Here is anonymous advice from former students about how to do well in this course.

To start, take this course seriously.  To "do well" in many of the "required for major" classes, it may not be necessary to read before class, attend class, etc.  This is not one of those courses -- granted, it really shouldn't be.  Always do the readings.  Read with a pen or pencil in hand and search for authors' assumptions as you read.  At the beginning of the semester, I saved all of the course readings to a flash drive, went to The Copy Shop, and had a "book" of the readings made.  I struggle with reading efficiently on the computer, so, this made all the difference for me.  

Always attend class.  It will not be worth it to miss.  Lectures are always interesting and hearing the information firsthand makes understanding theories much easier.  

Participate in lecture AND in discussion -- it helps you and other students stay engaged and understand the concepts, and, it can't hurt to show Prof. Alexy and/or your TA that you're trying; participating in lecture and discussion can only help.  

Rewrite your weekly writing assignments.  Even if your grade doesn't improve ten-fold, it helps a lot to revisit past theorists/theories, to take seriously the professor and/or TA comments on your assignments, and to expand on previous work.  

Check out the New York Times homepage -- at least before the first lecture of every week.  Extra credit quiz points can help make up for those quizzes you accidentally bomb (happens to the best of us)!  

Last but not least, keep your head up!  


Future students of 3010:
I found it really helpful, when reading really dense material (Hegel) to first try and read it, then wikipedia the text to find out the gist of his/her main points, then, enlightened, go back and reread it again to figure out what he/she means without getting stuck on the jargon. This method helped me to see past, and work through, some of the harder texts. What helped me with the weekly assignments was to be prepared coming to discussion, and to ask questions relevant to what you think the assumptions underlying the text might be. Then after the discussion, go and write the paper immediately, that way it is all in your head ready to go. If I waited until Saturday morning, I found I had to remind myself of a lot of the concepts before I started writing, which inevitably took more time.


Dear Future Student,
Prepare to have your head explode with knowledge. This course is going to expand your mind, and here are a few tips from firsthand experience:
- Give yourself breaks during your reading. Sometimes you’ll be reading a lot, and it’s a lot to process. Take small breaks in between, and jot down notes. You’d be surprised how much you retain from just writing down a few things here and there.
- Take advantage of the extra credit opportunities. They’re really eye opening, plus there’s usually really tasty treats after the discussions on Fridays.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up in class. It took me awhile to gain up the confidence, but the professors want you to talk! And it’s an open, comfortable atmosphere, so don’t feel like you have to know all of the answers.
- Lastly, keep some sort of list of the authors you’ve read with works they’ve written and theories they’ve made. It will be a great reference later on in this course when you’re figuring out who influenced whom.
Get excited. This was, by far, one of my favorite courses at UVA, and I hope that you can say the same after this semester. Enjoy! 


Dear Future Anth 3010 Student,
I think that the best thing to do when taking this class is give yourself time to do the readings well. Yes, they can be really hard to understand, but try your best to understand them on your own. This will help you in lecture as well as on the daily quizzes and weekly writings. When reading, try looking for the assumptions the author is making along with their main points. Knowing these assumptions will help you understand the author better as well as give you a stronger weekly paper. I think that the readings are a key to doing well in this class, the better you understand them the better your grade. This class is heavily focused on the readings, what they mean and what you as a student are getting out of them. Failing to do the readings will just make this class very difficult for you. I am not going to say that doing all of the readings will give you an A, but understanding them will give you a better shot at one. In most classes we are tempted to skip the readings because let’s face it, most of the time they do not really matter. This is not one of those classes! Do the readings, and do them well. Do not just skim them before class, do not read them as you are falling asleep. Try to interact with the authors as you read, think about being in a conversation with them. Do not be afraid to not understand everything, but do try to understand the basic principles. If you do the readings well you will have a very good chance of excelling in this class.


Here's a few tips I came up with for taking the class:
- Before each exam, go back and make a study guide.  Write down each theorist along with his or her ideas and flaws.  Be sure to make connections between all of the writers’ theories so you’re prepared to answer the short answer questions as well as the identifications.

- Learn to write your weekly paper while you’re reading. Highlight potential assumptions in the articles you’ve read so you have something to work with.

- Always rewrite your papers.  If you make corrections, the ideas in your papers will often serve as good answers for the short answer questions on exams.  It will also help you figure out how to write
better papers in the future.

- Do the readings and jot down important points from them as you read.  If you review these before each reading quiz you’ll have no problem with them.

- Use Wikipedia. Many of the readings are incredibly difficult, but skimming over the author’s biography and ideas online will help you understand what you’re reading a little more.

- Read the front page of the New York Times.  The extra credit on the reading quizzes is well worth it.

- Time management is going to be your new best friend.  The readings can be time consuming, but not doing them will cost you.  Always look ahead to see how much you’ll need to read before the next class and then split it up.


