When I first headed off to college as a bright-eyed, greenbehind- the-ears freshman almost four years ago, I was given a rather strange piece of advice from a beloved teacher: “Don’t let your classes get in the way of learning.” I thought I understood what he meant and how to implement this suggestion: don’t obsess about grades and professors, embrace the intellectual life, continue to read broadly, converse with smart people and invest yourself purely for the love of the thing you’re studying. Easy enough. Yeah, right. For those of us who live in reality, this sounds simple for about … Continue reading Preserving learning during education Engagement outside the classroom is part of the liberal arts spirit
By: Michael Petrany There is a curious disease that seems to afflict Western civilization, at least in recent times. It has infected almost every stratum of society, from the corporate boardroom to the kindergarten class. Far more educated people than myself have referred to it as the “extrovert ideal” — that is, a societal expectation that extroversion is the norm and that properly functioning human beings should be outspoken, assertive and the life of the party. More introverted persons can be labeled as antisocial, lacking confidence or held back by their “inhibitions.” And this ideal is, I contend, a big … Continue reading Introversion: a salve for today’s social world
By: Michael Petrany All I want for Christmas is a good grade on my senior thesis. This time of year is always one of frenzy, whether of the commercial or academic variety. The latter hits closer to home here at Xavier: many of us are less concerned with wrapping presents than with wrapping up term papers and thesis drafts, sending off abstracts to conferences and editing manuscripts for possible publication (fingers crossed). All of these things, it seems, are necessary (but not sufficient) to get on the “nice” list of academia. Specifically, unless you want coal in your stocking, or … Continue reading Fledgling Professionals: Undergraduate research is a bittersweet practice that pays off while excessively burdening students
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