December 05, 2008

What I learned this semester

At the end of the fall semester, I ask my first year students to each write on an index card one thing they learned their first semester in college. I tell them that they can include things they learned in the residence halls or from their friends or in any class. Then I shuffle the cards and read them aloud. Here's what they wrote this year.

Bugs are edible. Mushrooms are basidiocarps. Elephants don't actually have sex.

I learned that high school doesn't prepare you at all for college.

I learned that the liver can regenerate itself.

I've learned about the importance of time management.

I learned about downcycling and how some recyclables end up in the landfill after a slightly extended life.

Worms have brains, and college is really hard.

The value of a home-cooked meal.

There's a lot of shit involved with plants.

I learned that you get as much out of something as you put into it.

I learned how to derive a function.

You can get lead poisoning from lipstick.

I learned how hard calculus really is.

Dining hall food sucks. People live longer in Andorra. Muir and Pinchot were responsible for the environmental revolution. The clitoris is an undeveloped penis.

Time management is the most important thing, especially when it comes to homework.

I failed at things I am usually good at and succeeded at things I'm normally bad at.

Because of electron clouds, some atoms are bigger than others.

Your feet are healthiest without shoes. Most Americans have foot problems by the time they are 50. Barefeet rule!

Trying to get work done in a lounge filled with friends is impossible.

Willow trees are the next generation of biofuel.

You can die from a lack of sleep.

The graveyard is a great place for class.

Chemistry in college is way harder than it is in high school.

I learned to think about my audience when I write.

In a deuterostome, the anus forms before the mouth.

It's easy to catch a cold when you live in a dorm.

A banana is an herb.

Friends are really important. Especially ones who don't bullshit.

A single parade in New York City can generate 23 tons of trash.


Anonymous said...

I want to know more!
If elephants don't have sex then what do they do?
A banana is an herb?
What class is being held in the graveyard?

What fun!

Anonymous said...

What is this about being barefoot?


Anonymous said...

Plenty of food for thought there!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous list. They're so poetic -- especially read all together like this! But shouldn't that be "the penis is a hyperdeveloped clitoris"?

a/k/a Nadine said...

I learned some of those things in college too.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love this.

Thanks for the mini-lessons! I learned something here myself :)

Leslee said...

I feel smarter just reading this post!

Anonymous said...

I always look forward to the end of your semesters for this entry.

Can't help looking forward to when the barefeet-lover takes parasitology, though.


Anonymous said...

wow, i learned a lot from this list!

Kathryn said...

Like Jennifer I was looking forward to this - they have some wonderfully creative learning.
If you felt so inclined, I tagged you for a photo meme over at compulsion, though ;-)

EmmaNadine said...

I always feel like I need to go do research after reading your end of the semester list. What do elephants do exactly?

susan said...

I am particularly fond of banana being *an* herb. Both the herb and the choice of article are fascinating.

Rick said...

That was a very enlightening post.

Michelle said...

The class in the graveyard sounds fascinating and I'd love to know more about why it such a good place (my imagination is coming up with all sort of reasons, not all of them good!)