The Joy of Undergrads


Hey, big shout out to all my students who might be reading this. Hi! Stop reading this blog and go write your papers!

I love my students, I really do. Even the annoying ones. Sometimes they underwhelm me. Sometimes they overwhelm me. Sometimes they disappoint me. Sometimes they surprise me with their excellence. But it’s always a joy to see them. Really.

(And if any of them are still reading this: just because I like you, it doesn’t mean I won’t kick your ass (figuratively) if you piss me off!)

Today one of my older students in my first year class brought her son to sit in on my lecture. The little fellow appeared to be about 11 years old, but I really don’t know. But man, was he ever impressive. In a room of 200, only he knew the answers to two very basic (but obscure) geography questions: where are the nations of San Marrino and Andorra?

After class, I quizzed him briefly on some tougher geography questions: what are the capital(s) of South Africa? How about Iceland? Suriname? He got them all right. He gave me a question in response: What’s the capital city of Tuvalu? I had no idea. (The answer is Funafuti, by the way; I looked it up.)

I tells ya, that young fellow filled me with a great deal of optimism for the intellectual quality of our upcoming generations… despite contrary evidence. I hope he comes back to class!

Meanwhile, a colleague at a different university was kind enough to share with me some tidbits from application essays to his/her programme. Here are some of the best quotes:

“I am also a big fan of billiard. Trick shots require a great amount of thinking and pulling them off provides a great sense of satisfaction.”

“Being taught CPR can always come in handy just in case of emergencies.”

“The teachers kept saying change was good. That change meant new horizons. I didn’t see any change. I’ve only realized how much longer I will remain shackled to the educational system.”

“I took care of homeless dogs in my garage, because in the house I was not allowed. But I did, very rarely, maybe ten time, managed to snick a cat into my room.”

“I have always wanted to succeed. Even when I was a baby I wanted to.”

“I want to maximize my generativity”

“Therefore, I borrowed a couple of books about Einstein. They always surprise me with how little I know.”

“Having a balanced life is more weighty.”

“So I’m celebrating the fact that I’ve moved prisons? It’s like hopping over the fence just to find out there’s another fence with barb wire. This was ridiculous. Free air conditioning? Considering we’re paying for the rental of the place, the damn air conditioning better be free.”

“At school I am one of the leaders of C.I.A “

“In the community I have also volunteered at different events such as ‘Free Hugs’ and Police Picnics.”

“But I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel.”

“My body slowly burns from the inside. It is disintegrating, disappearing, changing. Energy is what burns the fat slowly into sweat, like the sun melts wax – slowly. There is no more presence of softness or excess curves. Instead my body is toned. My curves are tight now, whereas once they were buried beneath more unpleasant, unwanted flesh. I look into the mirror and see a stranger.”

“It seems the more advanced we become the easier it becomes for people to commit crime.”

“You are repeating something that makes you different but the fact that you are continually repeating proves that fact that you are staying the same in a way.”

“My interests and participation in activities outside the classroom has made me independent and confident because of the expression of my inner beauty.”

“‘Too much of everything is bad,’ a man once said.”

Re: USA. “In spite of their intervention in World War 2 to impede the drastic war for being more dreadful, they are still noted for being one of the most hated countries in the world.”

“In the life’s of Tupac Amaru Shakur, Christopher Wallace you will find true American poets and role models”

“I am also responsible for contacting the photographer who is required for taking snapshots of our graduates during this special night”

“I am also a member of the Biology Club, participating in dissections to receive observational and practical experience dealing with animal parts.”

“I realized that even the very fundamentals of music would cling onto me permanently”

“‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’, the following aphorism can be used to describe society’s need and love for sports.”

“To summarize, even as everything around us changes from our politicians, to our culture, to our technology, our need for sports and the love that we express towards them on a day to day basis stays the same.”

“Also, I enjoy retail therapy and I know that loads of shopping will not relieve me of my stress, but I always comfort myself by saying how by shopping, I am helping the country’s current economic crisis.”

“The major value in participating in extracurricular activities is that you can take your mind off the burden of school”

“… you can intermingle with them, without having to compete with them to attain the highest grade average.”

“Beyond the classroom you will find more people than there are inside it.”

“If we would have given up on improving the 1885 car, than we would not have cars driving us nowadays.”

Now, I would not be an educator if I did not seek to remedy this… um… misfortune. So for those interested in improving their writing abilities, I recommend Purdue College’s online writing resources.