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Student comments

At the beginning of the term I asked the students "why did you decide to study economics this year and what do you expect to gain from it?"  Here are their replies:
  • There wasn't any reason in particular that led me to wanting to take this class.  It seemed like an interesting subject that I's like to take part in.  There aren't any questions I have to ask in particular.  I am happy with learning the general knowledge of both micro- and macroeconomics.
  • Honestly, I don't know that much about Economics.  But if I had to represent my little knowledge of Econ in one phrase it would be the business of the world, where "business" means the power of money and Economics is what unfolds.
  • The reason I took economics was to gain a better understanding of how markets work.  With so much talk of a failing economy, it's good to have an understanding of what that is.  What makes a thriving economy and how do economics function?
  • I think economics is the study of the behavior of systems of people.  It is a social science.  I want to take economics because it's something that I hear quite a bit about on the news and so on, but I don't really understand even the most basic aspects of.  Also, it's something my dad is really interested in, and he tends to like things that are really interesting.
  • I don't know very much about economics.  I want to learn about all the different types of markets and how they work.
  • My dad knows almost everything about economics.  He has been an investment banker for a few decades and now that my brother is double-majoring in economics, I am very left out of dinner conversations ... and I don't want to be.  Economics to me seems to be the exchange of money more or less.  Trade, barter, retail, stocks, finance of companies, math of money.  I don't know much, but I am very eager to learn.
  • The reason I decided to take this class, economics, was to develop a greater understanding of the way our country's economy works, and how it is similar or different to economies in other countries.  So much of my teenage life has been surrounded by talk of our "failing economy" and I think I owe it to myself to understand it on a deeper level.
  • Economics, in my view, looks like something about exchanging, bartering, market share, profit and gain, and distribution.  I think it's going to be fun because it's about the basic laws of today's society.  It dominates today's society and it's more like a law.  Knowledge of economics will for sure help us to get into the market.
  • Economics: study of money/incentives.  I don't know too much; my previous encounter with the subject was the book Freakonomics.  Economy: something that when it goes wrong everything costs more; in the world for the past few years, it has gone wrong.
  • Money going into the pockets of people and then being given back to the economy when spent.  I have no particular preference on what to learn about because I know nothing about economics.  Anything and everything you have to teach.
  • Simple list: the American economy, supply and demand, third world country economics, taxes, graphing.  Successful economics is what powers a thriving country.
  • I've always liked economics since I was little, especially from a humanitarian perspective along the lines of consumer behavior, how corporations work, government spending and government monetary policy.  I don't enjoy the math aspect of it nearly as much, like all the equations, mostly because math is not my favorite subject, but I do understand its importance in economics.
  • Economics is a subject I know very little about.  I have wanted to take this class for the past few years so I can learn more about the economy and how it works.
  • I don't know much about economics which is why I want to learn about it.  I really want to learn more about our recent recession.  I also want to know more about Wall Street and what it means to sell short company stock and other Wall Street terms.  Words that come to mind: money, numbers, Wall Street, business, stocks, recession.
  • Economics is the study of an economy.  Can be found on micro and macro level.  Involves the stock market.  Has been source of panic, despair and prosperity over the last 100+ years.
  • I'm very interested in modeling scenarios especially in regards to the market.
  • I'm not entirely positive of what this class will do for me, but I do know that it's something new.  I'd benefit form the exposure and new knowledge that I might not try to find elsewhere.
  • Last year I wrote my US history paper comparing the benefits and shortcomings of Reaganomics.  While researching, I didn't know very much about some of the material and it interested me.  I was compelled to learn more.
  • I was in Mr. Levy's history class last year and I found our discussions about economics extremely interesting.  Especially when we looked at actual data.
  • I'm very interested in different kinds of markets - capitalist, communist, socialist, laissez-faire, regulated.  I hope to learn more about the reasons behind job creation, politics, unions and capitalism.
