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 that taking care of my mental health is most important … and sledding down a hill on a table can end very badly.
You really can build a house out of straw.
You can use the internet to find out which animals have sex.
Vinyl is evil.
Sleep is not overrated.
I learned that sometimes you just have to take a risk and have fun.
I love to write just to write. I don’t like science. I have no idea what to do with my life.
I would not survive an avalanche.
I learned that I really love people and everyone has something to offer.
Driving in the snow can be dangerous.
I have learned how to tune out drunk kids coming home at 3:30 am.
Freewriting is awesome. Sleep is amazing. Facebook is the enemy.
Opportunity cost is the value of the next best alternate forgone.
The safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is 350 parts per million.
Nerf basketball and small dorm rooms don’t mix.
Drunk people are very fun to mess with.
It’s possible to live mostly off Ramen noodles.
Calculus is hard.
It’s really necessary to make good friends.
I learned that not everyone dedicates Sundays to watching football.
Seventy percent of electricity comes from burning fossil fuels. Only about 7 percent comes from hydro power.
Rubix cubes can be used as weapons.
It’s worth it to bring the map.
Belarus is the country most contaminated by Chernobyl.
How important it is to keep an open mind.
The value of going to the bathroom without people walking in and out is something you never consider until you go to college.
All-nighters are a terrible idea.
Passion can be a great gift or a great burden
Campus is 41 miles from a nuclear power plant.
A line becomes a circle from a farther perspective.
It all comes down to finding a balance.