December 15, 2009

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.

I learned how to write lab reports and do research.

I learned how to freewrite – and why.

I learned to get up on my own instead of my Mom waking me up.

It’s means it is. And that’s the only time the word needs an apostrophe.

I’ve learned how to work on an average of 13 hours of sleep per week.

The frustrating and amazing complexity of Biology. Not only the organisms, but also the numerous terminologies.

The really depressing effects of Chernobyl.

Facts about Lyme disease.

I learned that chameleon tongues are hydrostatic skeletons. Their short and fat tongues have a set of muscles that will stretch the tongue out so that the chameleon can catch its food.

This semester I learned that if I’m going to do something, I should take my time with it. Patience has a way of revealing answers.

Outdoor classes rule!

PowerPoints are BORING. And I want to stab myself every time I sit through one.

My high school math teachers were awesome.

Mountaintop removal really sucks.

How to use facebook.

I learned how to procrastinate. And that’s not a good thing.

How to make solar cells.

How to share a room with another person.

How very many hippies there are.

Why everyone loves the state fair.

Tiger Woods is a playa.

Budgeting your time is super important.

That it’s 2.3 miles from my dorm bed to the entrance of the library.

Snow is cute. So far.

Politics are hard to avoid.

I learned that you have to study way more in college than you do in high school.

I learned that there is never enough time to sleep AND get your homework done.

Also -- hugs are more necessary than you might think.

I learned to take more responsibility and to be more independent. I also learned what it feels like to be stressed, lonely, happy, confused, and what my family means to me.

I learned that squirrels can see in color.

Parasites have it easy.


Queen of West Procrastination said...

jo(e), thank you for posting these each year. It always cheers me up, and I needed that today.

Seeking Solace said...

Jo(e), I so look forwad to your list every year. I am going to try this with my students.

I love the one about learning to wake up without Mom's help. :)

rented life said...

My fav is the one about PowerPoint. I feel the same way.

Magpie said...

This is wonderful - and yes, PowerPoint SUCKS.

Twice said...

This is perfect for my last class meeting tomorrow. I was inspired to do it by your post last year but it had slipped my mind. I'm glad you posted this and reminded me of it. I love the diversity of responses.

rachel said...

this is my favourite post of yours Jo(e) -- it is every year. In fact I found myself wondering about it the other day... what a great assignment! i teach at a commuter uni in a big urban centre, where the students are mostly in their hometown (and often still live at home), so I can't really repeat it -- but I should try and see what happens!

kathy a. said...

love the responses!

Digger said...

This is great, thanks for posting it! I'll have to rummage and find the others. My favorite is the one about it's.

RageyOne said...

The one on PowerPoint needs to be posted in every faculty workroom, breakroom, office, etc. around the country!

Anonymous said...

Amen to the one about Powerpoint. God, I hate staring at screens ....


Marni said...

These are my favorite posts. I agree with them... and also learn from them.

Thank you for sharing!

Mom2BJM(Amy) said...

I, too, love reading these each year...

Lomagirl said...

This is a wonderful post. I made my students say one thing they'd learned, but I should have them write it down so I can remember.
The most annoying girl in my class said she had learned to tolerate others, even if she didn't like their attitude, and admitted that she had a bad attitude, too. Pretty funny. I just smiled.
One or two others said they learned they liked reading- warmed my cockles, that did.

Dan said...

Love it.

Billie said...

I borrowed a page from your book and did this exercise this semester, too. :-)

Jennifer said...

Smart students. "Also - hugs are more necessary than you might think." Indeed.

Jenevieve said...

Awesome! Except I disagree- parasites have hard lives.

Michelle said...

Lovely thoughts!! Thanks for posting...