  • My family has a bit of an economic background, and as a result of that background economic discussions are somewhat common at the dinner table, because economics are such a big part of my home life.  I want to learn more about economics, and I'm interested in learning as much as possible.
  • What I hope to gain from economics this year is to gain common knowledge about the topic.  I am currently interested in pursuing a career in accounting and the field of finance.  I hope that this course can help my understanding of the topic in which I would feel comfortable as to make this a part of my career choice.
  • Last summer I took a microeconomics course and I found it really interesting so I took this class to learn more.
  • On the practical side, I thought it would be a good "life course."  I would (hopefully) gain a better understanding of how our modern world functions and how I can be a part of it.  On the more theoretical side, I felt that it would be very interesting to learn about a field that is both theoretical and physical.  In economics, theories shape the world and can make or break a government.
  • I am interested in economics because I say "Inside Job" in 2011 andI found it incredibly thrilling.  Ideally I'd like to be able to understand the math behind it all.
  • It seems like economics will be useful in understanding whatever might be happening in the world.  I also like math, so I figured this class would be enjoyable.
  • I want to learn the way a society - whether it be a firm, company, country or person - functions in reality, compared to the many philosophical questions of ethics and morality they are faced with.
  • My grandfather was an economics professor at London School of Economics, so I thought I'd try my hand at it to see if it runs in the family.
  • I am interested in economics because both my parents work in the field and because I am interested in the subject matter.
  • I wanted to take economics because I read the paper every morning and want to understand more fully the economic failures and debates that are on the front page (and I suppose the business section).  I think it's an interesting topic that is on the forefront of many minds and I want to be able to have an informed opinion.
  • I chose to take this class because I'm very interested in learning economics because I believe it is a very important aspect of our culture and essential information to know.  That was a run-on sentence, but it's about the numbers, not the grammar, right?  Also, I didn't want to take another "general" math class, like Trig or Calc. I'm very happy to be in this class.
  • (I wanted to take this class) because it seems fascinating and I know little about it.  It also seems like something that is very important to know and very helpful for understanding the reasoning behind many decisions.
  • I am interested in economics because I believe it is exceptionally relevant and immediately useful as opposed to only useful within the context of other subjects in the distant future.  I have no idea what to learn, despite this, because I know nothing about economics.
  • Most of my experience with economics comes from articles I read in the New York Times and the New Yorker.  Consequently, I consider myself pretty familiar with economics on a broader scale, i.e. I understand what effects of overproduction could have on the value of the clothes, etc.  In addition, both of my parents work/worked in the financial world; my mom was a stock trader at the NYSE and my dad covered mergers and acquisitions at the Wall St. Journal.  I am definitely more interested in studying economics from a political/international perspective, but I am also looking forward to learning about the math behind it.
  • I don't know exactly, but I've always found economics interesting.  Also, I feel that it's an important subject and I would like to be more knowledgable.
  • I want to study economics because its important in business and free market capitalism so it's important with regards to the understanding of such things, which are also important for practical purposes.
  • Because my dad found that the profession he wanted to pursue was in economics, and I don't know too much about the subject but I am interested to see what makes this subject so attractive.
  • I took economics because I believe it's important to understand how our economy works.
  • Because both my parents majored in it and I'd like to know more about it and I really like math so I thought it would be fun to do a math class that was more directly related to everyday real world things.  It also just sounded interesting.
  • I have been interested in finance and economics for a while now.  This interest started in 8th grade when I did my term paper on the fall and bankruptcy of Lehman brothers.  I want to learn about what influences the world in such a big way and controls our lives to a certain extent.
  • Because I am awful with money.
  • I want to take economics because I am interested in the way an economy works and how one action in the market can influence another.  Plus, it seems very logic-based and includes problem solving, which I enjoy.
  • I wanted to take economics because the description in the course catalogue sounded really interesting.  Economics also seems like it could be really useful in the future, especially if I decide to go into business.
  • I want to learn about economics so I can understand the financial world around me.
