Friday, December 9, 2016

End of Semester Review: Fall 2016

Well, my first semester at college is nearly over, and I seem to have survived. We'll see if Finals Week kills me- though I'm honestly not that stressed. I know what to expect, I'm preparing well, and I only have three finals anyway. In a sort of tribute to how I'll be spending next week, though, I thought I'd review the top five things I've learned this semester- both in and out of class.

First Semester Review: What I've Learned

  1. Don't judge a class or professor by the first week. If you'd asked me the in the first two weeks, I would've said that Composition was one of my least favorite classes and New Testament Lit, my favorite; their professors on level footing only because my Comp professor also teaches Western Lit. Now, on the other hand, Comp is one of the only two classes I'm genuinely sad is ending; that professor the one I'm going to miss the most. (It helps that my other favorite class and favorite professor has a second part next semester, so I don't have to say goodbye to that one just yet.)
  2. Media- especially television- has an incredible impact on how we think, process information, and do discourse. I wrote a whole paper on this (if you want to read it, let me know), but essentially, the format of television news makes news seem unimportant, and the lack of context makes it impossible to tell if it actually is significant or not. In addition, the fact that television focuses on the image and the drama, rather than words of the person onscreen, makes serious discussion of world events, whatever those might be, a lot more difficult.
  3. Time management needs to include time to relax, not just time to work. You all may or may not know: while I'm still guilty of procrastination on occasion, I also enjoy getting ahead of schedule and tend to push myself pretty hard, especially when I have a lot of major assignments due in the next few weeks. That's a good thing . . . but it also means that I don't really allow myself much free time, which means I'm still stressed even though I'm ahead of schedule. The idea of actually scheduling free time came up during Physical Activity and the Christian (essentially a health class) during the unit on stress- which, coincidentally, happened right after two of the most stressful weeks of the semester. I initially laughed- schedule free time? No way I had time for that. But then I tried it, and I found that it actually did help. Of course, I shouldn't be surprised- I've listened to Hamilton enough times that I should know what can happen if you don't take a break.
  4. It's easier to prove the existence of God than to disprove the nonexistance of your hands. Not actually; that's sort of a running joke from Honors class. (We did learn how to sort of prove that you don't have hands, or that you at least don't know for sure that you have hands. It just wasn't serious.) But we did cover two super compelling proofs (and one somewhat less compelling proof) for the existence of (a given definition of) God, so that's cool.
  5. God often works in strange ways. No, I didn't actually learn this in chapel. I learned this because all through this semester, I've found too many connections from one thing to another to pass as coincidence. For instance- who would've thought that the twins I met while standing in line for registration would end up being childhood friends of someone in one of my classes, someone to whom I'd end up going to church with? Or that so many different, difficult texts and ideas- Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Four Causes, Augustine's Confessions- would end up crossing over between classes? Or that I'd get the same professor for two classes, one after the other- one which I loved from the start, one which I originally hated, but came to love in part because the one I loved made me give the professor a chance? I could go on, but I think you get my point.
  6. Our society is heading towards a dystopian future at a frightening pace. Yeah. Read Brave New World. You'll see what I mean.
  7. How to make a much-too-large-plate of fried rice on the grill. I'm still working on making a properly sized portion of fried rice (or anything else that isn't a sandwich, for that matter) that has the right ingredient-seasoning ratios, but, oh well. If I ever need to make food for two people, I'm totally set, and I'm definitely not going hungry anytime soon, even if I get tired of the pre-made dining hall food.
I'm curious: what are some of the most meaningful things you all have learned from your lives- whether in school or in everyday activities- these past few months? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)


  1. *sings* Take a break! Come away with us for the summer let's go upstate..."

    Right. Sorry. Anyway. :P

    Ooh, Plato's Republic. That is a /good/ book. I read the first half of it for school a while back, and it's still one of my favorites.

    1. Yay, you caught my reference. :D

      It was interesting. Not my favorite, but that's because Plato and I ended up disagreeing rather often. :P


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