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FYex 101: The First Year Experience Seminar, Agenda, Spring '07.
Dr. Jeremy Lewis, Flowers 209, ext. 4521.  Page revised 28 Jan. '07.
NO classes, Spring '07: 8-9 Mar. (winter break), 26-30 Mar. (spring break), 6 Apr. (Good Friday), W 11 Apr. (Senior test), T 8 May (Dead Day).

Introduction | Who's Who at HC | Time management | Honor Code | Professors | Test Anxiety |
Careers | Diversity | More Diversity | Communications | Money | Service/ Finals | Evaluations

  • Week 1, NO MONDAY CLASS (ONLY WED-FRI)
  • Week 2, M Jan. 22:Introduction to the Course,
  • Discuss Syllabus
  • Icebreakers
  • Getting to Know You
  • Week 3, M Jan. 29:Who's Who and Where's Where
  • Use of College People and Resources -- check the phone list for HC staff offices.
  • Know the office and extension of your academic adviserfor you rmajor field.
  • Business, Accounting, Economics, Psychology -- Wilson
  • Business Office, FInancial Aid, Registrar  -- Cloverdale
  • Dean of Arts & Sciences, designated Academic Dean (signs forms) -- Cloverdale
  • Humanities --  Flowers
  • Human Performance, Education -- Cloverdale
  • Mailroom, snack bar, bookstore -- Delchamps
  • Music -- Smith
  • Religion -- Jackson home
  • Residential Life, Dean of Students -- Hut
  • Sciences -- Bellingrath and Pratt
  • Stallworth dining room -- back of dining hall
  • Tech team, copy shop -- basement of Flowers
  • Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction Resources
  • Most common needs are writing and math tutoring.
  • Study group may help each member by pooling skills.
  • Notes are useful -- when you actually review them.
  • Do try DVD programs -- and live language tables at lunch -- for languages and mathematics.
  • Practice makes perfect.
  • Week 4, M Feb. 5: Time Management
  • The daily triangle is equilateral:
  • 8 hours work, 8 hours sports, play or cultural enhancement, 8 hours sleep.
  • Work only counts class, lab, reading, writing, problem solving.
  • Anything else comes out of the play category!
  • Be sure to "read around" your subjects on materials that are not required for any one class.
  • Cultural enhancement: try classical music, Shakespeare Theatre, dance, World Affairs Council, ISA banquet.
  • Take every chance you can to particpate and lead in HC major field clubs.
  • Three hours study on average needed for each hour of class time.
  • (includes heavy periods of study or writing, averaged with quiter periods.)
  • Sleeping short catches up with you in less than three weeks.
  • Pulling an all nighter catches up with you next day!
  • Sports -- even serious team commitments -- come out of play time, not out of study time.
  • Midnight cramming empties your brain.  Not a good idea before a test.
  • On a written project, put down your thoughts, plans and work up a bibliography early.
  • Writing to deadline for some people works well -- provided you laid the groundwork early.
  • In college, if not in all high schools, deadlines usually come with penalties.
  • Week 5, M Feb. 12: "On My Honor:" The Honor Code
  • Introduction to Values
  • Academic values are based on openness, learning and sharing.
  • Openness depends on trust that information will be used fairly.
  • Academic values uphold culture and learning over hedonism.
  • Academic values uphold truth even where it embarrasses or conflicts with power.
  • Academic freedom to research and speak -- implies tolerance for alternative views
  • (Bring student handbook to class).
  • Honor code is open ended: comply with academic and ethical principles.
  • trust & flexibility: e.g. leaving test for bathroom trip; make-up tests may be unsupervised.
  • brings equity: you, who work hard, know others don't get off cheap.
  • violating code is hated by students: J board students are claimed harsher than faculty.
  • self-responsibility for behavior and reporting violations.
  • requirement to confront others is sometimes the hardest.  It takes leadership.
  • Can you give examples where you have stood up for ethics in face of peer pressure?
  • Cheating: Surveys show US freshmen  no longer recognize cheating as evil.
  • Not just copying answers, which avoids learning.
  • Not just dishonest responses.
  • Observe rules on group work or individual projects.
  • Plagiarism is using others' work as your own.
  • Essays and short "think pieces" which do not need citations may have different rules from research papers.
  • Improper citation on a formal research paper may be taken as plagiarism.
  • When in doubt, check with instructor on the ground rules for the specific written project.
  • It is wise to build good credibility early, for it may carry you through difficulties later.
  • Off campus behavior counts also:
  • let's not embarrass our friends & college by public drunkenness, rudeness.
