The TeleGraham

Bates College through the eyes of a junior returning from abroad

A Great First Class

In my second class of my first day of the new semester, I was taken aback. The professor, who I only knew through one other class, taken two years ago, recognized me and remembered my name. He walked up to me as soon as he entered the room and said, “Graham, right?” I replied, “You got it.” And he pointed out, “I see you’ve moved from sitting in the back of the class to the front in four semesters.” Later, while reviewing the syllabus, he announced, “Graham here works at the Ronj, and has previously arranged video showings for my class. Can we do that again this year?”

I am not surprised when certain professors remember me. Some classes are particularly small, or some classes I take advantage of office hours and get lots of essay feedback. But that wasn’t the case when I took Western Political Theory. I did sit more in the back, kept a lower profile, and blended in to the forty person class. How this professor remembered who I was is a mystery. But the only thing I have to say is: TAKE A CLASS WITH BILL CORLETT! He really is a great professor and his classes are always very popular (his courses cover great topics like Marxism and LGTB issues). But even though I know a ton of students who always show up to his office hours and talk to him about political activism, he still remembers the names of the quiet kids in the back row.    

-Graham

January 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Great First Class

May I introduce you to the T-Rex

Even though I am still at home and don’t leave for school until next week, I am already getting prepared for next semester. Because this semester, I will write my thesis.

If you have read any of the admissions materials on Bates, then you have heard that every senior completes a thesis. The point of this project is centered around the writing experience at Bates, and the thesis along with the First Year Seminar, is bookend our college education. Seniors take this in either one of four ways: 1) Some students don’t care for the writing process and therefore are just in it to finish it. 2) Other students see this project as an opportunity to give a cumulation of everything they’ve learned in college, so they have something to mail home to grandma and say “See how smart I am?” 3) Then there is another set of students who see the senior thesis as a time to engage in a specific pet project for a semester with their favorite professor and, more or less, write the giant essay that they’ve always wanted to write about on the subject they’ve learned to love most in college. 4) Still, in the final category, there are students who see the thesis as a platform from which they can compose a serious document that can be attached to their graduate school application. In the past, as professors have explained to me, an elegant thesis and a good recommendation from one’s advisor can get students into the most competitive of graduate programs, no  matter their GPA.  

Students usually fluctuate between these categories. If I had to label myself, I think I would fall under the third. The T-Rex (the thesis, as some students call it) for me is more about having fun and engaging in one last brutal and bloody wrestle with a topic I have learned to love in my college career, Philosophy of Religion. Though I haven’t picked a specific topic yet I know I want to write about Science and Religion, mainly the specific effects of Quantum Theory, Relativity, Big Bang, and Evolution on modern theology. Or how scientific development have influenced theological ethics and our understanding of our relationship to the natural world. This comprises a huge genre of literature, and I don’t know exactly what I am going to focus on or what my view point will be. But I know my advisor, and so as soon as I get back to Maine we will hit the ground running.

I’m excited for the thesis writing process to begin, though I know how challenging it will be and how hard my professor will critique my essays. But also, if anything, I think this semester allow me to have a little more fun than last semester. I will be taking three classes (all of which should be great) and writing my thesis. 

I will continue updating with photos as soon as I leave Kentucky and get back to Vacationland…. I mean school.

-Graham

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on May I introduce you to the T-Rex

Best Classes (Hardest Semester)

Hello all,

It has been a long time since my last blog post. To recap, let me just say that taking five classes in one semester is a very BAD idea. The work load is almost entirely unmanageable, even if you love all of your classes as I did.

Of all of the classes I have had at Bates, two have stood out from the rest. The first was Philosophy of Law, which I took in the winter of my sophomore year. Philosophy of Law, though the name may not grab you, is one of the most popular classes at Bates. Simply, it breaks down into three parts that are weaved together throughout the semester: 1) What is law? 2) How ought we to read the US Constitutions? 3) Analysis and critiques of famous US Supreme Court rulings. The class attracts a diverse range of students, half of which probably intend to go to law school sometime after graduation. Yet, even for students like me, who don’t want to go on to law school, it is one of the most practically informative classes and has changed the way I think and feel about the Constitution.

But the second best class I took was this past semester. It is a 100 level Geology course but it is based on field studies. It is with a really cool professor who prefers you to call him by his first name (Dyk, nobody knows who you are talking about when you say Professor Eusden) and you get to see a lot of the Maine countryside. I bring this up because I think it would be a prefect class to take if you were coming to Bates in the fall as a new Freshmen (or “First Year”, as they college officially calls them).  I think all of the First Years thought the class was cool for three main reasns. 1) It is small for a 100 level class (25 students or so). 2) It is an easy way to see some of the highlights of Maine, like Acadia National Park, Vinalhaven Island, and Baxter State Park. And 3) Though the class was a 100 level introductory course, it wasn’t structured around generic broad Power Point presentation that resulted in arduous multiple choice tests at the end of the semester. Rather, the class was focused on case studies in the field and therefore the grades were based on group projects like map making and posters on the mechanics of a particular magma chambers. 

Field Studies in Geology is no “rocks for jocks” kind of class. I took it for fun and it ended up dominating the end of my semester, along with my other four classes (two of which were upper level seminars), and so I never got around to updating my blog. But now I am back.

-Graham

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Best Classes (Hardest Semester)