Tag Archives: Critical Thinking and Writing

Food for Thought // Caley Falcocchia

“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What the hell is water?’”

-David Foster Wallace, “This is Water”

When I walked into my English Critical Thinking and Writing (CTW) class on the first day, I had no idea what to expect.  My professor, Nick Leither, showed the class David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech “This is Water.”  After discussing the speech, Professor Nick switched gears and flicked the screen over to the next slide.  The screen displayed the course overview, reading “Food Porn: Reading Food, Self, & Culture.”  Both intrigued and confused, I left class on that first day with two questions.  First off, how can an english class be entirely dedicated to food?  Also, what the hell is water?  I had no clue what was to come during the two quarters of this class.  

I should first explain that I did not sign up for this class.  Every freshman at Santa Clara University (SCU) is randomly placed into a mandatory CTW class before even arriving to campus.  I was honestly quite displeased when I learned that I had been assigned a 7:30-9:10 PM CTW class.  Convinced that my brain would not be capable of attending class at this time of the day, my naive-self even talked to my advisor to see if I could switch into a different CTW section at a different time.  As you can probably guess, my advisor told me to suck it up, and viola- my “Food Porn” CTW class at 7:30-9:10 PM was here to stay for two quarters.  Although I was first unhappy by my CTW course placement, the class and its material caused me to reflect on my lifestyle and personal values, which which will continue to stick with me- not only for the remainder of my college experience- but for the rest of my life.  

Continue reading Food for Thought // Caley Falcocchia

Advertisements

Lets Argue About It // Lauren Kemble

So let me get one thing straight, I need to add more opposition to my paper?? I thought the point was to strengthen my argument, not add more opposition to debunk it. Well it turns out I was wrong as my professor asked the class to help him write the structure of an essay up on the white board. Hook, thesis, explanation. Okay, I’ve got those down, but why is there a separate section for opposition? And what is he writing underneath opposition, support for it?

giphy

Before this class I thought the only opposition was at the beginning of the thesis sentence. You know the classic, “Although ___ (opposition goes here) ___, thesis statement” formula. Slowly I began to realize its more than just a sentence. Through making the detailed outlines for my essay this year, I was able to think through the opposition by supporting it with research. I learned that the stronger the opposition, the stronger the argument.   Continue reading Lets Argue About It // Lauren Kemble

“So,” He Asks Us // Allie Hogan

A man walks into a dingy classroom filled with yellow and green chairs, a brown satchel hanging across his chest.  He smiles at the students, who have been comfortably chatting with each other about school and life, before putting his bag down and switching on his computer to do attendance.  The man checks the room one more time, making sure he didn’t miss anyone, before saying, “okay”.  The students quiet down, and the professor takes a seat in a chair, closing the circle that the class sits in to discuss.  He clasps his hands together and leans over the desk.  “So,” he asks, “What do we think?”.

Walking into my critical thinking and writing class, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, I mean, the class is called Food Porn for crying out loud – what even is that?  I probably thought the class was going to be about gourmet food, or something dumb like that.  I was so focused on this name, Food Porn, that I didn’t think about the class title itself, critical thinking and writing.   Continue reading “So,” He Asks Us // Allie Hogan

Highway to the D̶a̶n̶g̶e̶r̶ Comfort Zone // Emily Wu

Just before I started college this past September, I discovered that embarking on a new milestone mostly meant receiving a flurry of unsolicited advice. From my sleeping schedule (a healthy mix between “you can sleep when you’re dead” and “if you don’t sleep eight hours, you’re gonna regret it”) to my yet-to-be-determined extracurriculars (but God forbid I don’t join any! That was [person A]’s biggest regret — not getting more involved. Plus, [person A] knows a [person B] who [did/didn’t] join a [fraternity/club/sport], and they [loved/regretted] it!), everybody had an opinion on everything.

Continue reading Highway to the D̶a̶n̶g̶e̶r̶ Comfort Zone // Emily Wu

Wake Up and Smell the Roses (Even If There are Some Thorns)//Aria Berluti

6a00d83455b8de69e200e553b1eab38834-800wi

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

Can’t Keep My Thoughts to Myself // Emma Carpenter

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

Conquering Fear, Once and For All // Amrita Ram

Have you ever been terrified? Not just scared, but afraid to close your eyes at night in fear of what nightmares your subconscious will throw up on you. And then, even more afraid to wake up in the morning because you don’t know what reality you’ll be brought into. Continue reading Conquering Fear, Once and For All // Amrita Ram