FYW: The Americas

Apr 2020

Linn Mehta is the sweetest woman in the entire world. She is also very helpful when giving feedback on your writing. As long as you make and effort and take her corrections, you can succeed in the class. The discussions in class can be very boring, it's true unfortunately. The readings are good (except Wasteland, that was awful), people just don't do them (this was true even before classes went online). But also, she could do a better job of getting the class engaged. I feel bad saying anything bad about her, she truly is the sweetest person ever.

Sep 2018

Alexandra Watson was easily the worst professor I've ever had at this institution. Her grading system seems like that of a native of Jupiter. She is hinderance to good writing and to the general atmosphere of the class. 10/10 do not recommend. Do everything in your power to avoid her for "The Americas".

May 2018

Here's the deal with Prof. Watson. She's incredibly sweet and helpful *if* you go to her. Go to office hours or ask her after class if you're uncertain of anything and she will do her best to talk it through with you. But you have to put in that effort. She won't take pity on you if you don't make an effort. She's a very no-nonsense sort of logical person. You can't fool her with fluffy papers, not having read the books. Watson is a recently graduated Grad student. She knows when you're BSing a paper. Do the readings and put something thoughtful down and you'll be okay. She can be considered a harsh grader, but she also curves the class extremely to ensure that people don't get C's. This makes getting an A nearly impossible, but you're pretty much guaranteed a grade between B and A-. Plus, there are a lot of extra credit opportunities. This grading scale + extra credit would be unnecessary if she were to grade a little easier, but all in all, I think she's a fair grader. I say this because she tells us exactly what she wants via a million, surprisingly helpful handouts and comments on drafts. Pay attention to these comments; they are what she's grading based on. If you're uncertain of her comments and you talk to her, she'll tell you exactly what she means. Implement whatever that is in your paper, and voila, instantly good grade. Again, it's about you paying attention and putting in a little effort. I'm not saying her class is easy. It isn't. But it is fun. There are lots of random class activities like a paragraph puzzle and watching TED talks, and the readings were very enjoyable (Jamaica Kincaid, Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich, etc). And I personally learned a lot from her as a professor. My writing has improved substantially via this class, and that's honestly the point of these first-year classes. If you're looking for an easy fluff FYW, Watson isn't your best choice. BUT if you want to learn and enjoy literature, she's a really good professor to have. I feel much more confident as a writer after this class.