ANTH3010 is a hard course but it is possible to do well in it. The most important thing that you can do to do well is read. Read all of the assigned articles and read them while you are paying close attention to what the theorists are saying. I found that with the more difficult readings it helped to take notes or diagram the argument. Having a firm understanding of the theories will help you on the exams because you will know the theories of each author and how they are in conversation with each other because you will learn to see the connections in their arguments and how they cite each other within their arguments. Close reading will also help on the daily reading quizzes because you will see the stories that the authors use to explain their theories.
Once you have read the material, the next best thing you can do for yourself is go to class. As I mentioned, you have a daily reading quiz and you cannot do well on the quizzes if you are not there to take them. Also the lectures really help to give context to the readings, explain why the theory is important, and in the difficult readings, the lectures will help you figure out what the theorist is arguing.


Hello Future Theorists-
My first bit of advice to you is to come to into this class with an open mind. I know you might have heard friends from the major or even other anthro professors talk about how challenging this course is. I came into the class with a very negative perception because of the horror stories I had heard, but those perceptions were definitely wrong! So basically, keep an open mind and I think you’ll find that there is a lot of really useful things to learn from 3010. Another piece of advice I have is to not make assumptions…about things you already have been exposed to. There were many theorists we covered in 3010 that I had learned about in other classes, so I naively thought I wouldn’t need to read as closely or learn anything new. That was definitely wrong! Professor Alexy approached the theorists I was familiar with from a completely different angle, so in most cases I did learn something new and I did need to read the articles just as closely. And finally, do all the readings. I know some of the readings seem really long or you might have a lot going on outside of class, but it really will hurt you if you don’t do the reading. The daily quizzes and weekly writing assignment absolutely require intimate knowledge of the theorist, therefore the reading is necessary. Additionally, by not doing the reading you are also missing out on an opportunity to participate in class and sections, and you might not realize if a particular concept is troublesome if you assume it’s confusing simply because you haven’t read yet. I really hope that you will enjoy this class- there is a lot to learn! Best of luck!
P.S. Hegel is a huge pain to read but totally worth it!! You’ll know what I mean by the end of the semester!! :)


Advice to the future students of Anthropology 3010-
First and foremost, the best advice I could give any future student is to do the reading. This course will be completely worthless and you will probably fail if you do not complete the reading for this class. The reading assignments can sometimes be intense and hard to comprehend at first, but you must completely trust that at the end it will all make sense. For me, it helped to try and see if I could take any concepts from the assigned readings and apply them to real life scenarios; it makes it easier to remember them for the test if you can incorporate this into your routine. And this is completely new on my part, this year I used a new method to studying for the exams. You can probably guess that the exams will be essays and ids so you probably already have a proven method for preparing. I started making diagrams this year for each of the major theorists and I would tape them on an empty space on the wall; so with each new theory I could start to make connections and see the how one theorist or theory may differ from another. Because I don’t know what my final grade in the course is yet, I can’t say whether or not this was entirely successful; but I did get Bs on my first two exams! Some of your roommates may trip when they see what you’re doing and get interested in what it is so it also gives you an opportunity to give someone your interpretations of the theories/theorists you learned about in class. It also lets you see how much you are actually remembering every time you add a new piece to the diagram and make more connections. But feel free to think about it in any way you want, but just be sure to seriously devote some time during the week to thinking about these theories and how they apply to everyday life. If you do this, you should have a pretty good time in 301. Good Luck and don’t forget to do the reading.


Dear Future Theorists,
Here is a little bit of advice on how to do well in Anthro Theory (its not as hard to do as you think, I promise!).  Number one piece of advice is go to class. All the lectures are really well organized and will help you understand the assigned readings (plus they are interesting). Don’t get discouraged by the difficulty of the readings, they will get better. Don’t get discouraged by the weekly reflections; its hard to grasp the concept at first but it is a really helpful way to process what you are learning. Rewrite your essays. Professor Alexy gives really helpful corrections and rewriting almost guarantees you will improve your former grade. Finally have fun! You are going to learn a lot of cool stuff that other people don’t know but is really applicable to everyday life. This class is easily the one I have pulled from the most for other classes and the one from which I share cool tidbits with my friends.


Advice to future students:
The readings are essential.  Ideally, have them done before lecture--it's the only way to have a good quiz grade.  If you can't do a thorough reading before class, at least briefly skim and then definitely have them done for discussion section.  Section is the opportunity to work through readings and prepare for the writing assignments.  I think the course is best thought of as a series of cycles.  You have new readings and new lectures (the week's material) and then a discussion section and writing assignment to think about what's been covered.  Try your best not to get behind, but if you miss one I think it's better to do the assigned reading than the one for last class (and then catch up that weekend, for example).  In studying for the tests, I suggest organizing material around the authors and finding several key terms (from their theory, for example) for each.  A study sheet with each author and the main points from lecture about them worked for me taking the tests.

At first, I thought this class was going to be impossible solely based on the title and what I thought that meant for the content. However, I started to enjoy this class because Professor Alexy was an interesting lecturer. The advice I give you is to definitely read as much of the text as possible. Also, definitely attend the lectures as the quizzes can significantly help your grade and the content that Professor Alexy goes over in the lecture will really help you on the exam especially if you aren’t able to complete the reading for that day. Really, just try to do all the reading, turn everything in on time, and attend lecture as much as possible. You should do just fine if you stick to these easy to say but hard to do guidelines. Good luck!!