Four Classic Sophomore Summer Classes

By Luke McCann | 6/24/14 1:00pm

One night this spring, while sitting in my bedroom in Buenos Aires, I made an integral academic decision that generations of Dartmouth students before me have made. “’Lest the old traditions fail,” I muttered to myself as I selected Astro 2 for a summer course. Although they may not appear on bucket lists as often as the Ledyard challenge or the “Dartmouth Seven,” certain classes have become time-honored traditions for sophomore summer. It’s nearly guaranteed that you are in at least one of the classes on this list, or everyone else you know is.

Astronomy 1/2/3

Perhaps the most infamous of sophomore summer classes, the ORC’s timetable of course meetings shows that the combined enrollment of these three classes makes up nearly a quarter of this year’s sophomore class. With notoriously higher medians than most other science courses, you’ll likely see a lot of humanities students in the class who will spend the whole term persuading their friends that they took the class out of interest rather than for the SCI distrib. These classes have bonus appeal because I hear the lab is just looking at stars at night.

Classics 4 (Classical Mythology)

With the highest enrollment of any single course, it seems like there’s something about the summer term that really sparks campus’ interest in mythology. A popular option for students who may have trouble fulfilling their TMV distrib elsewhere, this course is a general overview of the Greek myths and their use in literature. Undoubtedly one of the most popular classes in the entire Classics department, over 150 students have decided that Zeus sleeping with nearly every man, woman and animal in existence would make for some excellent light reading on the Green.

ENGS 3 (Materials: Substance of Civilization)

A class whose reputation precedes it, many students don’t seem to really know what exactly this class entails before enrolling. Campus lore says it’s one of the more laid-back and enjoyable classes for those who are trying to knock out their TAS requirement before senior spring. The Thayer website for the course also includes a picture of Professor Lasky armed with a bow and arrow, which seems like inarguable evidence explaining why this class is so popular.

ENVS 25 (Ecological Agriculture)

The fondest memories of elementary school are always from field trips, whether they were to the zoo, the planetarium, or some kid’s dad’s bank. ENVS 25, known to most as organic farming, recreates this sense of adventure in the academic realm through a series of “field exercises” throughout the term. Essentially, this means that students take field trips to the local organic farm to witness what they’re learning in action. Given this information, it’s obvious why this class never seems to have an open spot. Some students have even been rumored to declare ENVS minors to help them obtain a sacred spot in the class.

Luke McCann