Posts Tagged ‘classes’

Fall-ing in Love: The 2013 Autumn Course Guide

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 9.03.03 PM

Explore Courses was down more than four hours before Axess even opened for enrollment. Most claim that it was due to overzealous frosh (hint: you can’t sign up for classes until orientation. Please stop bogging down the server), overzealous-er upperclassmen (please don’t judge us for indulging our need to obsessively research and meticulously plan the remaining time in our academic careers),  the fact that the Stanford computing just has a general tendency to suck (Exhibit A: Old Axess. Exhibit B: New Axess) or some combination thereof. But I know the real reason. The real reason you all crashed Explore Courses is because you knew. You all knew how each and every department at Stanford completely blew their course offerings out of the water this quarter.

I’ve written this course guide for over a year now (except for last Spring  - sorry for any of you who looked for it, I kind of dropped the ball. My bad.) and I have to say that each and every quarter of carefully combing through the Bulletin* leaves me freshly dumbstruck with the sheer number of delightful offerings this school continues to pump out. Seriously. Writing this thing is actually pretty excruciating. I want ten more years here. I want to major in about seventeen different things and minor in eight more. I want to take ALL THE CLASSES. But alas. I can’t. So I write this guide and hope that I can live vicariously through all you wonderful people who can collectively take them all for me. With that, I wish you a fantastic quarter full of vigorous and enlightening academic pursuits and the stress, anxiety, sleep-deprivation, loss of morale, and overall decline in physical and mental health that will inevitably accompany them. Cheers.

*The physical book that used to house the year’s course offerings back when the Marguerite was just a horse and an Apple was just a piece of fruit.

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Open meeting to discuss Registrar’s proposed changes

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

In case you haven’t heard, the Registrar has proposed moving popular Stanford classes to 8:30 a.m. and disallowing students from taking overlapping classes.  If you’re passionate about this issue, the VPUE is giving you an opportunity to provide input.

Academic Affairs has scheduled a meeting with Vice Provost Harry Elam TODAY at 5:45 PM in the ASSU offices in Old Union.  All interested students are welcome to attend.  Be sure to arrive on time.

The ASSU Senate petition against the changes can be found here.

Descent of the Parental Units

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Excellent PhotoShopping? Really awkward memories? The world may never know.

Parents Weekend 2013 is upon us, and you know what that means… free food!

No, I kid, I kid*, it means that your parents may well be on campus, and if so they’ll be REALLY excited to see you, spend time with you, talk to you, hug you, dote on you, and otherwise keep you really, really busy… right in the midst of midterm season.  The timing, in a word, is inopportune.  Every year I gently remind my parents of how busy I am because I’m trying to make the most of my education.  Every year they not-so-gently remind me that they’re paying for that education.  Touché, parents.  Touché.

In the interest of keeping your parents happy while you keep your academic head above water, here’s a brief guide to parent-friendly resources and activities.

Stanford it up.

The Parents Weekend coordinators have put together a truly wondrous array of opportunities for your progenitors.  If you remember nothing else from this post

SHOW THEM THIS LINK.

There are classes, receptions, tours, and fairs galore.  The whole calendar can be found here.

Don’t let your dad be that guy.

Teach ‘em the lingo.

Stanford acronyms are really confusing to the uninitiated.  Help a brother… er, mother out and clarify the quirky verbiage that might otherwise lead them astray:

Go off the beaten path

Here are some quirky ideas for the parents who’ve been there, done that, and want to try something new on their 2nd, 3rd, …, nth Parents Weekend:

  • Cantor Arts Museum is one of the most underrated locations on campus, and The Thinker’s back!
  • Your hipster parents visited Hoover Tower before it was cool?  No worries!  If they’re active, a nice alternative (with breathtaking views) is the Dish walk.  It takes about 1.5 hours to walk, so can be a nice breather (literally) between classroom-based activities.
  • Sit in on an off-beat class.  There are lots of classes just for parents today, but Explore Courses has thousands.  One thing my parents like doing is visiting classes for what they majored in in college.  Also, courses like Psych 1 and CS 106A are both crowd-pleasers, and they’re both offered on Fridays!
  • Make sure they don’t miss Memorial Church.  A lot of my friends still haven’t gone, and it’s by far my favorite spot on campus.
  • Original student artwork is being showcased in the Cummings Art Building right now!  Check it out to support our budding artists.

