December 09, 2011

What I learned this semester

On the last day of class, I gave each of my first year students an index card and asked them to write one thing they learned during their first semester in college. Then I shuffled the cards and read them aloud.

Apoptosis is programmed cell death.

In my first semester of college, I learned that Dungeons & Dragons is more fun than it sounds.

The average American teenager sends and receives about 80 text messages every day.

How to do stoichiometry.

Eight hours of sleep a night will not happen. Naps are great. So is coffee.

I learned more about the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is awesome.

I learned more about steel than I ever thought possible.

Twenty-four percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 50 have at least one tattoo.

Time management. Finally.

A medium-sized dog has double the environmental impact of driving an SUV for 10,000 miles.

Only 8 percent of the energy in the United States comes from renewable resources.

I learned that there are people here and around the world who think like me about the environment.

I learned how to recognize bad writing.

350 ppm is the safe limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We’ve passed that.

I learned that I look decent with a beard.

I learned the importance of stress release and sleep.

I learned that formaldehyde is what makes me feel light-headed while dissecting things.

I learned that I procrastinate way too much, have a horrible work ethic, and am too obsessed with Facebook. 

I learned why God created Sunday as the day of rest. It's because Friday and Saturday kicks your butt.

There is a subspecies of drosophila (fruit fly) that has sperm that is 5.8 cm long.

Time management is extremely important.

I learned what dimensional analysis is.

When times get tough, and there’s a right or left in the trail ahead of you, you must go straight through the brush, because nothing is easy.

I learned that the molecular mass of carbon dioxide is 44.01 grams and water is 18.01 grams.

I apparently have an accent of some sort.

I learned how to properly light my hand on fire.

Dining hall food gets old. 

This semester I learned the basics on why animals behave the way they do.

Temperature influences turtle gender.

Pulling an all-nighter to study and taking a caffeine pill is not a good combination.

I learned that power naps are the key to survival.

Having a lab partner is a lifelong commitment.

You must let the little things in life that bug you slide because in the end, they don’t really matter. 

Chemistry is harder than I thought. I would rather build a real life replica of the Colesium.

I learned how to solve problems with my roommate.

You are not supposed to reduce a fever.

My study habits aren’t good enough.

Monecious means that something has male and female organs.

I learned more in this one semester of college than I did in 12 years of grade school.

How to budget my time.

I learned how to do calculus. Sort of.

The cemetery is a great place to go for a walk and escape the stresses of school.

Science is a lot of hard work.

I learned to accept those who have different political views than I do.

I really learned a lot about different movements and current events going on in the world around us. 

The easiest decision is rarely the right one.

 Life goes on.


Queen of West Procrastination said...

Thank you for posting these again. I love these so much. (And most of what I learned in my first semester of undergrad was also nap-related. It took me much longer to learn to sleep more at night!)

(But how is the drosophila fact physically possible? I'm going to be puzzling over this for the rest of the day.)

jo(e) said...

Queen of West Procrastination: I know! I asked my students the same question. They said the sperm is very, very thin, and tightly coiled ....

Magpie said...

So fascinating. So...eclectic.

Zhoen said...

So many lessons that have to be relearned many times, especially about organization. I love the mix of trivial and profound.

Sandy said...

I look forward to this list every year!

Seeking Solace said...

I love this too. Since I teach the Intro class for my program, I started doing this too. It's a great exercise for the students, as well as instructors.

BTW, the one about Friday and Saturday kicking your butt...priceless.

Anonymously Me said...

This was real interesting.

TiredProf said...

Love this--what a great idea!

jodi said...

I love it when you post these.

Melissa Sarno said...

I love this. I like finding some common themes among them (like time) Thanks for sharing it with us :)

Wordsmith said...

I love this--such a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

Heidi said...

These are great!

Kyla said...

"I learned how to do calculus. Sort of." <--- Me, too. My Cal final is on Wednesday...I will be SO glad to be done with it!

Songbird said...

I know a lot of people who could give that Facebook answer.

Jennifer said...

I love these every year. I'm having trouble believing the one about the environmental impact of a mid-sized dog, but these random factoids from your students almost always turn out to be accurate, so it's probably true. It's pretty shocking.