Sol G. Says, “Evaluate your courses!”

Did your TA do a great job explaining how to change the perspective of your paper to better express your topic? Did your teacher spend a lot of time preparing presentations for the class?

Did you feel as though the class gave you something unusual and essential for your future career?

Now’s the time to speak up. The student evaluations have a real impact; they are your chance to let the faculty know how they’re doing. If the grading criteria weren’t clear, if they were wonderfully clear… if you liked how they approached the material… if you found one particular TA whose work really helped you… These are the things that they need to know. For example, in one class I took (World Religions, and I highly recommend it for anyone who’s interested in cross-cultural ocmmunications) there was a TA who is an expert on Sharia law and the plight of women in the Middle East. I was lucky to meet her and she had a permanent effect on how I write essays. You bet I write that down in my evaluation of the course.

This year, I’m in Algebra, and yes, I’ll be filling out the evaluation. I hope you will to. They matter.

Another thing I wanted to mention- It’s National Park Week! I hope you’ll take advantage of it, because wherever you live, our National Parks are an amazing resource. Yes, I’m studying for a midterm. But did you know that Boston National Park is right here, with an events calendar to help you find something to do?  These breaks are good for the mind. One thing that I highly recommend is the midnight storytelling program.  At midnight, participants get to retrace Paul Revere’s ride, learning what actually happened. Hint: the poem was not the whole story.

Check out the national parks schedule page, which tells you where you can try anything from wool spinning to scrimshaw carving this week in Boston. It’s a good way to take a short break from studying, and come back to it with a fresh mind!

In the meantime, yes. Studying continues. It’s added a lot to my life, the stability of continuing to study and learn. I’ve been thrown in with a fascinating mix of people in math class, coming to it from all different directions. I have infinite respect for the fellow learning algebra at the same time as his sciences, because that’s got to be hard. I’m learning mine in advance, because I know that math isn’t my most grounded skill yet. I’m going to need a solid understanding before I can even touch biology or medical statistics, let alone the basics of chemical reactions. Hats off to you, fellow learner!

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