Major In Focus: French

Major In Focus: French

Haw, haw, haw, baguette, non?

In the past two weeks, I have covered my majors in Creative Writing and Multimedia and Digital Culture. My third and final major is in French. Except that it isn't, exactly. UPJ doesn't have a bona fide French major, but it does have a Broad Humanities degree with a Foreign Language and Literature track, which can then have a nested French or Spanish track. Both language tracks are displayed on the curriculum sheet here.

Because this major is a Broad Humanities major, it requires 24 credits in the Humanities outside of the French courses taken for the major. As I should be graduating with over 110 credits in the Humanities in total, that won't be a problem for me. I already have that requirement finished. The most likely downfall for this "Related Area" is that if you're like a classmate of mine and have a second major in a Natural Science, it could take up all the electives you have to your name.

Each of this major's tracks have just two boxes on the curriculum sheet besides Gen Eds and the "Related Area" of Humanities courses. As a French tracker, I have no choices in the top box. My placement exam from French, which I took the spring before my first semester at UPJ, got me out of Elementary French I and Elementary French II, so I started out in Intermediate French I, the lowest-level course in the French major. I have also taken Intermediate French II and French Conversation up to this point. The Intermediate courses are about learning the more-sophisticated fundamentals of the language. French Conversation focused on how French appears in day-to-day life. Speaking was emphasized over writing, and slang was introduced. Written French I and Business French should help to round out my French language skills.

I'll be taking my first "Literature & Civilization" course in the fall. That class is Intro to Translation Studies. Hopefully, the course will help me to solidify my French grammar while also exposing me to some new pieces of French literature. I took Medieval French Courtly Romance my very first semester at UPJ, but I took it in English, and, despite how it looks on the curriculum sheet, my credits from that class shouldn't count for my major. By "took it in English," I mean that I wrote my exam essays and such in English rather than in French. To have taken the course in French, I would've needed to have taken Intermediate French II, as is the case for any French course on this sheet besides Intermediate French I. I'll need four more courses from this box during my last three semesters of undergraduate schooling. It should be an interesting journey.

If you're a UPJ student with a major in the Humanities and you took French in high school, I urge you to consider adding a major in French to your program of studies. If you test out of the Elementary French courses, you'll need to take either Intermediate I and Intermediate II or three Literature-in-Translation courses in order to get your other major (because of the Gen Ed language requirement for Humanities students), so it'll only take an extra eight courses to get your French major. Alternatively, you could enroll in four more French courses and get a minor. There's fun to be had with either option. There are only a handful of students in our French program, but we're cool, and we'd love to have some new faces in our courses as we finish up. À bientôt!

Cover Image Credit: Max Pixel

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What It's Like To Take A Class With Professor Yuri Urbanovich

My experience taking a class with one of the best professors at UVA.

I have taken multiple classes with Professor Urbanovich during my time at UVA, and he is one of my favorite professors. Not only does he genuinely care about his students, but he also pushes them to learn more than humanly possible in the span of 50 minutes.

Seriously, I have learned more in his classes about Russian history and politics than I could have ever imagined. Professor Urbanovich’s thick Georgian accent and recalls of personal experiences also make his classes more personal, allowing students to understand the nation’s history and politics on a completely different level.

No wonder his classes fill up in a matter of hours when course registration begins!

The best part of Professor Urbanovich’s class is the many repeated quotes that one can uncover during his lectures. I am currently taking a J-term course with Professor Urbanovich and I have noticed that he says some things a lot throughout the course of his lectures, which makes them that much more interesting and fun.

If you’re interested in taking a course with Professor Urbanovich, which I highly recommend, be aware of the fact that Urbanovich will say the following things a lot.

1. My friends...

Professor Urbanovich does not refer to his students as “you guys” or “ my students,” but rather “my friends.” He often starts his lectures with “my friends,” making the class more intimate and welcoming. He welcomes various thoughts and opinions and treats his students in a way that makes it seem like you really are friends with the professor.

I have only taken two classes with him, but he always remembers who I am (a rare occurrence at a large university).

2. It is inconceivable

Professor Urbanovich often says that certain events or occurrences are “inconceivable”, and when he does, you know that the even matters a lot in terms of Russian history. It’s sort of like a marker for the things you should absolutely remember after any given lecture.

Earlier this week, one of his students quoted Urbanovich’s “inconceivable” phrase during a presentation, and the entire class, including the professor, started laughing. It just goes to show how welcoming and fun his classes can be.

3. I mean, can you imagine...

This is something along the lines of “inconceivable”, but it happens on rare occasions, usually when Professor Urbanovich is comparing the US to Russia and explaining how various events that occur in Russia would not be welcomed in the US or any other nation.

For example, the Pussy Riot fiasco that occurred in Russia was a stab at the religious values present in Russia, but we idolize it in the US. If something like this had happened in Israel or any other nation with strong religious values, we would most likely look at it in a different light. I mean, can you imagine…

4. I am so proud of you

Professor Urbanovich values education over number grades, often telling students that he is extremely proud of the work they’ve done and that they will go far in life. He does give exams, homework responses, and various projects, as any professor would, but he often makes students feel accomplished and successful after the completion of any assignment.

His comments on most essays are very constructive and provide guidance toward the development of better writing skills and the creation of more ambitious future projects.

5. Don't throw potatoes at my head

On the first day of my J-Term class, Professor Urbanovich compared our class to a large group of protestors as a joke, saying that we shouldn’t throw potatoes at his head if we did not agree with one of his statements.

Throughout the course of the past two weeks, he has repeated this phrase several times, especially during lectures that might have sparked opposition among students. Professor Urbanovich says this in a joking way of course, and it makes the class seem less intense than it is, almost as if we were not learning 1000+ years of Russian history in the span of 10 days.

Cover Image Credit: UVA

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21 Things To Do On Your 21st Birthday

You’re officially legal! It’s time to celebrate!

You’ve been waiting for this day for, well, 21 years! It’s one of the biggest milestone birthdays there is to look forward to. You probably never thought you’d make it to this point, but now that the day is here, there’s so much to do!

1. Drink!

2. Go out to dinner.

3. Go to the Casino.

4. Go on a winery tour.

5. Drink!

6. See a movie.


7. Drink!

8. Eat wine-flavored ice-cream!

9. Buy something for yourself.


10. Scratch lottery tickets.

11. Drink!

12. Go bowling.


13. Throw a party.

14. Go on a cruise.

15. Drink!


16. Dance.

17. Drink!

18. Go to a club with friends!


19. Celebrate with family.

20. Open presents.

21. Drink!

You’ve waited 21 years to legally have your first sip of alcohol, whether it be wine, beer or some fruity cocktail. The moral of this is it’s time to drink, so indulge yourself.

But drink responsibly!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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