  • I am taking this class because it seems interesting, and because economics is so important to everyday life, particularly the decisions made by policy makers and how those affect the economy.  So I guess I could say I'm taking economics to understand the world around me.
  • I want to learn economics to understand the market as a whole, and how money so greatly affects the world.
  • I am taking this class because mathematics and money are two interests of mine.  My father was a bond trader, and I've always been interested in the complex and important world of economics.  It seems even more difficult to learn than math, because instead of involving only one man-made subject, it involves two.
  • I decided to take economics because last year, in my history class, I did a little bit of research on the stock market and I wanted to learn more.
  • I am very interested in global markets and I would love to study the field in depth.  What fascinates me most is the connection between current events, politics, and financial trends (only to name a few) and economics.
  • I am taking the class because I am interested in Economics.  I took the Finance seminar last year and found it to be very cool and fun.  I know that a general understanding of economics can be and is very helpful in any career path.
  • I want to understand what's going on in our economy and how to start a business most effectively.  Also I am interested in the social effects of different economic choices.
  • I feel that all civilization, culture and society have been based upon the exchange of goods and services.  Even the kinds of government that attempt to evade currency wind up at a work-for-goods system.  This, combined with our biological interest in exchange strategy in games, and the competitive nature of evolution, have driven me to find great interest in Economics.
  • I signed up for Economics this semester because I have an interest in studying business in college and I want to get exposure to the field before college.
  • I took economics because I feel like it is a vast and important field that I know absolutely nothing about, and I am genuinely interested.  You see these movies, like "Wolf of Wall Street", and it makes you wonder what is actually going on there.  Plus I wish to make further progress in mathematics.
  • I find economics really interesting.  One day I hope to have a job where economics is needed.
  • My brother took Economics and really enjoyed it.  The "Wolf of Wall Street" was a cool movie too.
  • I took Economics because I want to learn more about marketing.
  • I took Economics to see whether I would enjoy it and continue taking it in college.
  • I am taking Economics because I am sick of not knowing economics.
  • I am taking Economics so I can learn a little bit about the making, transferring and spending of money.

At the end of the term I asked the students "what have you learned in economics class this year?"  Here are their answers:
  • I have gained a greater knowledge of economics as a while and understand things such as GDP and supply and demand much better.
  • I entered this year knowing virtually nothing about economics.  I didn't know much about the current events and logic aspects and I didn't know anything at all about the mathematical aspects.  I now leave this year with a good general understanding of the field and a new-found knowledge of the math involved which I literally barely knew existed.
  • I have learned an incredible amount, especially pertaining to the mathematical applications of economics.  It was a very hard course as well.
  • What haven't I learned in economic this year?  I learned how the individual will react to the individual, and how the market will react to the individual.  The function of cost in the economy and how difference macroeconomic factors (inflation, unemployment, growth) play off of each other.
  • In the current events section I feel I learned the most, as it was the most applicable.  I enjoyed the weekly presentation as well.
  • I learned what economics is all about; the ideas and the general ways economics applied to everyday life.  I also learned how to apply math to other topics than Algebra and Trigonometry.  I haven't taken an applied math class before, and although it was a little hard at first, when I worked hard and got into the flow of things, it was so much fun.  This class has also helped me and inspired me to learn about current economic happenings and because of this class I understand them much more fully.
  • This year I feel that I learned even though people are irrational there are ways through equations and graphs to make models and predictions about the economy.  I have learned that there are many more factors in the economy than I thought and because of that, the obvious solution is not always the best one, but rather you have to see how a change in one input has many different effects on things you would not necessarily think it effected.  I learned about the importance of balance in the market, and about equilibrium in supply and demand, as well as the importance of looking to opportunity costs in order to maximize profit.  I feel that after this class, when I read the news about the economy I now have options on what should be done and I understand when things go wrong.  I also now understand the importance of graphs and I learned how to determine the relationship between graphs, and also the importance of looking at long term graphs in order to predict the future.
