Yikes – New Students Arrive Today!

In which I describe in great detail my panicked yet joyous feelings as the school year begins.

these are random freshmen from some other school... but you get the ideaNew students arrive on campus today. Yikes!

To Do:

  • Brush my teeth really well, including my tongue so my breath doesn’t stink.
  • Shave head. Carefully. We don’t want a repeat of that incident when I missed a patch and looked like a Who from Whoville.
  • Trim edges of beard. The difference between an epic prophet beard and a crazy cult leader beard is surprisingly hard to define, but raggedy beard edges have something to do with it. That, and neck hair. Say no to the throat beard.
  • Print literature for tabling: new student devotional guide, Why Jesus? essay, The Jesus FAQ.
  • Practice smiling in the mirror.
  • Double check on throat hair.

P.S. I don’t think I’ve publicized it here, but I put a new writing online. I mention it above in the “print literature” bullet point – it’s a ten-day devotional guide for new students called Thrive. It, along with all my other writings, is indexed here.

Look, Ma. I’m in the Stanford Review.

Stephen Colbert in IraqI was recently interviewed by the Stanford Review (a student publication) for an article analyzing the Supreme Court’s decision in CLS vs Martinez as it relates to Stanford (a case I have previously written about).

As is almost always the case with interviews, I said way more than they had space to include in the final article. Since the interview was via email, I have the full text of my remarks available. I should note that Autumn Carter, the interviewer, asked me several questions I declined to answer.

So here’s what I had to say:

SR: What is your opinion towards the Supreme Court’s ruling in general? With regard to Stanford?

Me: The Supreme Court’s logic would not apply at most public universities since the case at UC Hastings is so unique, and it will have no direct impact at all on private universities such as Stanford. And I hasten to point out that the case has been remanded back to a lower court for a closer examination of some factual issues. The Christian Legal Society alleges that UC Hastings enforced its policies unequally and in a discriminatory manner, something which the Supreme Court believes merits further investigation.

But to get bogged down in the legal maneuvering is to miss the essence of the case. For a university to force a Christian ministry to accept leaders who do not share its beliefs is as absurd as China’s plan to choose the next Dalai Lama, and I would suspect such a university of having similar motives: to control and to undermine religious belief which the authorities disapprove of.

Universities must decide what they believe tolerance looks like. Are they willing to become intolerant in the pursuit of tolerance? Are they willing to achieve their goals through coercion rather than reasoned discourse? UC Hastings appears to have decided that it is. It remains to be seen how many universities will embrace their folly.

SR: As you mentioned, Stanford is a private university and is therefore unaffected by the ruling directly. But do you anticipate any moves by Stanford to tighten its own group membership policy either independently or as a result of being lobbied? Or will Stanford likely maintain the looser policy that it currently uses?

Me: Should such lobbying arise I hope that Stanford will prove wiser than the Supreme Court.

In retrospect, I’m surprised the Stanford Review chose the quote they did. Some of my other sentences seem so much more… lively.

Get Better Grades By Understanding How Your Brain Works

Studying for last law school examOne of my favorite blogs is the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest. It summarizes current research in a way interesting to non-academics. I eat that kind of stuff up.

Their most recent post is a real winner for college students: 9 Evidence-Based Study Tips. You’ll receive a lot of advice in college – but these principles actually have experimental support.

  1. Adopt a growth mindset: believe that your brain is capable of getting smarter. You’re not stuck where you are.
  2. Sleep well: internalize that all-nighters hurt more than they help.
  3. Forgive yourself for procrastinating: as a minister, I was quite taken by this one. It’s a beautiful illustration of a more general lesson on grace as the primary catalyst for growth in life.
  4. Test yourself: don’t just review the material – turn it into a quiz.
  5. Pace your studies: review the material once 20% of the time elapses between the day you first learned it and the day of the test. Combining this with the previous tip will revolutionize your study life.
  6. Vivid examples may not always work best. This is more of a tip for teachers, so here’s the student version: don’t assume that the charismatic teacher will help you understand better simply because they entertain you more. Be suspicious of vivid illustrations because they can make it harder to learn the abstract principles you must master.
  7. Take naps: lie down and rest for 10-30 minutes. It will help more than you think.
  8. Get handouts prior to the lecture: the evidence for this one seemed weak to me. Read it and judge for yourself.
  9. Believe in yourself: confidence matters. Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right.

Each tip has a brief paragraph explaining the principle in more detail including links to the research upon which it is based. Go read it now!

You’re welcome.