Archive | June, 2011

¡Pura Vida! Preston Whitt takes Costa Rica

30 Jun

This post is written by UHP junior Preston Whitt.

Preston Whitt

Preston Whitt

¡Pura vida!

That’s what every Costa Rican says.  To everything.  It can mean ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’, ‘that’s great!’, or ‘Man, the bus was so late, and then I had to walk in the rain and slipped and fell into a pile of garbage but now I’m finally here.’  Seriously, anything.

This program in Costa Rica is a FREE intensive Spanish class, worth 4 credits, and open to any GW student doing a GW Latin America program in the autumn semester.  We live with host families, who make us coffee (which is a thousand times better in the source country), feed us breakfast and dinner (the national dish is rice and beans with fried sweet plantains) and wash our silly gringo clothes (guys don’t wear shorts here, even though there is 700% humidity).  During the week we have a lot of class: presentations, essays, and hours of lessons, but then there are several excursions planned for the weekends, with everything included as well, and a few open weekends so students can make their own plans.

Continue reading

How to: Live with 6 people in Thurston

29 Jun

Penina and roomies

Penina and (most of) her roomies on move-out day

This post is written by sophomore UHPer Penina Smith.

I never thought I’d say this when I first learned that I would have FIVE(!) roommates, but living in a six in Thurston Hall is one of the best living situations available. Continue reading

The Difference between Courses and Curriculum

27 Jun
Head Scratcher

It's easy! Don't be confused.

We know there’s a bit of confusion out there among incoming freshmen about what courses to schedule.  Here’s some help:

A curriculum explains generally the program of study.  For example, a curriculum might be “2 courses in natural science, 2 courses in language, and 2 courses in fine art.”  A curriculum typically lists large categories under which many courses may fall.  Sometimes, a curriculum can be very specific and may identify a specific course.

Course offerings explain in detail what courses are offered during a semester.  Courses might be “Astronomy, Spanish II, Black and White Photography.”  Course offerings have a title, a description, professor name, a day and time, and often lists what other requirements the course may fulfill or courses it may be equivalent to.

So, when you see what’s required in your curriculum, don’t start looking for a class called “natural science.”  Look for a class that fulfills that requirement of your curriculum, like “Astronomy.”  College courses are a bit different than most high school courses, and you’re less likely to find cookie-cutter factory style courses (especially in the Honors Program), so make sure to read the course description to understand what course you’re signing up for.

For the Honors Program, you can find our curriculum here. You can find our course offerings here.

Physics is People, Too [Awesome New UHPer Blog]

17 Jun

UHPer Brandon Minor started a blog this summer that you should all definitely check out. He’s right in noting that a lot of people claim that they don’t like “science” / think it’s useless / don’t understand the point of learning.  He’s even more right in noting that most of those people are missing out on something magnificent and profound.  Of course, if you’ve always said you’re just “not a science person,” don’t worry, you don’t  have to miss out anymore.  From his blog:

Well, I have come up with some rebuttals. You see, in all of its supposed complication and intricacy, Physics is nothing more than the science of change. And, as many of us have experienced first-hand, change happens all the time; anyone who notices this is already a type of scientist. Just like the world around us, change itself is ever-changing, you could say.
Or not. I probably wouldn’t, it’s a strange turn of phrase. But you understand.
The goal of this blog is to share with you, dear reader, my sense of wonder and, more importantly, the reason why I’m a scientist. Most teachers fail to put the science in context, which is 100% of the fun. I’ll even admit, the fact that a ball goes up and down is not exciting in itself; anyone who took basic physics in high school will tell you that. Yet it was the idea that prompted Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and hundreds of other great minds to think long and hard about what makes the world go ‘round (in several cases, literally) and transform our universe from one of chance to one of intricate order, from one of blind faith to one of incredible utility.
We highly encourage you to check out his blog, follow it with your RSS readers and enjoy.  Keep it up, Brandon!

A Message for Recent Grads [Good Articles]

3 Jun

Here’s an excellent read by David Brooks in the NY Times for all recent grads.  By now, most of you who have graduated are aware of the strange disconnect between common graduation rhetoric and the reality of the world you’re now in.  Brooks has some extremely insightful words on exactly why that may be, and he points to the “baby boomer theology” as the culprit.  You

From the article:

College grads are often sent out into the world amid rapturous talk of limitless possibilities. But this talk is of no help to the central business of adulthood, finding serious things to tie yourself down to. The successful young adult is beginning to make sacred commitments — to a spouse, a community and calling — yet mostly hears about freedom and autonomy.

Today’s graduates are also told to find their passion and then pursue their dreams. The implication is that they should find themselves first and then go off and live their quest. But, of course, very few people at age 22 or 24 can take an inward journey and come out having discovered a developed self.