  • This year in economics class I have learned a great deal about the modern fiscal crisis, learned how to dissect economic news to a much greater level than I could before, learned how much I love the Phillips curve, and that utilities are the bane of my existence.
  • I think that it would be more clear if Micro and Macro were separated by semester.  Be more respectful to the opinions of all the students.
  • This year's economics class has been fantastic.  I've learned about a variety of things this year, from GDP to monetary policy to the central bank and everything else in between.  Having always been fond of mathematics, I've found a form of mathematics that applies to everyday situations and life.  I also could not have imagined learning economics the way I did this year, from playing a variety of simple but extremely entertaining games to even watching a music video about economics.  This class had helped influence me to study business in college, and if I were a junior coming back next yea, I would definitely take Micro/Macro 2 (if this class were to be available next year).  I've enjoyed every moment in thi class, as this has definitely been one of my favorite classes!
  • I think the idea of doing the more technical, "mathy" stuff mainly in the fall was a good idea.  I also switching between micro and macro.  A little more focus on the political issues would be nice - that's why weekly news reports are fun, but a little more focus on "historical" economics and comparing of different systems, as well as looking at non-Western governments as examples of these.  I would also have liked a debate on these sorts of issues.  While I thought environmental issues expanded my range, a political one might have been more lively.   
  • My favorite part about this class was learning the real meaning of words and terms that I had never fully understood - GDP, "money market", Keynesian economics.  It was a fairly difficult class (personally) but I definitely extracted a substantial amount of knowledge on the subject.  One of the most important things I think I got out of the class was an understanding of the nature of economics, and its many applications: game theory, society/psychology, politics of course, etc.  At times I felt a little lost and I think it was because I did not always take the proper initiative to read the textbook and do the problems.  That is my own fault, but maybe giving required assignments every once in a while would force irresponsible kids like me to stay with it.  Thanks for an excellent year!
  • I liked this class a lot but I don't think it was what I expected.  Economics is really just math at its core.  I don't dislike math and I was lucky that I had already been exposed to calculus and trigonometry, but I think there were a lot of people who weren't as comfortable with the math.  I think that's why either a smaller class would make it so you can spend more time with each person to make sure they understand the math, or prerequisites/permission from instructor would make it an easier class to teach. 
  • On the positive side, I think the material was explained well and was made easier to conceptualize.  On the negative side, the pace could have been a bit slower.
  • The most important thing I learned is how to approach economic problems in general.  I really enjoyed the articles at the end.  I wish there was more discussion of a philosophical nature.  It would be nice to take a day once in a while to have a discussion divorced from math, mainly between the students.
  • One area in which the class fell a little short for me was that I, and I think a lot of other people, took this class primarily in order to learn about the economy today, and to be able to have really educated opinions about that.  And while this class certainly did help with that, I found that, at times, there was too large of a gap between the mathematical theory and the practical, whereas I think they should be more integrated.  I definitely think there should be more Economics classes at Saint Ann's.
  • I did learn, very well, the theories of each subject in economics. And I enjoyed each section. What I personally had trouble with was the math part. I understand that the math is applied to explain the theories but I had trouble actually doing that.
  • This class was surprisingly fun, and I now want to take an Economics class in college.  The class structure was perfect, and I loved discussing weekly news reports.  It would be great to have more guest speakers and field trips.
  • I found the class very enjoyable.  Unlike any math class I have ever had we explicitly learned about how the world actually works.  The class was not purely applied mathematics.  We learned about history as well, which played an important part in what we learned, in that we were always able to find examples of the concepts we were discussing.
  • I really enjoyed this year, I had a lot of fun!  I would have liked to see more "socio-economics" in the class and more games of Pit.  I definitely accumulated an abundance of knowledge about economics.  I would suggest to give us more time to prepare our statements for the debate.  Overall, a great class.  Thank you so much for a fantastic year!
