Udoka in Taos

Udoka is a senior majoring in mathematics and philosophy in Dedman College, and engineering management, information and systems in the Lyle School of Engineering. In May 2010, the University and Engineering Scholar is studying at SMU-in-Taos, where she’s taking a course on North American environmental history.

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I can’t believe this class is over! And I can’t believe I STILL have sand in my hair!

Honestly, blog-readers, this class is one of the best classes I’ve ever had at SMU. One of the best professors, as well! I highly recommend you take a class with him (Ben Johnson) in general. For the last day of class, he had us go around and talk about the highlights. Everyone basically agreed this class was great. The class set-up was interactive and discussion-based which made class time engaging and fly by.

The field trips were always great and helped us to see that the words in the text actually happened. It made understanding history and its implications for the future better. Meeting the author of our textbook was awesome. And we all love the fact that he didn’t make us take any kind of mid-term or exam. One of the reasons I hate history is because you had to memorize specific things that I felt didn’t matter in the big scheme. I think writing papers is much more beneficial for a history course than memorizing dates and names in a specific sequence.

One thing that I hope many other students did was meet or talk with locals. When we went to Taos Pueblo, where Tiwa Indians hold their rituals and heritage (and some still live there), I made sure I spoke with Indians, having real conversation and a look into their lives and point of view. And when I went into town, I loved chatting with them. If I hadn’t, I never would have gotten to learn how to fish and meditate in the Rio Grande. Or got to experience “Vanilla Pop” at Alley Cantinas. Plus, it never hurts to make new friends and connections in different places!

Don’t take a CF any other way. Study abroad or outside of Dallas for your CFs. They become so, so, so, so much more meaningful. Save up the money and go! I don’t know what my friends would say. Maybe I just like my professor that much or maybe some people find CFs very interesting without needing to be IN it. But this worked well for me. I think it captures the whole reason why SMU makes us take CFs in the first place.

And we got ribs for dinner. :) Mmm.

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