For the last six years, I've been teaching a First Year Experience course at the university where I work. In class we address topics such as time management, study skills, and campus resources. Each year, we also do a project, and this years' project is one of my favorites so far. The project is based off the book and NPR series, "This I Believe."
Based on the National Public Radio series of the same name, This I Believe
features eighty essayists--from the famous to the unknown--completing
the thought that begins the book's title. Each piece compels readers to
rethink not only how they have arrived at their own personal beliefs but
also the extent to which they share them with others.
a well-known list of contributors--including Isabel Allende, Colin
Powell, Gloria Steinem, William F. Buckley Jr., Penn Jillette, Bill
Gates, and John Updike--the collection also contains essays by a
Brooklyn lawyer; a part-time hospital clerk from Rehoboth,
Massachusetts; a woman who sells Yellow Pages advertising in Fort Worth,
Texas; and a man who serves on the state of Rhode Island's parole
The result is a stirring and provocative trip inside the
minds and hearts of a diverse group of people whose beliefs--and the
incredibly varied ways in which they choose to express them--reveal the
American spirit at its best.
The student's task was to write their own This I Believe essay. In class, I shared my favorites from the book, as well as tips from their website to help write your own. Because the essay is such a personal and potentially vulnerable topic, I decided the students would not be writing their essay alone. I decided to write one with them. Today is the due date for the paper, and the presentation with other First Year Experience classes is tonight. I look forward to reading their essays and learning more about them as individuals.
In tomorrow's blog post, I will post my This I Believe essay, entitled "Books: Never Leave Home Without Them."