How Sadomasochistic Are You? (Hardest Classes This Semester)

Posted by: Avinash on Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Hey tough guy. So taking 25 units with research wasn’t backbreaking enough for you? Do you just really want a kick in the ass? Want to feel the cold boot of academia squash you into the ground until you’re nothing but bones and meat? Believed you’ve had it too easy as a kid, and can’t find a dominatrix around? Well, what’s on this list will definitely present you with an adequate challenge.

Welcome to UC Berkeley Boot Camp 101. These teachers will make you beg for mercy. You think you know pain? You don’t even know. You have been warned. (Textbooks for class listed under the profs).

Christine Palmer, American Studies 10, Intro to American Studies
America Is in the Heart: A Personal History (Washington Paperbacks, Wp-68)Kindred (Bluestreak  Black Women Writers)Thomas Jefferson: Author of America (Eminent Lives)To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Pernnial Moderns Classics)Kingdom ComeAmish Children,
& American Studies 101, Examining U.S. Cultures in Time
The Martian Chronicles (The Grand Master Editions)Parable of the SowerWhite Noise (Contemporary American Fiction)Barefoot Gen Volume One: A Cartoon Story of HiroshimaThe Nuclear AgeI, The Jury (The Best Mysteries of All Time)Parable of the Talents
(Easiness: 2.1 out of 5): “I actually drug myself out of bed to walk a mile into the basement of the library at 8am twice a week my last semester at Cal because her class was just that good. Grading is tough but fair and reading was always interesting…midterm was difficult, and the Final was extremely difficult (plan on being able to synthesize from very obscure prompts for the essay questions.”

Clayton J. Radke, ChemE 140, Intro to Chemical Process Analysis
Basic Principles and Calculations in Chemical Engineering, Seventh Edition
(2.1 out of 5): “Tests are incredibly hard though. The mean score for every midterm we took was below 50%…have to go to OH almost every week…Homework took 10 hours and the entire semester I had no clue what was going on.”

Michael Meighan, Bio 1AL, General Biology Lab
(1.5 out of 5): “Makes tests that are “challenging” for him, having taught for 18 yrs, and impossible for students…the people who have particularly good memories and have a strong background–they thrive. Unless you have a background from high school of basic anatomy, you’ll be lost becuase there is no focus….this class really took too much time, pretty much ruined my time for studying the Bio 1A Lec itself.”

Oliver O’Reilly, Mech Engineering 104, Engineering Mechanics II &
Engineering Dynamics: A PrimerEngineering Mechanics: Dynamics (Engineering Mechanics)
Mech Engineering 175, Intermediate Dynamics
(1.7 out of 5)
“An amazing professor. Always genuinely interested in teaching, and always available for help…class is very mathematically oriented. Make sure to brush up on knowledge about vectors before you take his class. The homeworks are really really difficult but are possible.”

Francisco Armero, Civil Engineering 130, Mechanics of Materials I
Engineering Mechanics of Solids (2nd Edition)
(1.8 out of 5): “I could do all the homework, and try at it for hours and still get zeros on the assignments, it was very discouraging…His teaching did not at all align to the book and so there was nothing to cross reference…1st exam was moderate, 2nd was difficult, final was next to impossible. Too bad final is 50% of the grade.”

Gregory La Blanc, UBA 137, Financial Strategy
(1.8 out of 5): “He’s pretty nice with the curve. Work hard and you’ll be rewarded…Lots of homework, deep thinking, time-consuming case studies. Nice lecture pace;professional…Great professor, great class, lots of work, but in the end you will walk away thinking like a finance nut!”

John Macfarlane, Philosophy 25A, Intro to Ancient Philosophy
Aristotle: Introductory ReadingsThe Republic (Penguin Classics)Five DialoguesProtagoras and Meno (Penguin Classics)
(2.4 out of 5): “He lectures well and if you come to class and do the study questions he provides for the reading you will be set for the final. But if you dont the final will assault your loins…This class is harder than some of upper div phil classes…’Harder’ in a sense in which he intentionally grades down to make people work which only seems unfair and discouraging.”

Kathleen Frydl, History 103D, Sixties in the United States,
The Other Side of the Sixties: Young Americans for Freedom and the Rise of Conservative Politics (Perspectives on the Sixties)Lyndon Johnson and Europe: In the Shadow of VietnamThe Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960sIn Struggle : SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960sSuburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (Politics and Society in Twentieth Century America)A Rumor of WarThe Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as HistorySex in the HeartlandThe Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed AmericaThere Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights, 1945-1975King of the World: Muhammed Ali and the Rise of an American HeroNixon Reconsidered
and History 139D, Liberal Superpower
Sleepwalking Through History: America in the Reagan YearsMy Soul Is Rested: Movement Days in the Deep South RememberedEugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist (The Working Class in American History)Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great DepressionA Rumor of War
(2.2 out of 5.0): “Very fast talker. Take your laptop to take notes. Quality class might be fogged by horrible quality readers who are not at ALL right in their grading…She speaks so quickly, it is obvious that she is unconcerned with the learning process…she lectures quickly, but it’s only because she expects a lot of her students.”

Jean Ratzinger, Mass Comm 102, The Effects of the Mass Media
Big Media, Big Money: Cultural Texts and Political EconomicsOn Television
(1.9 out of 5–yeah, I’m baffled too): “The people who complain about Retzinger can’t handle the work load…Notorious for hard grading, but a great lecturer..Her classes are tough tough tough… You will definitely work hard, but in the end you will learn a LOT! I graduated in 2003 and I still spew random factoids and theories to my friends while we watch movies or tv, etc.”

Paul Hilfinger, CS 61B, Data Structures
Pragmatic Unit Testing in Java with JUnitHead First Java, 2nd Edition
(1.4 out of 5): “He does throw you into ocean and make you fend for yourself but, in the end, it worked for me…Harsh grader, with lots of impossible questions on his tests/hws/labs. he boasts about everything and puts people down… People learned to program in that class. Hardcore, but fair.”

If you have any classes that still haunt you in your sleep and on your transcript, leave them in the forums thread.

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