That is was really small and treeless. I came from a much larger university and it was a big adjustment for me to go from a well-established campus with 20,000+ students to a growing campus with only 6,000 students at the time. It didn’t take me long to come to love our small campus and students. Now, one of my favorite things about campus is the size. I have an opportunity to get to know more students, and can see the impact I have.
That my degree was more about critical thinking and communicating than that content of the degree. My undergraduate degree is in history and I really enjoyed it. But I learned as much about thinking critically, communicating my thoughts, interpersonal skills, and some general life skills as I did anything about history. Those skills have served me more than what I learned about history in my working life (but my history knowledge sure does help with trivia!).
Blue and gold, Go Gauchos!
California, by the Lagoons
I had an 18-year long undergraduate journey with 16 years of it being really sporadic and the last two, after my epiphany, being full-time at a small university in South Texas. It was actually located on an island! My favorite class was in my first semester (1998) of going full-time: I took a Sociological Theory class even though everyone was telling me it was too soon to take it. I got a C on the first exam, and pretty much protested the grade to the professor, Dr. Bilaye Benibo. I went to his office hours and he spent more than an hour and a half going over each question with me. I’d never had any contact like that with any teacher before. He became my mentor and is a main reason I hold a Ph.D. today. I love theory, especially when used to action (praxis).
I was volunteering at a program with youngsters who were assigned community service as diversion from juvenile hall, and interviewed some of their mothers about their experiences having a child “in trouble.” I wrote a paper on it and remember turning it in to Professor Benibo in his office. He read the whole thing, silently. I was sitting there mortified, imagining it was junk, that I had messed up with this first-ever research project on a really important area. Then he read it again, still silent. Finally, he said “You did it.” I ended up presenting it at a research conference, my first as undergraduate.
In the US, the most interesting place I have traveled would be the Grand Canyon and Red Rock areas of Arizona. It’s fascinating to think about how the land features in these areas were formed and the time it took for them to form. I have also been to New Zealand, and would love to go back and explore with my family.
I am not sure I remember anymore! Looking back it seems like I enjoyed all of my chemistry classes, perhaps the reason why I ended up teaching chemistry. If I had to pick one chemistry class, I would say it was Instrumental Chemistry. I also seem to remember that I enjoyed the introduction to philosophy class.
That life only gets more complicated after undergrad and that I should have experienced as many things as I could from what college had to offer.
Former Yugoslavia. I travelled to Sarajevo and Dubrovnik only a few years after the wars that tore the country apart ended and it was an unforgettable experience. Also, in Sarajevo, I got to stand on the spot where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, thereby ‘starting’ World War I.
Everyone at my (Jesuit) university had to (and still has to) take a freshman theology course called “The Problem of God”. It blew my mind because it challenged most of the ideas I came to college with and helped me learn to think for myself. The professor wasn’t actually all that good but he had us read these amazing books that opened up new worlds to me, introduced me to ideas I’d never thought of, and showed me how much fun talking/arguing about ideas was. I was lucky that I went to college back when there really weren’t that many graduation requirements so I spent the most part of four years just taking courses that sounded interesting to me. History, of course, because I was a History major, but since I was also a Literature major, I took lots of courses in that department too. And I read lots and lots of novels. My favorite class that I never took was a math class. To this day I feel lucky that my university didn’t have a math requirement of any kind. Otherwise, I might still be in college.
No one, not even me, could miss the fact that we didn’t actually have a real campus. I came to CSUSM when it was still located in a business park over near Jerome’s furniture store. It was odd, that’s for sure but it was also fun.
I wish I had known that I deserved to be there. As a first generation commuter student on scholarship at a pretty elite, primarily residential university (where it seemed everyone has gone to some fancy private school), I always felt that somehow I was faking it, that I didn’t deserve to be there and that someone would discover that I was a fraud. I’ve come to learn that “imposter syndrome” is pretty common among first generation students and that almost every student, no matter what their background, sometimes feels insecure about being in college. I wish I hadn’t spent so much time doubting myself and that I’d invested more time in taking every advantage of the place.
Blue and Gray – Hoya Saxa!
1) Billy Bragg. He’s a British punk folk musician from the 1980s – think Woody Guthrie meets the Clash and 2) Springsteen, because well, Springsteen. I haven’t really kept up with modern music. It’s one area of my life where I stick with what I know.
I love traveling and I’ve been (lucky enough to travel) to a lot of really amazing places. One place I really loved was Malaysia. The cities were modern, but still had a ton of history, and were very different from the US. The culture was really unique, the food was amazing, and everything was cheap!
One of my favorite classes in undergrad was Introduction to Psychology. It was my first psychology class, and it was taught by one of my favorite professors. I don’t know if he knows it, but he inspired me to study psychology. Now, I teach this class myself! [Symbol]
I wish I had know more about the college loans I took out …and more about alternative ways to pay for college. Nobody even explained this to me (and now I’m… …paying for it).
From now until September, I will spend most of my time listening to baseball! Go A’s!