On Dreams and Nightmares

May 2019

BEST CLASS I HAVE EVER TAKEN!!! The material covered in readings and discussions is always fascinating, the readings are a bit long and dense though. But totally worth the amazing class discussions. Essentially this class felt like the equivalent of watching a mind blowing movie or Black Mirror episode and then getting to discuss it and go off on super interesting tangents with an entire group of smart and interesting people, every single class. Sometimes this actually means watching movies like Inception and The Matrix. My only criticism is that I don't think Professor Morris' feedback on essays was helpful at all. I really enjoyed writing my first draft every time because the material was really cool to write about, however always dreaded the revision in which you have to make edits according to her arbitrary preferences. By the end of this class you have a ton of knowledge on alternate states of consciousness and if you're into questioning reality and all that cool stuff you will have endless questions and thoughts and love this. Also a super cool thing that happened was that I would start having vivid dreams that relating to dreaming patterns we had learned about. People constantly brought up visions, religious experiences, psychotic experiences, drug trips etc that related and it was all mind-blowing.

Apr 2017

Ellen is one of the most wonderful professors I have met so far at Barnard. Taking this class during my first semester of college was a fantastic decision to make, since Ellen is incredibly encouraging, so participating in class discussions was never daunting (unlike some of the other classes I have since taken). She sometimes directs the conversation to certain people if they haven't said anything yet but is never too pushy, and also told us at the beginning of the semester that if we found it difficult to speak in class to talk to her privately so that she can work with us individually and perhaps make some accommodations for our participation grade. Additionally, her anecdotes can be really funny, and she brings a really positive vibe to the classroom. Some readings can be incredibly long and heavy, as another review mentioned, but as long as you read enough of it to make some insightful comments in class and pay attention to the discussion, you should be fine. During one-on-one meetings, Ellen was always very helpful and made very specific suggested improvements, which certainly helped me to improve the quality of my papers and writing in general. I highly recommend this class!

Mar 2017

I absolutely loved this class! Ellen is so kind and knowledgeable, and she has a genuine interest in the subject matter. She does a great job of choosing a variety of materials in order to engage everyone in the class. The topics covered span from psychology and neuroscience to literature and film, so the class was able to touch on everyone's strengths. Ellen is a very fair grader and always gives great, straightforward feedback. She facilitates interesting discussions in class, and people were eager to participate. Attending this class was an absolute joy. Ellen also really cares about her students and their lives outside of class, and gave a couple of paper extensions during stressful parts of the semester. She is a fantastic woman. Long story short: take this class!! It has been my favorite class here so far! Highlights from the course: discussing Inception, psychoanalysis à la Freud, looking at a dream bank containing written accounts of real people's dreams, a trip to see a dream-related art exhibit at the Whitney.

Jan 2017

I found this course pretty manageable even though I did have two stem classes: calc III and physics I at the same time. It is probably recommended that you have some interest in psychology focusing on dreams of course, to get you through the class as some of the readings are very very long and dry. I will say though, that there are a few hidden gems in the assigned readings that really inspired me and had me researching topics we discussed in class on my own time. My impression of the class's general attitude by the end was that there were a few people who thought the professor had favorites and felt they were being viewed negatively, while another few kids got positive attention in class and were encouraged to speak up more. That was one thing that seemed odd to me. Anyways, I got a lot out of this course and it truly built up my confidence in sharing my own ideas, as there are few wrong "ideas" you can share in this class. It rarely felt like just a writing class. It felt like an exploration of one's own philosophy and the "what is life" question was brought up many times.

Sep 2016

I took Professor Morris' Dreams and Nightmares class and while Professor Morris is very sweet and her class is filled with discussion, it is still really difficult to stay engaged in the topic. The readings are very boring and long and her nightly blog posts are the death of me. I recommend you only take this course if you are planning on majoring in something neurologically related such as psych or are pre-med.