  • I really enjoyed the class this year, especially when talking about both the theory of the firm and utility.  It would be great to have a second Economics course, which could support smaller sections with more specialized focus.  A large classroom would benefit this class greatly.
  • What I really learned in Economics, apart from the technical parts, is that there are an amalgamation of ways to view a system.  Whether it be Microeconomics or Macroeconomics, there is always a means to an end.  What was even more surprising to me about Economics is that, despite the fact we can account for an infinite number of variables, achieving equilibrium is almost impossible, and getting close is still a mystery.  Overall, I enjoyed this class very much.  I loved getting a chance to approach Economics both empirically and theoretically.  I feel what I took this class for, to be able to have a more in-depth understanding of our economy and others, I have achieved, and I thank you for a great year!  
  • The best thing, I thought, was doing questions in class.  I found that most helpful, but maybe we could introduce new things in class first, and then go and read about them at home.  I got lost more often at home than when doing it in class.
  • I enjoy now being able to participate in dinner conversations as an authority.  It's great when we talk about current issues (e.g. economic inequality) so I can have informed opinions on these matters.  I found the class artificially confounding at times.  You often wish to get straight at the heart of the matter first, but most of the time it is easier to start at the surface of the issue and dig down.  When you say some new equation or topic, it is extremely helpful when you take the time to give a trivial example.  For example, when we talked about marginal utility and indifference curves, it would have been more accessible if you had used some simple numbers to illustrate your point.  The classes where you talked about some obscure aspect/failing of Economics I found ot to be very useful.  Without the theory to rely on in my mind, it was extremely difficult to follow what you were saying.  That being said, I learned a ton and now I feel pretty comfortable with the material.  Thanks!
  • I have really enjoyed this class, particularly the weekly new reports and group discussions about the readings.  I think that this class had given me a basic understanding of economic theory and how to approach economic questions.  I wish we could have spent more time exampling the current economic/political situation, although maybe that's a different course.
  • Overall, the year was fun.  I learned a good amount and now I can chime in from time to time during my brother and dad's economic conversations at dinner.  I could also read my brother's senior thesis paper with relative facility.  I'm grateful for you teaching me that much.  I do feel, though, that at times I struggled with some of the theories.  Often, my experience and comfort with math aided my struggle with the theory side of economics, but there were times when it certainly didn't and I'd imagine without math it would have been difficult.  Also, vocabulary was an issue for me.  I feel like there were a lot of terms you kind of assumed we all knew, especially in the beginning, just because one or two of us knew them.  This critique is just here to help.  I did enjoy the year and it was a pleasure being your student.
  • I really enjoyed the current events presentations.  Working current events into the daily topics is something you cannot do enough of.  Explaining the downsides or faults to every model was incredibly interesting.
  • Honestly, I didn't expect this class to involve so many graphs, so that was surprising.  But I loved what we did starting after April.  I loved debating and talking about practical applications.
  • I liked the essay about GDP.  I learned the most by writing and researching.  Also, continue bringing in current events.
  • I really liked how we focused on social issues and not just math.  There should be a second Economics class for people who want to take the APs.
  • I enjoyed very much the class.  It was definitely one of the most challenging classes I've had, mostly because it was so foreign.  I enjoyed the mathematical aspect of the class.  One suggestion would be, because it is a pretty foreign subject for most, to go a little slower and ensure that everyone understands the material.
  • I enjoyed the class very much!  So many interesting topics!  I think if we can do more applications, like analyze some real institutions and countries, it will be even more interesting.
  • I really liked how we incorporated real-world events in our studies instead of just focusing on formulas.  It was great that everything we studied, we also studied the basis for.
  • I really liked more of the conceptual things, especially in macroeconomics, but a lot of the math and the graphs were not only hard for me, but very boring too.
  • I liked the projects that we did that involved mathematics.
  • I enjoyed the way you linked mathematics and economics.  We should have more debates.
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