*But seriously, work that free food angle.

Don’t make your parents fend for themselves while you’re in class.  Refer them to this list of on-campus eateries, or the full plethora of Stanford Dining’s offerings here.

When you’ve finally beasted the last midterm of the week, take advantage of Palo Alto’s diverse culinary fare!  Mom and Dad are lookin’ to treat (probably even your friends, so that they can start those criminal background checks), and there are lots of offerings.

I hope this is helpful, and happy Parents Weekend, everyone!

The One, the Only, the 2013 Winter Course Guide

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

It’s that time of year again.

Let’s just say that this is NOT what Thanksgiving looks like at my house…

No, not Thanksgiving. I mean, yes – technically it is time for family drama, dried out Turkey, sleeping in a bed that hasn’t been tainted by years of college kids getting it on, and becoming unnecessarily excited that it’s now socially acceptable to eat truly stupid amounts of pumpkin pie. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Oh no. Not that. I’m talking about something far more important: the TUSB Winter Course Guide.

Yes, I know Axess opened a month ago. I’m sorry I’ve been a little late to the game. As you all know, the quarter system is effing exhausting and often prohibits us from doing those things we really want to do. However, because it’s “Break”, and because the lovely few of my saintly friends who actually follow this blog have been bugging me to get off my keister and actually write the darn thing, and because my brain is downright refusing to let me start the 25 page paper I’m supposed to write before the end of the holiday, and because it has recently been brought to my attention that I have atrocious time management skills, I’m excited to bring you the 2013 Winter  course guide.

Given that I didn’t have a spare week to sit around Starbucks and think up super-amazing themes like “the Muppets”, this time around I’m sticking with a classic: “When I Grow Up”. As always, you can rest assured that this course guide is poorly-informed, overly generalized, and rarely if ever politically correct. As always, I will accept no responsibility for any misery inflicted by taking any of these classes. So enjoy the post, enjoy the break, and – above all – enjoy the fact that we get to do this all over again after New Years. Cheers.

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Breaking the Fall: 2012 Autumn Course Guide

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Ah, summer. One minute you’re shotgunning a beer celebrating with friends after your last final, the next, you’re waking up and rolling over to find that two months of beaching, traveling, summer-schooling, tanning, grilling, working, and/or your resume-building b****work meaningful internship experience have flown by and it’s already August. Which means it’s time to maybe, possibly, conceivably consider what you’ll be studying in the fall. Even at Stanford, summer doesn’t last forever, and eventually we’ve got to come to grips with  all of our first-world problems – namely, enrolling in classes at the happiest place university on earth. But, fear not – I have spent the last fortnight scouring every course in every department this school has to offer (upon reading this line, my proofreader claims that I “need to get laid a life”), with the hope of delivering the BEST list of classes to get you STOKED to come back to campus. It combines all the things I love most in life: cool classes that don’t physically drive me to tears (yes, I’m talking to YOU, “Inventing Classics“), excessive linkage, personality stereotypes, semi-snarky commentary, giant over-generalizations and massive assumptions, and most importantly: THE MUPPETS.  In any case, I hope the article piques your interest in something you might have otherwise overlooked, missed, or been to lazy to go look up.  And if not, all I can say is that I hope it makes you laugh (if only in pity). Other than that, here’s to the remaining MONTH of summer (suck it, Cal) and the boredom and restlessness that will inevitably accompany it. Cheers.

 

Autumn 2012 classes for…

the wise-guy

Old Guys Rule.

AMSTUD 140: Stand Up Comedy and the “Great American Joke” Since 1945

I took this class last fall. Actual (read: more or less deeply paraphrased) quote from the prof: “Hey, Hennessey – I’ve got an idea for a class. It will involve abundant sexism, racism, elitism, lewd and scatalogical references, innappropriate behvaior, excessive profanity, and – above all – some of the most brilliant and observative writers, performers, and anthropologists of our time.  What’s this class called, you ask? Well, it’s Stand Up Comedy and the Great American Joke”. Take this class. It’s awesome.

