorite is pop culture. There’s actually a Pop Culture minor at USC, something that I was ecstatic to find out about. Pop culture is such a huge part of daily life in America, so why not study it?
Last spring I took the required writing course for upperclassmen, which is called Writing 340. This class is made up of less than 20 students of similar majors. Although my major is psychology (a social science), I took writing 340 in the Arts and Humanities category. We had five assignments throughout the semester, my favorite of which was one about history. In this unit we talked about ways in which views of historical events become skewed, depending on who’s presenting them.
So what was my paper about? The King of Pop. I chose two different documentaries about Michael Jackson’s life, made six years apart from each other, and analyzed how each presented a drastically different view of the star. One showed him as a freak (and coincided with media coverage about child molestation accusations) and the other glorified him (and coincided with his untimely death). Writing this paper was so much fun. It involved watching documentaries about MJ and listening to his music to get my creative juices flowing while I wrote my observations and commentaries.
I ended up with a pretty cool paper about how we can’t understand the truth unless we look at the object of inquiry from all possible angles, even those that are a little bit drastic. It was relevant to my interests and it actually ended up fitting nicely into my recently-declared History minor.
All of this goes to show that, put simply, learning can be fun! Take classes that are a little bit outside of your comfort zone, because that’s where you get to study topics and ideas that you normally wouldn’t get to. My Psychology major doesn’t really lend itself to pop culture or history, both of which I love to learn about, so it was a really cool opportunity to be able to do that learning through a writing class. A writing class which, by the way, helped me figure out what I want to do with my life. But that’s another story…
Until next time!