December 08, 2012

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.

I learned how to finish homework in 15 minutes at 4 am.

Humans who dye their hair are putting themselves at a higher risk for cancer.

Procrastination comes in many forms, none of which are any more help than the other.

Sunscreen (because of the oxybenzone) does more harm to your body than sunshine could.

I learned to get all my ideas down on paper before micro-editing.

The green roof on our new building is one of the most advanced green roofs ever built.

Bill McKibben is the man.

I learned that I am easily distracted. Very easily distracted.

Having no parents around to tell you not to do things is fun, but bad … but still fun.

No good story begins with, “This one time when I was eating a salad…”

I learned that writing what you are passionate about is not as hard as it seems.

I learned that we can save the world …. jo(e) just needs to be dictator first.

Joss Whedon’s Firefly portrays a plausible prediction of humanity’s future.

I learned more than I ever wanted to know about every type of renewable energy. 

Mosses are non-vascular. I learned how to organize my life on my own really quick.

In a 2007 study of 33 major brands of lipstick, scientists discovered that 61% of the lipsticks contained lead.

Politicians care more about getting elected than what’s happening to the planet.

Be careful who you trust.

I learned that I don’t like living in the city.

That the safe limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 350 ppm. We passed that already.

I learned how to write a biology lab report.

There are zombie wasps. Really.

I am nowhere near as smart as I was in high school.

That I love biology.

It’s best not to go shopping when there’s a holiday sale.

I learned that I go a little crazy and become a complete bitch when I am under a lot of pressure. And that I should not ever share a room with someone.

Bears don’t actually hibernate. They go into torpor.

A locotrophozoa has a lophophore, and a trochophore has a larva stage.

Missing the bus sucks.

I learned that there is a clear difference between primary and secondary forests.

I learned that being really tired all the time is normal in college.

I learned that it’s important to lean on new and old friends to get through things.

Snowstorm City isn’t as cold as everyone said it would be.

I learned that studying 15 minutes before a test is not enough.


purple_kangaroo said...

I love it! LOL.

Amelie said...

Cool idea! I especially love the "homework at 4am" and "procrastination" ones.

kathy a. said...

great responses, as always!

kathy a. said...

i think the best part is that everyone hears all of the responses.

Kristin H said...

I really love reading these every year.

liz said...

What Kristin said.

Anonymous said...

The one about sunscreen is a lie. I have skin cancer and I can tell you that sunscreen is an absolute must. There are healthy sunscreens out there. Be eco-friendly and crunchy if you want, and avoid sunscreen -- but you'll pay the price later.

Anonymous said...

These always make me laugh. Last year, based on your tradition, I asked my daughter after her first semester of college the same question. Her response: Clean is a relative term. I didn't ask for clarification, I figured I probably didn't want to know.

Kyla said...

I don't know about that procrastination one...I've been known to organize a cabinet or two, clean a toilet, or do some laundry in order to avoid schoolwork. That is better than say, spending two hours on Facebook. :)

I had to Google the zombie wasp thing. Seems like something out of my nightmares!

Sarah Sometimes said...

The salad one made me laugh.... And I like that bears go into torpor. I think I can identify with that state. In fact, I think I'm headed for it right now. Ready for the days to start getting longer again, really soon.

Julie said...

I laughed at the salad one, too. :) Then I remembered this podcast.

nimiecat said...

what kristin and liz said! :)

Val said...

Yes, this is a great end-of-year tradition for we jo(e) readers too.
"I am nowhere near as smart as I was in high school": Wise student.

undine said...

I love these lessons, especially the procrastination ones, which they will learn over and over and over and over. We never change, really, do we?

robin andrea said...

This is such a great exercise. Do you save the responses? I wonder how much the same and/or how different they would be year after year.

jo(e) said...

Well, I put them on my blog every year, so I do have a record of them. I've never gone back to look though.