News. Photos. Videos. Dominican University style.
These retreats sound great. This reminds me of Tom's earlier post on the need to relieve stress.Here's another thing I posted a while back in my pseudo-blog. Silence your devices.It’s so much fun to be in a university. I get to run around a lot and usually find myself in some interesting venues. Last week a photography professor gave a fascinating presentation on “Leaving Aztlán: Towards a Working Definition of Contemporary Mexican Art,” raising fundamental questions of identity and representation among artists who traverse boundaries between Mexico and the U.S. Today two faculty members, one in biology and the other in theology, spoke on the scientific and ethical contexts for thinking about “Life in the Ocean Depths: What is it? Whose is it?” Yesterday, Spanish Studies students were doing readings of Don Quijote de la Mancha with the director of the Cervantes Institute, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of that great novel’s publication.On Monday I had to give a little talk at A Big Meeting, along with our core curriculum director, and it was sort of about this: I love my iPod as much as the next person. But a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education got me thinking. The article in the October 7th edition, written by Scott Carlson (no relation) was titled “The Net Generation Goes to College.” It suggested that today’s college students “are smart but impatient. They expect results immediately … are able to juggle a conversation on Instant Messenger, a Web-surfing session, and an iTunes playlist while reading Twelfth Night for homework.” The article wasn’t sure whether the students are getting the fine points of the play.I’m pretty sure they’re not.A video-game designer and futurist was quoted in the article, and said that we need to rethink “why kids need an education,” noting that “things that have traditionally been done—you know, reflection and thinking and all that stuff—are in some way too slow for the future…. Is there a way to do those things faster?”Um, no.Sometimes it’s nice to be able to multitask. Sometimes it’s necessary. But we have to know when to turn it off. We have to develop the capacity to monotask, to do Just One Thing—well. There’s a saying in the Dominican tradition: Contemplate and give the fruits of that contemplation to others. But—not so fast! Fruit needs time to ripen.I met with one of my students yesterday who told me that he never tries to study in his dorm room. Not that ours are any louder than others. It’s just that he finds other spaces, quieter places, where he can concentrate, screen out the distractions, and really Pay Attention. By going there, he’s telling himself that it’s time to focus on One Thing. Focus, and then go deeper. He’s got it right.So practice your monotasking. Turn off your cell phones and pagers. The show is about to begin.