Unless you have a burning passion for archaeology and objects and history and their relationship, DO NOT take this course. If you think this course will be a good opportunity to learn about Chinese history and hear interesting stories about Chinese history, also DO NOT take this course.
To my understanding, FYS is supposed to help students understand how seminars work, encourage students to discuss, and guide students in academic writing. Well, in our discussions, nobody spoke, so I'm still not quite sure how seminars work. And it wasn't because we didn't want to discuss. More often than not, Professor Guo posed long and winding questions and when we asked for clarifications, we remained equally as confused. Other times, when a brave soul would answer, Professor Guo would interrupt the student and then go off on a 5-minute rant about why the student was wrong.
For our writing assignments, Professor Guo offered little in terms of guidelines. She gave us a very vague 3-4 sentences of expectations, then was disappointed when we failed to meet said vague expectations. No exemplars were provided except for her own publications. She didn't offer 1-on-1 meetings to discuss first drafts and only gave 5-minute audio recordings of her comments 1-2 days before the deadline of the final draft. Overall, quite disorganized.
Then, during our very last class session, she lets us know that we have a final individualized project due. We had just finished doing class presentations and thought these were the final projects, but no she changed her mind. So we had to do a creative project during finals week with no guidelines whatsoever.
I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and say perhaps she didn't quite understand the gist of a FYS and will probably be more organized in future years. But the content was very history/theory-heavy at first, with a lot of confusing readings. Only the second half of the class was about Chinese history, which would have been quite interesting had I not been utterly bamboozled by the first half.