  • Drugs and Alcohol Lessons: Healthy Living
  • Attrition of freshmen due to distractions.
  • Adult living means making own choices.
  • Aristotle: Good man has good habits.
  • regular meals, sensible diet, 8 hours of sleep nightly.
  • Temptations to excess: alcohol, drugs, sexuality.
  • Optimize, don't maximize.
  • As adults, if questioning rules of morality, should focus on the damage done by excessive consumption. (Utilitarian ethics better than none?)
  • The point of banning substances is that they are harmful to the body.
  • Public health issues usually reinforce moral rules.
  • Social habits: Good reputation is all you have -- and it lasts for years.
  • In freshman months, unfair dating leads to bad reputation; fair behavior leads to better social repute.
  • Letting down your friends, breaking appointments -- send messages to your associates.
  • "Man is the sum of his acts." -- Jean-Paul Sartre.
  • Week 6, M Feb. 19: Etiquette and eMail - How To Talk and Get Along with College Professors
  • Doctor means "learned" in Latin.  Address faculty who hold the PhD degree as Dr. X, or Professor X.
  • other faculty may be learned also, but you can safely address them as "Professor".
  • Meet with your instructors and advisers during their office hours at least once per term, even if all is going fine.
  • Building a relationship with questions about their subjects go help you greatly when you have a later problem.
  • Keep appointments, especially if outside normal office hours.
  • Get to know the emphases of your faculty -- some are more focussed on rules, others on good content.  Some are sticklers for good writing, others for good preparation.
  • By knowing them, you will not be misled by rumors from other students.
  • Visit with an instructor for about ten minutes -- only stay longer if you have a serious issue to discuss.
  • If the instructor's body language indicates you can continue the discussion, then OK.
  • If an instructor invites you to a research assistantship, a class home dinner, or a cafe seminar -- take it! These are great opportunities that no longer exist in many universities.
  • Credibility is vital in the relationship
  • be sure to follow through on any promises; reliability is essential to credibility
  • a student who is punctual to class, and attends regularly, has more credibility when asking to be excused from a class session.
  • a student who achieves top grades has much more credibility when asking to repeat a "blown" test.
  • When you have a problem that needs a favor from the instructor, you will more likely succeed it:
  • you confess your sins, apologize, explain the mitigating circumstances
  • you are aware that you are asking for a discretionary favor, and ask politely
  • you only give one rationale or excuse
  • you are willing to make-up a test at the instructor's convenience -- not just when you fancy it.
  • you keep the appointment time, and show up a few minutes early.
  • When you have a really serious problem, such as plagiarism or cheating:
  • if innocent, explain why, politely but firmly.  Try to bring evidence of innocence or a witness.
  • Remember than an administrator or teacher must uphold ethics -- and does not have perfect information.
  • if guilty, confess your sins, apologize, explain the mitigating circumstances -- and only then request a reasonable solution, such as repeating work or doing extra work.
  • be polite -- you are not in a position to be combative.
  • When you observe cheating among others:
  • according to the Honor code, you are not to tolerate this.
  • for a minor issue: tip off the instructor, perhaps without naming names, in a way that enables the instructor to prevent further occurrences
  • for a major issue, consult the Student Handbook on taking the issue to Judicial Board.
  • Week 7, M Feb. 26: Test Anxiety and Study Skills
  • Tutoring Help Slide: [PPT] [HTML]
  • Punctual and regular attendance correlates with success. Reminder: 3rd absence means sudden death in FYex.
  • Listening, note taking and review.  How long an attention span do you have?
  • Study groups are part of your social life.
  • They correlate with success -- if there is a good social dynamic.
  • Extra-curricular lectures are really co-curricular: they help you with future courses in ways you do not plan.
  • Library skills: visit librarians; Nordis Smith (analogue) and Brenda Kerwin (electronic).
  • As soon as you have your homework assignment, before they are too busy.
  • Develop bibliography early, and order Inter Library Loan books.
  • Writing in structured way, preparing and organizing thoughts:
  • which works for you? prose, tables, diagrams or outline.
  • Are you visual, auditory, or textual learner?
  • Communication with instructors (type of assignment, purpose, delays, absences.)
  • Ask what kind of study habits work for their classes, seminars or labs.
  • Course grade formula, absence policy and rules awareness: instructors vary.
  • Some emphasize a few major graded projects like exams and papers, others give weekly quizzes.
  • Schools now have over 25% sudden death rule on absences.
  • Instructors may enforce "drop dead" deadlines -- others allow make-ups.
  • Steady, regular study works much better than desperate midnight hours.
