Thoughts and Perspectives

What questions do freshmen have the first week of college?

In my First Year Seminar classes I spent time in three of the four classes (totally forgot in one of them we were having so much fun getting to know each other – bell hooks calls this “engaged pedagogy”) asking them to anonymously write down any question they had about the course, the university, or about me on the first day of class–which was five weeks ago now.

Some were more or less “important” in the big picture, some were serious, some were very silly, but all of the questions show students care and have questions. Additionally, they give an important window to what matters. Even the less important aspects of campus culture, such as food, help make important impressions and can help create positive, productive learning environments. 

In contrast to my post yesterday about having the class discuss such things orally as a group, for some questions and some situations, results are far better when students remain unidentified. Index cards can work wonders here! 

Questions they asked are below. After collecting them and scrambling them, we discussed them as a class. Other students are great resources for helping with other students’ questions.   

  • I’m concerned about succeeding in college. I need some guidance!
  • Is the food good? (three total variations of this)
  • How long has the campus been opened for?
  • Why did UHCL start accepting freshmen? (two total variations of this)
  • How does the UHCL campus compare to UH Main?
  • How can I complete the scavenger hunt when I work fulltime? (three total variations of this)
  • Does UHCL plan on expanding?
  • Can you clarify the assignments?
  • When do we turn in the journals?
  • What assignments do we turn in with our portfolio?
  • How can I create a good organization system?
  • Can the writing center help me with other classes?
  • Why do we do so much “odd” work?
  • Why do we have reading groups?
  • Do the roles change every week?
  • Will this course help me in my other classes? (two total variations of this)
  • Do you recommend transferring to another university after two years?
  • Do you offer any extra credit in this course? (three total variations of this)
  • What is the best part of UHCL?
  • What exactly do we write in our journal responses? (three total variations of this)
  • Do most students enjoy this class?
  • Are there a wide variety of jobs on campus?
  • How early should I get to class?
  • What is your number one piece of advice for surviving college?
  • Will discussions be strictly over the reading assignments?
  • Goku vs Superman?
  • Starwars or Star Trek?
  • What is your favorite book?
  • Favorite movie?
  • What is your favorite dessert?
  • Have you ever seen House M.D.?
  • Which of your surgeries took the longest?
  • Is this the only class you teach?

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