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’ll always remember my brother telling me “ignorance of a law is not an excuse to break the law.” This seemed really strange to me, as I wondered how everyone could possibly know every law in every city in every part of the world. I’ve come to realize that what my brother said to me those many years ago is true, not just in judicial hearings, but in everyday life.
So often people choose to do what is easiest for them. They choose to drive a car because it is easier than walking home. They choose to go to McDonalds because it is easier than picking up groceries at the supermarket and cooking a meal. And more often than not, they choose to ignore underlying problems when dealing with intense issues, such as animal cruelty, sustainability, and violence. However, it is crucial for one to educate themselves on important issues in order to gain greater understanding of a situation and generate a clear opinion. Continue reading A-What?-Ness // Ana Maria Vidaurri
There’s this mentality in society that we are only mere blips in the world. As humans, on an individual basis, there’s this perception that what we say or do doesn’t matter in the large-scale. People think, ‘What difference could I possibly make?’ Sure, we may say that everyone matters and everyone is capable of greatness, but you only see that kind of stuff on movies and television shows. It isn’t real. These are fabrications made by people who know what the public wants to hear. We want to hear that everything is possible and the world is at our fingertips, but the reality is that the world kind of sucks.
Continue reading I Promise, I’m Not a Cynic // Nithya Kiron
“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
It’s true. I slept with my professor. My relationship with Nicholas Leither began on September 15th, 2015. I had just moved into my dorm early, four days before move-in day, with my roommate Gary Schlatter to prepare for a camping trip. The camping trip was through a school-sponsored program called, “Into the Wild,” which takes Santa Clara University students on outdoor activities ranging from surfing and skiing, to hiking and camping.
Continue reading I Slept With My Professor // Sean Driscoll