The summer before coming to Santa Clara University, the school had sent an email to all the freshmen asking us to fill out a questionnaire describing our interests so that they could figure out which critical thinking and writing classes to place us in. The questionnaire read: “are you interested in philosophy? Economics? Science? The environment?” And the list went on. To be honest, when filling it out, I had no idea what I was interested in, so my answers were pretty random. So when I walked into my CTW 1 class on my first day of freshman year, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that the title of the course was “Food Porn,” which I had just discovered an hour before class by checking Camino. Once I arrived, there sat the professor with two books in hand: Slant (written by the professor himself) and Eating Animals, a book about vegetarianism and the meat industry. Oh great, I thought. I should’ve paid more attention to my responses on that questionnaire. Here I was, a meat-eating student from San Francisco who had been listening to the endless arguments for vegetarianism for years and still had no intention of giving up meat. Not only is this professor going to try to convert us all into vegetarians, but he’s also going to try to make us follow the same writing format so that our papers all look the same? Ugh, welcome to freshman English. Needless to say, I left that first day feeling a little salty about this class and wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. Continue reading Wake Up and Smell the Roses (Even If There are Some Thorns)//Aria Berluti
I was uncomfortable from the minute I walked into “Critical Thinking and Writing” at 5:25pm on a Monday–the first day of my college career. I was uncomfortable being in a new state, surrounded by new people who had new interests and perceptions of what was “in” and what wasn’t. I grew even more uncomfortable when my teacher was late and one of my classmates insisted we all get in a circle and chat. That was not me. I was also very intimidated by the idea of critically thinking and thinking for myself. I had become very good at keeping quiet and reading the classroom and then reiterating exactly what I knew the teacher wanted to hear on whatever assessment came up. In fact, if I was directly asked my thoughts on something I would mutter an “I don’t know” and quickly divert my attention. Critical Thinking and Writing? This was not my cup of tea, to say the least.
Continue reading Can’t Keep My Thoughts to Myself // Emma Carpenter
I am a vegetarian and I have no idea why. I would like to say that I have some convoluted yet eloquently verbalized answer to how what I eat changes the world for the better, but I don’t. Continue reading Why the Heck am I a Vegetarian? // Jackson Bordelon
“If we were to one day encounter a form of life more powerful and intelligent than our own, and it regarded us as we regard fish, what would be our argument against being eaten?”(Foer 121)
Over the course of 20 weeks, I never would have thought a core requirement class could possibly affect my life like Critical Thinking & Writing 1 & 2 both have. My attitude towards this class was that I was going to go, participate a little bit, hand in all the assignments, and be done with it and never speak of it again. However, it was the complete opposite. I never would have thought that I would find myself re-watching videos, re-reading books that Professor Leither showed and discussed with us in class. When I first received my schedule and saw that the topic for this class was going to be food, I was very confused. How could a class that is 20 weeks long, three hours and twenty minutes twice a week, possibly be devoted to the subject of food? Over the twenty weeks, Professor Leither has shown me that food is so much more than eating three meals a day, healthy vs. unhealthy food, and the different types of food that exist. One major takeaway from this class will definitely be our many discussions about factory farming and the truth behind it. Continue reading Who do we think we are?// Nicole Vander Helm
“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” – Nathaniel Branden
Since I was a little kid, whenever my parents asked me what I wanted to eat, the answer was simple. MEAT, MEAT, and MORE MEAT. From begging to go to the local McDonald’s for a juicy hamburger or rejoicing when we had our annual summer barbecues, I could not imagine a life or even plate without meat. Vegetables were my enemy and fruits were just mere acquaintances. My friends were Rice and potatoes, meat’s best friends. Never did I consider how meat was produced in the United States or the atrocities committed against violence. Without meat I would go ballistic. At the end of the day, all I cared about was if I had meat on my damn plate for every lunch and dinner, sometimes even breakfast. To say I was ignorant is an understatement. But could you really blame me though? This thought process continued until my freshman year at Santa Clara University.
Continue reading Sharing Knowledge Is Power // Gen Kimura
English sucked. I love writing and I love reading but I hate people telling me how to do it. Why should I analyze a specific way? Why can’t I read a book and write about my own opinion of it? You can probably tell that I didn’t necessarily come into my 7:20 PM (PM!!) CTW class with the rosiest of outlooks. That might actually be an understatement. I thought the class would be pretty much the same as all my other English classes – I’d show up, participate a bit, discuss a little, and write an essay the way that the teacher wanted. I was about as far off base as I could have been. My professor was a man that looked like a grad student; we were sitting in these weird spinny chair in very neon colors, and the only question discussed on the first day was “what is happiness?” Happiness? What? I thought this was an English class?
Continue reading An Education on Apathy // Pranav Swaminathan
When I was a child, I talked an incessant amount to everyone within earshot. The poor souls around me were trapped into conversations my younger self found interesting and my parents, in particular, were subjected to question after question about why the sky is blue, how planes fly, and if we could have McDonald’s for dinner. One night, on the way home from ballet, I distinctly remember apologizing to my father for the constant stream of inquiries, suggesting that I had asked “too many questions.” My father chuckled, looked back at me, and stated that was impossible and that I should never be ashamed for wanting to know more about everything around me. I am lucky to have been blessed with educated parents who support me in all my endeavors.
Continue reading Curiosity Killed the Cat// Annie Martin