MUSIC 36N: Humor in Music

My visions of this class involve Steel Panther, Weird Al, and Parry Gripp.

Thank God I’m not teaching it.

 

the romantic

Living up to his name like an absolute champ

HISTORY 33A: Blood and Roses: The Age of the Tudors
Mystery, murder, sex, and scheming? And you thought your family was dramatic.

ATHLETIC 39: Fencing: Beginning
So you can do THIS.

ENGLISH 154: Mapping the Romantic Imagination
The map of MY romantic imagination involves horseback trips through the Florin countryside with Wesley, a sunset on the bow of the (intact) Titanic with Jack, the California coastline in Benjamin Bradford’s convertible, getting stuck on an island in the Caribbean with Cap’n Jack Sparrow, Patrick Verona’s paintball park, and wherever Ryan Gosling is currently located (though, preferably here). To my great disappointment, however, I believe this class refers a bit more to the English romantic poets and novelists and the sublime countrysides they envisioned. Then again, is anything quite as lovely and romanticized as curling up with a little Keats and Byron?

 

the hipster

This muppet is actually called Harry the Hipster. You've probably never heard of him.

ENGLISH 121A: Tattoos, Scars, Marks and American Cultures of Inscription

I feel bad for the poor sucker of a TA who has to read 60+ papers on “Why the dolphin/butterfly/Chinese symbol for “peace”/shooting star/infinity sign/angel wings/song lyrics/Bible verse on my ankle/lower back/shoulder blade/neck/wrist/sideboob/part of my hip that totally gets gets covered by a bikini is a unique artistic expression of my inner self”.

ARTSTUDI 131: Sound Art I 
Because taking just “music” was too mainstream.

FILMSTUD 301: Fundamentals of Cinematic Analysis 
Take this class so that the next time you’re giving your pretentious opinion about the latest film showing at INSERT NAME OF UNKNOWN THEATER HERE, you’ll be able to reference a little-known technique/genre/style/paradigm/buzzword that your professor mentioned once in class.

COMM 182: Virtual Communities and Social Media
This should prepare you well for your vague “job” in the vague cross section between “media” and “social networking” at that start-up no one has ever heard of.

 

the history buff

I want that blazer.

HISTORY 95C: Modern Japanese History: From Samurai to Pokemon
Samurai…. Pokemon. SAMURAI… POKEMON. I’m not quite  sure what’s between these two poles (the history of sushi?!?!) but it’s guaranteed to be awesome.

COMM 125: Perspectives on American Journalism
I don’t know enough about journalism or, frankly, television to confidently explain why “The Newsroom” sucks and “The Wire” is the bestest thing ever since Ike’s Menais a Trois. Admittedly, I should probably take this class and many others on this list. In any case, if you believe the slow death of the newspaper is a genuine travesty or that Cronkite and Murrow could give Colbert and Stewart a run for their money, then this might be the class for you.

HISTORY 103F: Introduction to Military History
It’s like the Military Channel… sans couch.

HISTORY 243G: Tobacco and Health in World History
Not to get all Nick Naylor on you guys, but I’m genuinely curious how one-sided this class is.

HISTORY 59S: The Digital Historian’s Toolkit: Studying the West in an Age of Big Data
From my quick read of the course-description,  it seems like this class involves old documents, scanners, and many a rubber glove. That said, if you like seeing history immortalized and like to wonder “what did they think back then?” and “how did that really happen?” then this is the class for you.

EDUC 116N: Howard Zinn’s ‘A People’s History’ and the Quest for Historical Truth
If you’re reading this section, theres a decent chance that you identify yourself as a history buff. Howard Zinn was the guru/godfather/mack-daddy of all American history buffs. Student, meet the ultimate teacher.

HISTORY 308D: Pre-Modern Warfare
I’m not exactly sure at what point/what contraptions fall under the heading of “Modern Warfare”, but if you’re telling me that I get to take a class on how to use the history of ninja stars, crossbows, catapults, and broadswords, then SIGN. ME. UP.

