Tips for Success in Humanities

Former Humanities students were asked, “Now that you are almost done with the Humanities sequence, what is one piece of advice you could offer to future students?” What follows are these words of advice. 


“I wish I would have looked upon Hum not as a daunting, time-consuming requirement, but as I see it now-a great break from the sciences that really provides insight into our nature and society. I would utilize TA office hours more, even just to chat it up, because they are so helpful and interesting” --JC (Human Biology)

“Enjoy it.” --LN (Pharm Chem)

“Talk to your TA’s! They are amazing sources of help! Speak your mind in section! It will cause you to think in-depth about topics taught in lecture.” --MY (Physiology/Neuroscience)

“Be open to ideas and views on humanity from other cultures and background.” --CL (International Studies)

“Read books before going to class. Don't wait ‘til the last day to do your papers!! Hum gets better.” --DC (Archaeology)

“Definitely highlight important quotes or pieces of information in the texts you go over.” --DF (Biochemistry)

“I wish I had known that there is NO right answer. Don't look for the right answer, and come up with your own.” --RT (Physiology/Neuroscience)

“READ, READ, READ! And, find your own perspective on the material, not just the professor’s.” --HB (Physics)

“Do all the readings and try to make connections to your own life.” --RM (General Biology/International Studies)

“Always talk to your TA’s and know their expectations for the essays. Make use of their office hours and email.” --SY (Computer Science)

“Read with attention to theme. Make clear, specific connections in essays.” --GT (Human Biology)

“Understand what you are reading and the significance of the message.” --AC (Human Biology)

“It does end! Stay positive and open-minded.” --AF (Human Biology)

“Hum courses really do build on each other and there is more to hum than just the writing. Come with an open mind. Really try to apply what you learn and read into our lives to understand where we are and who we are as humans (if these questions can even be answered).” --CD (Human Biology)

“Take notes even if it seems insignificant. I wish I could have spoken more about ideas or what is being talked about.” --CB (Linguistics)

“Don't be scared of Humanities. It’s really not that bad. If you've got an open mind, it is actually enjoyable” --DC (Chemical Engineering)

“Don't just read and regurgitate what you've learned. Think about what is meaningful about the texts-what they say about our world and how they can be applied to your beliefs, philosophies, etc.”  --JH (Human Biology)

“Find something specific to write about and have fun with it. Also, enjoy the books you read and read thoroughly!” --JM (Communications)

“Read between the lines; look at tone, meanings, and the society each writer lived in.” --DL (Psychology)

“Do the readings. It is difficult but worth it. I waited to take Hum 3, 4, and 5 as a senior. I had more time to complete the course and I realized the amazing pieces of work we read and I really appreciated what I learned.” --KZ (Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution)

“Record lectures so you can get things you missed the first time.” --BC  (Aerospace Engineering)

“It’s not as scary as people make it seem.  It changes your outlook on life and gives you a much better understanding of the world. It is interesting, not all about essays.” --AE (Physiology and Neuroscience)

“Soak it all in because this is your dream class whether you knew it or not!” --VD (Cognitive Science)

“Going to TA office hours is important. The TA’s are interesting people who can have an impact on your own studies.” --NT (History/Political Science)

“I wish I would have been more excited to read because I only know now the value of the entire Hum sequence. Humanities is more than just a literature class; it shows you the power of the western world and what it has transformed into today.” --MV (Political Science)

“Take all your Hum classes at UCSD. It’s worth it.” --JL (International Studies)

“Really think about the course. You can learn much more about yourself. It was always enjoyable.” --ND (Physiology and Neuroscience)

“Understand that Hum is meant to better your understanding of society and history and that it is not just a waste of time.” --LE (Psychology)

“Read the books and participate in discussion. It is not enough to simply go through the motion” --AG (Bioengineering: Biotechnology)

“Summarize the main points/themes/ideas of the readings as you go so you don't have to do so for the final.” --JD (Cognitive Science)

“Ask more questions, stay on top of the readings, and look beneath the surface.” --ML (Human Biology)

“Make sure you take advice and comments from prior essays and use it to improve your future essays” --JK (Biochemistry)

“Focus on the bigger pictures – not the small details.” --CK (Art History)

“Read the books and don't be afraid to challenge the majority’s view of a topic.” --CF (Biochemistry)

“Be open to learning and reading even though you might not want to, because it will make you think and grow.” --TH (Biology)

“Write the essays before the day they are due so you can edit.” --ML (Cognitive Science)

“Plan your essay. Get twice as many quotes as you'll need just to have options. Go to TA office hours, especially when essays are coming up.” --DC (Environmental Systems)

“Read, Read, Read!!! Think and question everything.” --TL (Biochemistry)

“Enjoy it because it’s a nice break from science classes all day long.” --CR (Biochemistry)

“Do the reading! But don't just read, actively read! There’s always something to learn. Let your ideas be challenged, but also challenge the authors. The point is to think. There’s no right or wrong answer.”  --KC (Cognitive Science)

“I wish I had had better time management and essay planning skills. I would have procrastinated less. Read all the texts and ask questions in class and section.” --FC (Human Biology)

“Don't be shy to talk with the TA’s. They are very helpful in critiquing your thesis and help organize your ideas.” --TC (Molecular Biology)

Thank you to Mr. Brian Yum for obtaining these quotes for us!