  • Music and Languages need to be practiced daily to enjoy any improvement.
  • Midnight papers only work if you have gathered sources in advance, then
  • "When a man knows he is to be hanged in the morning, it concentrates the mind." -- Dr. Johnson.
  • Work on your weaknesses -- extra study group time for math, languages or whatever ails ya.
  • Second half of term, avoid attendance and study drop off, as you tackle homework projects.
  • Homework: meet with a professor for advising and return the meeting form, filled in, by Friday.
  • Week 8, M Mar. 5: Lunch discussion in Russell Dining Hall.  Look for our table.
  • Week 9, M Mar 12: Career Planning
  • Consider your skills and match them to the best fit career, not just the most lucrative.
  • Week 10, M Mar. 19: Career Services
  • Week 11, M Apr. 2: "Get Over Yourself: Diversity I".
  • One of the most common experiences of going away to college or the military is being confronted by people of different cultures and personalities than in your home town and family.
  • It doesn't matter where we come from, we are always going to be the odd one out in a different region or country.
  • The theory of the marketplace of ideas holds that truth is best discovered when all ideas compete in debate, and evidence is marshalled to support each argument.
  • This requires academic freedom to research and speak -- and implies tolerance for alternative views
  • You might think that the Britain from which I came is socially homogenous.  But even there, diversity has been an issue.
  • In the nineteenth century, it took a statute law to open universities in Ireland to Roman Catholics -- the majority of the population.
  • Now in the UK (Southern Ireland is now the separate republic of Eire) the government supports muslim as well as protestant and catholic public schools.
  • You may think I'm English, and you'd be correct -- but my father was beaten up in elementary school for not speaking English.  He was a Welsh immigrant, and spoke only Welsh (a form of gaelic). The wesh for a flag is "baner", good morning is pronounced "boro dah", and Wales is Cymru (pronounced "Cumree").
  • Now when I visit Wales, the street signs have welsh language first and English second. For names, there may only be one letter different -- but try reading quickly in welsh "Trucks over 3 tons cannot cross this bridge except on Sundays, or if they have more than two axles".
  • Wales is a country of unemployed steelworkers (including my grandfather) and coal miners.  But more Welsh now live in England -- and many are successful teachers, actors and playwrights.
  • Rugby football is the Welsh national game -- and passion.  The new national lottery now pays for a grand Welsh stadium, so they no longer have to play in the mud of Caerdiff /Cardiff.  However, for some years -- unthinkably -- they have been beaten by the English.
  • I have a southern English accent, which northerners consider upper class.  But when I was a boy, my parents were poorly-paid art teachers, my mother only part time.
  • My boyish stereotypes of the United States came from television (we got a little black & white set when I was about eight years old.  I vaguely recall the cuban missiles (1962), and definitely president Kennedy's assassination (1963), and the Selma police riot (1965).
  • I drew many picture stories as a boy.  The Americans were known to be richer and everything was bigger and better.
  • We had double-decker buses -- so I drew American buses with five decks.
  • I knew that Americans were violent, bold and very masculine.  That's still true.
  • We played Lone Ranger and Tonto, Zorro and Cisco kid, based on American TV.
  • I drew cowboys constantly shooting each other and indians.  When, as an adult, I met real cowboys in Texas, I found them very gentle fellas who looked after livestock and loved horses.
  • We usually, out a sense of fair play, had the indians beat the cowboys -- and sometimes the robbers beat the cops.
  • When I arrived in New York, as a freshman in 1974, cops (not "bobbies") had guns in quick draw holsters, and when i asked for directions, they were gruff to the point of rudeness.
  • The subway (not "tube") had incorrect signs and mismatched colours (green train, purple platform).
  • All the street signs were unbelievably ugly, and with words rather than icons.
  • The taxis were battered and ugly, then resprayed a ghastly yellow.
  • People dropped rubbish on the street in front of me.
  • I sat down on a bench next to a gentle-looking old man.  When a large black woman lolled by, he spat out "fat piece o' trash".
  • The money -- whether one dollar or twenty -- was all the same size and colour.
  • In Port Authority greyhound bus station, I was accosted by dozens of beggars in a few minutes.
  • To get there, i walked past numbers of streetwalkers, colourfully (and tightly) dressed, calling out brazen offers to me.
  • When I first visited California, still a naif freshman, I couldn't believe my eyes:
  • In long Beach, my friends smoked pot on the streets -- but were shocked when I "jay walked" across the street without using the crosswalk.
  • I was startled that college girls could afford a car and a nice apartment on just a part time job -- and the apartment held waterbeds and boyfriends.