CLASSGEN 103: The Greek Invention of Mathematics
My sole incentive for taking this class would be figuring out exactly which Greek mathematician to fantasize about brutally torturing  whilst in the middle of my Math 52 midterm.

 

the patriot

Coming Soon: Muppets take 'Merica.

CSRE 51K: Election 2012

I should really, REALLY take this class. Seriously, because – besides Obama – I’m not really sure who’s actually still in the race.

COMM 162: Campaigns, Voting, Media, and Elections 
See above comment.

COMM 164: The Psychology of Communication About Politics in America 
I’d like to think that, to the individuals who plan to lead my country and allegedly have my best interest at heart, I am more than just a number and that my opinions and behaviors are more than just statistics.

ECON 18: The Washington Debate About American Competitiveness
If I take this class, will I get a job?

PUBLPOL 170: Political Corruption
It’s not cheating if you don’t get caught.

PUBLPOL 154: Politics and Policy in California
Let’s hope that by the time this class is over, Michael Tubbs will have a place in its curriculum.

ECON 25N: Public Policy and Personal Finance
Something about tax-brackets… maybe. I expect to see a lot of pitchforks and raised fists.

HUMBIO 120: Health Care in America: An Introduction to U.S. Health Policy
Obamacare. And other stuff. Probably.

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Spring into Spring with the 2012 Course Guide

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Think you know all the ins and outs of spring’s awesome courses?

Story. Of. My. Life.

Ha. Think again. Here, for your pleasure, I have painstakingly compiled a list of the hands-down most awesome, useful, compelling, frightening, GER-fulfilling, enjoyable classes you could ever imagine. Remember  before Chem 31, Math 51, and IHUM… back when you applied to Stanford? Remember how you raved about how excited you were for the “engaging classes”? After reading this article, you’re going to realize you weren’t just saying that. Stanford is killing it next quarter in terms of super-interesting classes, and you have the opportunity to get in on the action. I know Camp Stanford is tempting, but after reading this article, you might actually want to bulk up your course load with some of these. And, speaking of Camp Stanford, the categories are…

Camp Stanford: Whether you’re trying to recover from the carnage of your winter course load or just getting a jump-start on summer laziness/craziness, here are the best classes to keep the thoughts of warm breezes and fun-in-the-sun swirling in your head until June…

  • EARTHSYS 180B: Principles and Practices of Sustainable Agriculture: A course that lets “The Farm” live up to its name. Get outside and onto Stanford’s community farm and others in the area. Enjoy the sun on your neck and a little dirt on your nose. (3-4 units, multiple times)
  • ATHLETIC 80: Lifeguard Training: Didn’t snag the Google internship you wanted? No sweat. Speaking from personal experience, I can attest that lifeguarding is a solid career choice for those  looking to dip their toes in the real world. Make decent cash, get the tan of your life (and hopefully not melanoma… sunblock, guys!) and know that you can save a life if need be.  (2 units, T/Th 12-2, fee)

    Once upon a time...

  • ATHLETIC 51: Beginning Golf: If you were able to make it into this class, I commend you with my highest honors. (1 unit, multiple times, fee)
  • ATHLETIC 320: Backpacking: You might have given up Stanford Sierra Camp to work for a start-up, but maybe this class can scratch your outdoorsy itch before you sell your soul for equity. (1 unit, M 7-9:30) (more…)

Out of My Element: Thoughts on the Chemistry 31 Series

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

The closest I'll come to Chemistry this year: stumbling for chemcat memes...

Oh, Stanford. I could write odes about the many, many, MANY things about you that I adore: the fact that it is December and a clear, breezy, perfect 74 degrees outside, the smell of eucalyptus wafting through campus, free laundry machines, the Nutella waffles at Coupa, the Bender room, the visual orgasm that is the quad and the oval, oh… and the beyond enviable world-class education that I am receiving and the oodles upon oodles of mind-blowing opportunities that gush out of the pipeline of resources that this university affords us. Don’t get me wrong. I am high on Stanford. I still wake up every morning feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. I still bike through campus and marvel about how I stumbled into this incomparable place. I still wonder how on earth I could have survived without Ike’s. And I’m not usually one to complain. But I do have one teensy, eentsy question that baffles and frustrates me about the Farm: why is the Chem 31 series only offered in the Fall quarter?!

