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Re: On Light: Surviving College

At 08:50 PM 06/11/2001 -0500, brian whatcott wrote:

Richard J Light wrote a book called "Making the Most of College:
Students Speak their Minds" HUP $25

Sounds like the 'wisdom' of 21-22 year old, fresh graduates.
Are you concerned they don't know any better? Or that some guy
is trying to make a buck off their conjectures?

Students should try to get to know at least one faculty member each
semester. Even if they succeed only half the time, four years later
they will know eight people who can write a reference.

Sounds like training in performance mode.
After a couple of decades at a small, private liberal arts college
I taught 350 frosh at a big state university. When I found that the
direct, personal interaction I'd previously been accustomed to was
shunned, I asked one of the students why. She said candidly that most
students paid good money to remain anonymous, except to those
faculty THEY chose to work. A prof there recalled a kid's running up to
him as he left an exam room, asking the prof if he knew who he was and
when he was told 'no', stuffing the overdue exam in the middle of the

"Every day has three halves: morning afternoon and evening. And if I can
devote any one of these three blocks of time to getting my academic work
done, I consider that day a success." Light endorses this undergraduate's
idea of spending appreciable time in one block on study, and not
snacking on study.

Forty-years ago I found to survive I had to budget my time in blocks
of hours or more for each class. A sixty-hour week, including classes
and labs was pretty much routine. I wonder what the typical protocol
is these days.

Finally, students who get involved in extracurricular activities get
the opportunity to connect academics with their personal life.

Seems to me the value of 'extra-curricular' activities is first to provide
relief from their routine. As the adolescent student matures,
connections to their academics may be drawn but the real value is to
provide time-off, rather than additional time-on, the 'job'.

Do many folks, e.g. prospective students' parents, take Newsweek
seriously? If so, perhaps THAT is a problem.

John N. Cooper
Chemistry Department
Bucknell University
Lewisburg PA 17837
VOX 570-577-3673 FAX 570-577-1739