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From the College of Natural Sciences
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Dig In

Dig In

Dear Students,

I can't believe that it has already been a week of classes. I'm guessing you have had a wide range of experiences, from classes that are taking a slow start to those that hit a load of content in the first week. As we head into week two, keep in mind that things will continue to build as the semester progresses. Many lab classes will start this week, you'll start to get more assignments, and, as crazy as it sounds, those first exams are coming up, too.

This is a great time to find and stick to the habits that are working for you—and ditch those that are not. One of the best habits? Start looking out for anything you may have missed.

This summer, I have been trying to fix a broken solenoid valve in the sprinkler system in my yard. At last count, I have made the repair four times. Each time has been almost the same. I have been certain I have done everything correctly only to pressurize the system and find I have made a mistake. The first results were ridiculous, with water gushing out of the system and drenching me completely. The last result at first appeared to be perfect but then revealed a very small but maddening leak. But with each attempt, I have learned something new. Each time my tests helped me discover something that I overlooked. And while I must admit that each failed test was a bit disheartening, I know that getting things wrong is just part of learning. In fact, struggling and working through mistakes is what learning is all about.

So when those first assignments, tests and quizzes come back, don't just glance at scores. Dig into assignments to see what went right and wrong. Then you can embrace the struggle of learning and enjoy the triumph of gaining new understanding.

Best,
Dr. Vanden Bout

Joke: Ada dozed in the back of algorithms class. A classmate asked, "Did you sleep well?" Ada replied, "Yeah, in theory."

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Thursday, 29 October 2020

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