Admitedly, it’s probably my fault. I’m sure that the “Approaching Stanford” materials mentioned how, if you’re interested in bio/premed you should consider signing up for the series. But for those of us (I’m sure I’m not alone) who weren’t 100% sure the minute we set foot on campus that the bio/premed route was our intended path and consequentially didn’t submit ourselves to Chem 31A/B/X right out of the gun… well, it seems we are a little bit screwed.

Maybe I am a little neurotic, or confused, or needlessly freaking out. Perhaps there is an obvious solution that flew over my head before or after I realized my dilemma. But it just seems pretty absurd to me that if you don’t take chem in autumn quarter of your freshman year, there is very little you can do to catch up with everyone else. Yes, you can take it in the summer. I get that. But for people who don’t want to or can’t pay for summer classes… they’re in a bit of a pickle. I guess it simply amazes me that the primary prerequisite for the core of one of Stanford’s most popular majors is only offered the first quarter of the main academic year. I’m sorry, but this seems like no-brainer. I’m fairly confident that there would be a large group of students interested in taking either the 31 A/B or 31X track starting in the winter, thus still allowing them to enroll in the bio core, or higher level chemistry classes for a premed track in the beginning of their sophomore year.

Again, I realize the importance of being organized, of putting considerate thought into your academic plan before arriving at Stanford. But people are human. People change their minds. People are unsure. For those of us who have epiphanies later in the game and don’t realize that that they want to do the bio thing until say, week four of their freshman year – should we be penalized for our realizations or changes in heart? Doesn’t Stanford encourage exploration in different areas of study during the freshman year? Isn’t that one of the main reasons we have GER’s? Isn’t that one of the reasons we don’t declare until the end of sophomore year? I simply think that this is one issue that Stanford didn’t exactly think through. And if Stanford doesn’t want to add additional quarters where this class could be offered, the university could make it loudly, explicitly, and repeatedly clear that if freshman have even the SLIGHTEST interest in maybe, possibly, conceivably studying bio or going premed that they should SERIOUSLY and ABSOLUTELY consider signing up for Chem 31 or, if nothing else, take a placement test. And – AGAIN – perhaps the university does, and it’s 100% possible that I missed it. But for those of us who need a little extra use of bold, underlined, and indented fonts and reiterated messages to hear a message, it would be abundantly helpful.

I’m hopeful that there is considerate reasoning for the rather inconvenient organization of this series. But at this moment in time, I don’t get it. It frustrates me, and it is going to be one of my more demanding scheduling issues in the future. For the sake of future frosh, I simply hope this can be resolved in a better way.

 

Why College?

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Have you thought carefully about why you’re in college? Can you articulate what you want to get out of these four years? Now is an especially good time to ask these questions, because William Deresiewicz, author of a popular article on The Disadvantages of an Elite Education, will be speaking at Stanford this Tuesday, April 12th. While his thought-provoking article has a fuzzie slant, most students will see some truth in Deresiewicz’s critique of universities like Stanford.

In the meantime, if you feel like you sometimes struggle to reach your potential as a student, take a look at Cal Newport’s blog Study Hacks. Newport advocates the radical notion of a college experience centered around simplicity, and is also the author of two student advice books. In stark contrast to the mindset that academic success = more units + less sleep, he suggests taking fewer classes, performing outstandingly in them, taking on original projects that set you apart, and many other ideas. Some of the blog’s suggestions are probably best ignored, but overall it offers a ton of helpful and unique advice about college. (more…)

The Ponderings of an Optimist

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Remember free time?

Yeah those were the days.

The days before I went to bed at 1 am and woke up at 7:30 to finish homework.  The days before I spent about an hour and a half just walking around campus to all the places I went.  The days before I had three midterms within a week and a half of each other and I skipped meals just to study or finish homework.  The days before I gained stress-weight all the time.

I spent a lot of time today remembering those days.  They were good to me.  I can almost remember the way it felt to sit in one spot for so long that my butt actually hurt.  The way it felt to spend more than 15 minutes a day with any of my friends.
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TUSB 2011 Winter Course Guide: spice up your courseload!

