The five classes that taught me the most

James Jaskolka, Editor in Chief

Higher education has always been a place for learning and growth. You spend four years taking classes that give you better insight to your particular field of study, and then you can apply those skills to a career. Sometimes, though, you end up in classes that are useful to you in other ways: you learn empathy; you learn confidence; you learn about yourself. The following classes were chosen because they have all fostered growth in me, in more than just an academic sense.

5. SOC 101
Intro to Sociology
Dr. Andrew Wilczak
When you grow up with a dysfunctional family that struggles to make ends meet, it’s easy to lose sight of how much privilege you actually have. This course, taught in Dr. Wilczak’s unique style, opened my eyes to how other people live, and I’ve learned to be more understanding since.
4. COM 202
Interpersonal Communication
Dr. Jane Elmes-Crahall
You don’t realize how important effective communication is in relationships, romantic or otherwise, until you’re already feeling the strain. This class showed me different methods for communicating verbally and nonverbally, and has made my relationships with others much stronger.

3. ENG 101 Composition
Dr. Thomas Hamill
I came to Wilkes as a business major because I didn’t think I could make any money from writing. I might have graduated as one, very unhappy in a field I had no interest in, if it wasn’t for this class and its reflective and research-based assignments. At our first conference, Dr. Hamill told me I should be in a major where I could write, and I listened. For me, this class was the beginning of a fundamental change in who I was and how I presented myself. So, Dr. Hamill – thanks for believing in my dream.

2. COM 398
Gender and Communications
Dr. Mia Briceño
This class taught me about different kinds of gender identities and how people express their gender differently. It was the first time I’d encountered anything like that before, and suddenly everything clicked: there were other people in the world just like me. I wasn’t alone in my discomfort. While being essential to my self-understanding, this class also taught me empathy for others. I hope they make this a required course some day.

1. PHL 242
The Meaning of Life
Dr. Linda Paul
Despite the fact that I’m currently enrolled and it’s not even over yet, I feel like this class has had the most positive influence on my development. It’s a course that challenges you to reconceive how you view the whole world, from an internal and external perspective. We read excerpts from a book called “The Mindful Way Through Depression,” which totally changed my perspective on life. In under a semester, I’ve learned to be more mindful, how to stop negative thoughts before they overcome me and, most importantly, how to recognize and unlearn habits I have that cause problems for me. I’d recommend this class to anyone who enjoyed their Philosophy 101 class and likes reading.