The best GEs to take for winter quarter

by Veronika Znam

No matter which way you slice it, winter quarter is guaranteed to be the worst of the three quarters. Students tend to load up on classes in winter quarter, leading to a stressful 10 weeks. In order to lessen the stress, pad your study list with some of these fun GEs!

Geography 5

4.8/5 on Bruinwalk

I took this class when it was offered in fall quarter of 2022. Even though it was my fourth class and I was hesitant to enroll, I’m glad I took it. Professor Thomas Gillespie is very energetic and engaging. He likes to interact with students during lectures in a warm and friendly way, conducting hand-raising polls and joking around with those sitting in the front row.

Janet Nguyen, a fourth-year student who is double majoring in business economics and communications, agrees. Nguyen said, “Geog 5 is an amazing class to take, especially with professor Gillespie who is to this day, one of the funniest, most engaging profs I’ve had.”

Professor Gillespie also lectures on interesting and applicable topics, from global warming to natural habitats in California. Because of this, the class feels very relevant and you will find yourself applying your native California plant knowledge on your next hike.

The labs for this class are also liberal-arts-major friendly. They consist of visits to the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, visits to Sage Hill and population studies conducted in the classroom. The homework and assignments for this class are also minimal, meaning it is not a large time burden.

I had a really positive experience in this class and am constantly telling my friends to take it. The exams are fair and the study guides professor Gillespie provides are helpful. Taking this class is a great way to boost your GPA and bring some light to your cloudy winter quarter!

Political Science 20

4.9/5 on Bruinwalk

Political Science 20 is a great foundation for anyone who wants to feel more literate in international politics. The class provides a great lens for understanding the news and why international conflict occurs.

John Ho, a second-year student majoring in public affairs, said, “By far my favorite easy GE class, no midterm or finals but just writing assignments. This class was able to teach me a lot about world politics and international relations.”

I took this class online during winter quarter of 2022 with professor David Wilkinson and learned a lot. It is now being taught by professor Eric Min, who is a great professor. I’ve taken two classes with him and feel he is a really fair instructor. He cares about his students and is approachable. His slides are always really well made and his classes are informative.

Though I am unsure of how professor Min organizes the class now, when I took it we had a final paper and weekly reflections, which felt like a balanced workload. The final paper was also pretty open-ended, which allowed everyone to explore what they found most interesting in the class. I’m sure professor Min is doing a great job since his reviews for the class are very high!

Sociology 1

4.5/5 on Bruinwalk

Don’t want to leave your dorm in the cold winter months? Taking Sociology 1 asynchronously might be a good option for you. When I took it in fall quarter of 2021 with professor Andrés Villarreal, we had discussions in person, but it seems those are online now as well.

The class content was interesting and didn’t move too quickly. The readings were also limited to the textbook, which was easy to understand and not very time-consuming to sift through. For anyone who hasn’t taken a sociology course before, this is a great way to understand societal structures better.

Jacob Nanquil, a third-year student double majoring in psychology and geography & environmental studies, said, “Sociology 1 with professor Villarreal was an extremely low-commitment and low-difficulty GE that consisted of a midterm, final and a short research paper — all based on easy-to-grasp or even self-explanatory sociological concepts. Our TAs went on strike halfway through the course, but the effect was null because taking notes on the lecture slides and textbook chapter glossaries are all one must do to succeed.”

Though Nanquil and I didn’t take the class with professor Jessica Collett, who is teaching it now, her Bruinwalk reviews are very positive. Students mention her telling interesting anecdotes and being knowledgeable about the course content.

The BruinLife staff wishes everyone a successful enrollment and we hope you can snag a spot in one of these great classes!

You may also like