  • The local high school held a fancy prom, put out a music record of the marching band, and had huge locker rooms for sports -- but it had no string quartet, orchestra, and very limited writing ability in the students.
  • American young women were brought up to be brash and loud, just like the men.
  • Female cheerleaders shouted LOUDLY, jumped in the air and showed their underwear to the crowd -- who roared with approval.
  • At Dodger stadium, people drove cars (no buses or trains) and there was a huge traffic jam to exit.  Hot dogs were big enough to feed an entire family.
  • I couldn't walk among museums in Los Angeles without crossing huge roads (eight lanes across) and fences.  There were no footbridges and not many pavements (sidewalks).
  • There was no public transport, yet when I hitchhiked with a female friend thorugh downtown LA and Watts, my cousins were shocked that i had done something so dangerous.
  • I had just completed by freshman year of reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics.  When I asked my cousin what she had "read" in college, she had "majored in sailing and men".
  • At home, my cousins lived in a suburb that was about five miles square without a footbridge, a bus stop or a town centre.  They couldn't believe I couldn't drive anything except a bicycle.
  • Working in an entertainment park, I had to take a three-hour "orientation" about making sure customers had FUN. I was a busboy clearing carts of waste food in the chicken dinner restaurant.
  • I had to live off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at lunch for two months, since I couldn't afford the chicken meals that we were serving. People complained about British food.
  • I loved the Watergate hearings on television.
  • Many people told me Watergate was a communist plot. President Nixon resigned on Aug. 10, 1974.
  • I couldn't afford solid food on my Greyhound bus travels for two or three days at a time -- just soup and hot water for a magic powder called "instant breakfast".
  • Numerous people told me about the wonders of free enterprise and pioneers -- and the evils of welfare.
  • Well, of course, I have since married an American, raised two American daughters, and after 9/11/01, obtained for citizenship.
  • The point is, that every culture seems bizarre at first -- to a foreigner seeing it for the first time.
  • Week 12, M Apr. 9: More Diversity
  • Prof. Harald Rohlig spoke in Fall @Ligon Chapel, and we can use notes from his lecture.
  • Dr. Rohlig grew up a methodist preacher's son in Germany in the 1930s.
  • He became our organ scholar and professor for half a century.
  • Methodism was considered by the Nazi party a "gutter religion", and his family was oppressed.
  • When the Nazis rose to power he was drafted into the Hitler Jugend (Youth) and the Luftwaffe (air force).
  • His story is one of the most compelling you will ever hear.
  • Workbook questions [Form] (lecture is live, and may vary this year, but most questions will likely apply):
  • How was Methodism treated in the Nazi state?
  • What kinds of topics were discussed in the family kitchen in the evenings?
  • Why was his family shunned by shopkeepers?
  • What forms of pressure "encouraged" him to join the Hitler Youth?
  • What was the significance of cleanliness in the culture?
  • What kind of training did the Hitler Youth provide?
  • What happened at the synagogue as he watched?
  • How did this emanate from the theology of Martin Luther?
  • How did he find himself engaged in the second world war?
  • What were his duties in the Luftwaffe (air force)?
  • When he encountered an American soldier on a night patrol, how did he survive?
  • How did Dr. Rohlig's war end?
  • Just how differently does the world view differ from the American view?  Let's take a global survey of some salient issue, and examine the differences among countries.
  • Pew global attitudes survey, July 2005 finds contrast between muslim and non-muslim publics in attitudes to Islamist terrorism.  [Chart and summary by Dr. Lewis]
  • What's the culture in the HC dorms towards these individuals (for example, do you sit together at lunch or share conversations in the dorm with):
  • a foreign student -- does she get asked interested questions about her own country?
  • a jewish student or neighbor -- do prayers get adjusted to remove "In Jesus name", to be sensitive?
  • a gay or lesbian student -- does one ever get asked to share with hetero dorm friends about being in a minority?
  • a member of a white supremacy group such as the national alliance -- do you engage in a reasonable conversation about race relations?
  • an African American student (who's not on the same sports team as you)?
  • Week 13, M Apr. 16: Communications before going home.
  • Mature way to return home:
  • clean clothes, well organized, modest, respectful.
  • just more knowledgeable and grown up.
  • rebellion against parents is immature.
  • you're living independently at college; be responsible at home.
  • Your family and friends will be perplexed by the New You.  They won't have changed as much as you in the last fifteen weeks!
  • You may be bursting with new ideas -- some of these sound out of left field to the folks at home.
  • While your professor uses a purely hypothetical scenario, you may breathlessly relate it sounding real.