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Stanford: land of sunshine-y studying all year round

It’s that time of year again!  Not sure what winter classes to take?  No worries; check out TUSB’s course primer.  Whether you’re looking to satisfy a GER, find profound inspiration, or just take a fun class for kicks, we’ve got you covered.

If there’s anything we missed, don’t hesitate to mention it in the comments – we appreciate your feedback.  Additionally, you can check out past years’ course guides hereEnjoy!

Shake Your Groove Thing:  what better way to shake off the winter doldrums (literally) than with some fun dance classes?  Here’s a small sampling of the Dance Department’s awesome offerings.

  • Dance 30Chocolate Heads – contemporary dance from around the world
  • Dance 106African Styles on Stage – inspiration from the African diaspora
  • Dance 138Liquid Flow – “design and engineering through a tactile, kinetic and kinesthetic lens”
  • Dance 147Living Traditions of Swing – taught by the one, the only Richard Powers himself

Out of This World:  all the classes that remind me of Star Trek

  • To boldly split infinitives where no man has split infinitives before!

    Humbio 183Astrobiology and Space Exploration – life on earth and possibly elsewhere, NASA astronauts give guest lectures

  • AA 236BSpacecraft Design Lab – emphasis on practical applications, design, and launching
  • History 6NUtopia: History of Nowhere Land – focusing on Utopian literature of the early modern period
  • CHEM 27NLasers: The Light Fantasticset phasers to stun!

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Rank THIS. Students Let Their Opinions Be Known.

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

If you are like me (and for your sake, I pray you’re not), you can recall eagerly counting down the days until the Stanford Course Bulletin came out, pouring over course reviews and old course syllabi, even concocting multiple four year plans and/or spreadsheets of your proposed schedule for the quarter, complete with an elaborate color-coding system to distinguish which classes fulfill which requirement (shhh…it’s okay.  I can stop anytime I want…)

But even if you aren’t hyper-obsessed with course planning, you’ve probably stumbled at least once onto the website Courserank.  In this cyperspace Mecca, students can develop their course schedules, track grades, and – true to its name – rank courses.  So in order to give some legitimacy to the copious amount of hours I spend perusing Courserank, I’ve decided to provide you all with some of my favorite reviews from over the years.  Some of you may be offended, some entertained, some bored, some wondering if I’ve discussed this addiction with my therapist (I have, to answer your question), but if nothing else, maybe you’ll discover a gem of class that will change your life and open your eyes.

…But I wouldn’t bank on it.

BIO 44X

“I mean, how hard is it to pipet something into a test tube?”

ENGLISH 90

“Simply put, Tom Kealey is a straight up gangster”

IHUM 48

“IHUM sucks.
This one sucks less than others.”

BIO 150

“The Good: robert sapolsky, the fact that they taped the videos, robert sapolsky’s notes, robert sapolsky’s beard”

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How Much is Too Much?

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Since its inception spring quarter has been synonymous with the re-emergence of the sun, warm weather, and most importantly, the time to make up for the lack of fun had during winter quarter.  Yet for some incomprehensible reason, the Stanford University administration still deems it necessary that classes take place during this festive time of year.  Often during the dreary months of winter quarter, all students have to hold too is the dream of having a spring quarter with 12, maybe 13 units max.  One filled with hours spent lying lazily in the sun on Wilbur field, or sleeping until 2 pm on class-less Fridays.  Thirsty Tuesday becomes the new Thirsty Thursday and weekends are spent in the off-campus beyond the bubble since no real work would be due the following Monday.  In theory, spring quarter is supposed to be one of stress-free bliss, a relaxing end to a very demanding year.

Ask any student how many units one should take during spring quarter and they automatically respond 12.  However, when you ask the same student how many units they have, most mumble something about having 17, 18, sometimes 20 units.  Having experienced this firsthand, I’m still left wondering how does this happen? Is the fault of an overachieving student? Are professors trying to make students suffer by only teaching that one awesome course at not other point in the year but spring (Happiness for example)? Or is Stanford to blame for demanding students to take such inane courses as PWR or anything that’s considered a GER?

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