University is hard. It’s awesome, but like, super hard. This first half of the semester has been a mixed bag, either I loved the class and turned up to every lecture, or I had a few regrets about my enrollment choices. This is a rundown of my experience with each of my classes, what the professors are like, how tutorials are run, what the content is like. Hope you enjoy!
Law 121 Law and Society
It probably helps that Law is what I plan on continuing with throughout my five years at university, there was a higher chance I was going to like it more than my other classes. Law is fun. It’s interesting and I love it. I’ll admit the first two weeks were extremely dry and incredibly hard to get into, but then it started to pick up and the last four weeks were fabulous. My professor was P. Anna Hood and I really liked her, it’s hard to like a class if you get a professor whose teaching style just doesn’t work for you. Most of the content in the first half of the semester is focused on the Treaty of Waitangi, or Te Tiriti O Waitangi because this document (or two documents depending on how you look at it) provide an important part of the foundation of our legal system today. You begin learning lots of technical terms and the nitty gritty stuff of what happened, then you consider both perspectives of the treaty and finally how it has since affected New Zealand (generally by examining cases and their outcomes). Tutorials are once a fortnight, most tutorials happen once a week but because there are so many first-year law students I don’t think they have enough room (or tutors) to accommodate once a week. Tutorials are helpful to go over any content that has been discussed in the lectures, and also tutors provide lots of tips for the practice assignment and for the law test. Also, if you attend every tutorial then you are able to get this thing called plussage. Plussage means that if the mark you receive at the end of semester exam is better then the mark you got on the mid-semester test, then the test mark is disregarded and the exam grade counts for 100% of your overall GPA. Long story short you really want to attend tutorials to have a better chance of having the best overall GPA you possibly can. Towards the end of the first half of the semester you stop learning about the Treaty and begin learning about natural law theory. This is a bit harder because it’s completely new stuff, plus we have a different professor for this topic whose teaching style doesn’t quite suit me. It just means that I have to put in a few more hours than before so that I can understand the content, but it’s still super interesting. In six weeks we have the Law 121 exam, and in order to get into second-semester law classes you need to achieve an overall grade of B+ or higher. So, the next few weeks my head will literally be swimming with a thousand different court cases, dates and terminology. Bleugh. (But it’s okay cause law is fun!)
Politics 109 Foundations of Western Politics and Law
I have mixed feelings about politics, mainly because the expectations of what the class was going to be were very different to what the class is actually like. It took me a while to sort of actually get into the class, I know that it literally has the word foundations in the title, so I should have expected it, but I didn’t realize we would literally be going right back to Plato and Aristotle. I probably would have liked it a lot more if I wasn’t taking two other classes that also covered Plato and Aristotle in the content, however now that we are moving toward more modern politicians and philosophers I’m finding that I enjoy the class a lot more. The lecturer is super amusing, and he just rewrote the content for this class so that it is more condensed and easier to understand. I just handed in the essay on Machiavelli because Italian politics interests me heaps, and fingers crossed I do okay (touch wood).
This course has 5 principal objectives. By the end of the course, you should:
Be familiar with the main patterns in the development of western political thinking up until the 20th century
Have the skills required to read and understand texts in political philosophy written in different historical periods, and in different styles
Understand the major political ideas of the thinkers we have studied
Understand the relationship between these ideas and the contexts in which they were produced
Be able to reflect critically upon your own social and political views, by recognizing the historical paradigms from which these are derived.
– Professor Wilkinson
Philosophy 102 Introduction to Ethics and Philosophy 105 Critical Thinking
Philosophy is something that I thought I would enjoy, so I enrolled in two different papers (102 and 105). I was wrong. Unfortunately for me philosophy is extremely confusing, this is nothing on my lecturers, they are both hilariously funny and teach really well, I just don’t get the content. Philosophy 102 is the better of the two, ethics is something that sounds really serious and somber, but the theories and philosophical thoughts that are taught in the course are actually pretty interesting and amusing. There is a multitude of different analogies that help to convey concepts like utilitarianism. I’ll put a link in below that explains pretty much what we covered in the first week of classes, I enjoyed learning about utilitarianism, it’s just we then moved on to hedonism and other theories that melted my brain every time I attempted to understand them lol. The second philosophy paper that I enrolled in was Critical thinking, and although I’m trying to provide a reasonably unbiased explanation of each class,it is probably the most confusing class I’ve taken so far. Philosophy 105 is the critical analysis of an argument, and the way that is taught of considering and analyzing the arguments is very mathematical. I don’t like math. Like, I dropped it in year 11 FOR A REASON. I didn’t realize that it was so mathematical so I kind of feel very out of my depth and it takes a lot of studying to grasp a concept. If you are someone who enjoys math then you should be all good for this subject. While I’m sure ill be thankful I took it after I’ve finished the paper, right now it’s a struggle. Just because I’m not enjoying it though doesn’t mean you won’t! If you like maths, and think Philosophy could be useful or interesting to you then give it a go:)
The first week of classes Phil102: https://www.philosophybro.com/archive/peter-singers-drowning-child-argument
History 103 Global History
Global history is hard to define or write about. Mainly because the way the lectures are structured throughout the semester is a bit confusing. Basically, every lecture is unrelated to the next lecture, because you study a different era, or topic each lecture. One day you could be studying the French revolution, and the next day you could be learning about the Trans Atlantic slave trade. So while I do like this class, sometimes I don’t like the lecture topic. I like learning about older global histories, or history from the middle eastern territories. Overall global history is super fun, we have three different lecturers who alternate depending on which area of history they specialize in. Tutorials are really good, the way the history tutorials are structured is that its sort of like a classroom situation. I have 12 other people in my tutorial and every week on Friday we basically just go over the content that we did each week.
To present students with a historical overview of the sequence of commercial, cultural, environmental and political events that have brought the peoples of the world together since the fifteenth century
To examine the nature of the encounters between peoples of different cultures over time
To familiarize students with some of the principal concepts which determined the course of modern histories such as imperialism, industrialization, nationalism, democracy, communism, indigenous rights, and globalization
To develop students’ ability to discuss their ideas in a range of both written and oral forms
To improve students ability to write an academically accredited piece of work
– Professor Jonathan Scott
Well. there it is. All up the first six weeks of class have been pretty good, I enjoy most of my papers, and my lecturers are awesome! If you have any questions hit me up:) until next time 😊 – Beth