  • Your family probably needs some preparation before you tell them -- hypothetically -- how you should parade naked down main street, while advocating for "lesbian nuns protecting the rights of unborn animals in outer space" (or some other group)!
  • You have learned the excitement of critical thinking -- they may feel you are negating all their ideas.
  • You will have met classmates with totally different lifestyles from other regions, religions or countries.  The home folks have only met the regulars at Jenny-Sue's beauty shop, live bait and tackle.
  • You have met thirty five new friends and enjoyed five new dates.  Your home town honey sat up at night, lighting candles besides the photo of you wearing a high school haircut.  You might take a moment to prepare before you blurt out the good news.
  • You will have been writing exams and papers frantically for two weeks before you saddle up the ole mule and trot home.  Your family -- having proudly sent off the future lawyer or doctor -- won't be expecting a white-faced, stressed-out, gibbering idiot to clamber off the mule.
  • Now for the World-Famous "My Big Brother Roger anecdote" about perplexing changes to a personality during freshman term:
  • When he returned home after freshman term, my brother's clothes were badly fouled and he was pursued by evangelical letters peppered with random biblical quotations.  What on earth had changed him?  My father ceremonially burnt his clothes and filled all his coffee mugs in Ajax cleaning /disinfectant paste, and we settled down to hear the story.
  • Break 'em in gently to the new you.
  • Remember to ask family and friends about their experiences.  If you only babble on about your own, folks at home will think you don't care about their lives at all.
  • Make sure you have paid your bills and completed all requirements in courses.
  • Your folks are probably sacrificing to send you to college.  Thank them for the opportunity.
  • After the earthquake of your going off to college, the folks at home don't need any unpleasant aftershocks!
  • Week 14, M Apr. 23: Money and Credit Management.
  • Students, nationwide, often are not used to managing money, and often bounce checks.
  • Credit ratings are vital in American society for borrowing money for a house or a car.
  • How should we build credit ratings now for our future?
  • How can we find out our credit rating?
  • Compound interest, and compound growth.
  • How does compounding make the first ten years of savings into the majority of all the resources you have by the time you retire?
  • How badly does an unpaid credit card hit you after 12 months? (18% interest typically, plus any fees).
  • At 10% interest, how long does it take to double your money? (7 years).  At 20%? (3 years).
  • Spreadsheet display: different interest rates compounded make exponential curves of misery!  You may be shocked at how quickly you dig a hole for yourself on 18% credit terms.
  • Economic trade-offs: the iPod or the rent?
  • Let's work out a monthly budget for rent, car, phone, food and clothes.
  • After taking your first full time paycheck, will you actually have money left over?
  • Sage advice: spend your scholarship money or paycheck first on essentials, like rent and basic food.  Save 10% automatically.  Only use the remainder for inessential items.
  • The best investment you can make is higher education, which pays off seven times over.
  • Some subjects pay better than others.
  • Some subjects require a longer training than others.
  • Often the less well paid career is a more attractive option -- it's a trade off.
  • Work fewer hours for pay as a student -- take extra classes and graduate early.  Then you can earn a full salary one term early.  The investment pays off in just about three -four years
  • Week 15, M Apr. 30: Service to the community through Investment in College
  • discussion of money management, Exam preparation, view of first term experience and questions at home
  • Spreadsheet display: different interest rates compounded make exponential curves of misery!  You may be shocked at how quickly you dig a hole for yourself on 18% credit terms.
  • Opportunity cost (trade-offs you make when choosing):
  • college versus not college
  • cash down versus credit with interest
  • clean credit rating versus minimum payments, falling behind on payments
  • what you can save up for (travel experience spending money, car, grad school)
  • spending money now (cell phones, movies, ipods, dinners out)
  • investment (books, tuition)
  • Reactions from folks at home over Thanksgiving?
  • did they find you had changed?
  • what were the most common (or most obnoxious) questions?
  • how different was the experience of your HS classmates at other colleges (or in jobs)?
  • How do you feel different after a term away from home?
  • in personal maturity?
  • in academic development?
  • How can you prepare for comprehensive final exams and completion of papers?
  • keeping steady: power naps? cool, calm and collected? midnight cramming?
  • methods? multi choice versus essays, problems?
  • cues from different instructors, different disciplines?
  • making your own schedule -- check registrar's web site.
  • Week 16: F May. 11: Evaluation (required) at 11:30 in regular FYex classroom.
  • How can we improve the FYex course?
  • Feedback from the first round led to major improvements in the second year.
  • Take your shot at democracy while you have it.
  • Final Exams Study Plan



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