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Every freshman is required to take a First-Year Seminar. Having come back to campus in the spring, there was only one course option available. That is how I ended up in “Coffee and Tea: Origins, Economy, Ethics.”
At first, I was apprehensive. I wasn’t sure how a class about coffee and tea would be beneficial to my continued learning. But I have been pleasantly surprised: Not only has the seminar encouraged me to explore my understanding of the two drinks more, but it has also helped me transition to University life by providing me tools to succeed.
In the class, we’ve learned the history of coffee and tea. It’s fascinating to see their effects on society throughout the ages, such as caffeine’s impact on social environments. We were prompted to share our own beverages with the class, which allowed us to try so many new types of coffee and tea. We built more of a relationship with our peers and shared social impacts of the drinks from our own perspective as well. Together, we’ve developed an environment that encourages us to learn, think, and communicate our thoughts—all of which I have found to be very important skills to maintain as a student.
Probably the most important part of the class that I have experienced, however, is the encouragement to take what I have learned, do my own research, and have my own experiences with the subject I’m studying. This has proved to also make transitioning to campus life after FYSAE much easier, as it has pushed me in many cases to get outside of the University and explore places, try new things, and just have fun with learning.
During this course, I’ve tried strange things (like Cheese Tea) and visited new places (like the tea shops in Chinatown and the small cafes near the University). It was just the kick I needed.