Tag Archives: EOP

I don’t want to bore my audience, so this entry will be relatively short. These courses weren’t your basic summer biology and chemistry course. These were incredibly accelerated since we basically had half the summer term to learn whatever the teacher wanted to teach. This caused considerable stress on the learners part — especially in biology. All we ever did in biology were labs, and I never really grasped the concept behind the labs. It was neat and nice to do lab activities, but it’s nicer and neater when you can learn while “labbing”.

Chemistry was tight though. I was very thankful for the three years of chemistry I took at Brookfield East. ((Technically it is just two years of actual chemistry and just one year of organic chemistry. I didn’t learn much in organic either, but that’s a different story.)) I didn’t want to let that get to my head though. This was a very basic course, and I didn’t want to make myself think I am higher than it or better than it. Any help I receive, I will take. I never view myself above others in any respect. There is this nice quote from Eugene Debs that I read in the Marquette Freshman Summer Reading Project, Run:

Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

That speaks volumes on my view of humanity.

The chemistry course was basic stuff. I tried to stay enthusiastic and not let anything throw me off track. In the end, pride took the better of me. I didn’t do as hot on the final as I should have or wanted. Pride is a dangerous thing. It’s nice to have learned that first hand.

This had to be the second, if not, then at least one of the top five, best thing that happened during the summer. This class sealed and locked my decision to major in theology (along with declaring pre-med). ((In case for those of you not in the know, pre-med is not an actual major — furthermore, pre-meds can declare whatever major they like.)) This class kept me going throughout the summer. It was the coal for my coal engine and the (yet to be produced) hydrogen fuel for my automobile. As motivated as I was during the summer term, imagine how that motivation will encompass the latter three years of my college career. ((I can’t take any more theology courses until I’ve accrued a sophomore standing. Additionally, perhaps I’ll be at Marquette for more than four years? That is doubtful, but I wouldn’t completely throw the idea out with the cat.))

I don’t even know what I want to begin to share. The entire class was phenomenal. Particularly, I probably enjoyed the first half better than the second; even asserting that is a wild claim on my part — I loved the entire class and the contents. It was especially satisfying to have learned in an academic environment about things I had learned and discovered on my own. Drawing from my research paper on the Bible during my senior year, Mr. Oliverio (Mr. O, the professor; more on him later) brought up and taught us topics including the Wellhausen Hypothesis/the Pentateuch, Aquinas’ “Five Ways”, Biblical development, and C.S. Lewis. That seems such a tiny list, and I had to scrape my head for things we learned that I already learned before hand. It was still an awesome class. I incredibly wish I could take another course this fall or spring.

Now Mr. O: I liked him as a professor, and guy. He’s neat. I actually found out during one of my three meetings with him that he attends Metrobrook (I think). Metrobrook is a branch of the church I attend, Elmbrook church. That’s neat in itself. I appreciated him for that fact, but also for the fact that I scored an introductory course with a professor from a more evangelical, but also a definite protestant background. It’s not that I hate Catholics; it’s more that I would have felt more comfortable securing a grip in the basics of Theology from a protestant perspective — something I’m more comfortable with. There is no doubt, though, that I look forward to learning from the Catholic perspective. ((There is also a third level course that surveys the world’s religions. If time allows, I’d like to take that course, but I think the course that would take precedent would be the one regarding Islam. There are so many theology courses I want to take — in fact, I probably wouldn’t mind taking all of them.))

I’m not sure if there is anything else I should elaborate on. Actually, I’m not sure if I know what else I want to elaborate on. The class was in the morning at 8:00. I remember the first few days I woke up around 5:30 AM. That was obviously too early for me, and eventually I slept in until 7:00 as the term carried on. Sometimes I skipped breakfast, but I made it a goal to try and eat and drink something before going to class. Like Fortunate said (paraphrased), “When you study, have little food.”

I’ll finish off with how the readings were; they were awesome. Regardless of their length (save for a few assignments), I devoured every hour spent on the texts. ((I particularly did not enjoy the chapters on sacraments and the Church. It isn’t that I hate those topics. Instead I just feel as if perspectives outside of mine are absurd. I mean that in the nicest and most scholarly way.)) The class allowed me to engage my own Bible more (and even experience my first Catholic mass). ((I’ll make a separate post about that, and I’ll post my paper about it.)) I’m keeping the books I buy for Theology. Knowing that, I want pristine copies. None of this used book stuff. I actually just ordered all of my books today (actually yesterday). That was sort of fun and expensive — more the latter than the former.

Theology rocks. I knew I would love it. I keep reminding myself, though, that I can’t let my relationship with God turn academic. It’s nice that I’m seeing God ((I would have said “Him” here, but then that would be assigning God a gender. We learned about that in class. I’ll just say, it’s not necessarily taboo or bad to call God, “Him”. But to be technically correct and more “liberal”, one should refer to God without any gender specific terms.)) through that perspective, but I can’t make that “lens” the only one I see through.

Logically, I should have started with the actual class, Introduction to Theology, but I consider Fortunate too important to put second. To resolve any confusion, Fortunate is the name of the seminar leader. He is African, or at least I think he is.

The first day we had seminar was interesting. I vividly remember Fortunate introducing himself to us, and, to me, he seemed to paint himself like a divine being. ((Interesting and coincidental because in theology we engage in discourse of a divine being.)) He said, and I paraphrase, that he is all ethnicities, knows all languages, is all of the world’s religions, and is both man and woman. It was freaky, but he said it in such a collective and assertive manner that one felt that if you challenged his claims, he would whip out a manifesto to prove you wrong.

Regardless, I thought he was a very inspiring man. He is an inspiring man. From one question, he could diverge and turn it into a lecture. His knowledge of theology, especially the patriarchs, is so deep. In reflection, I think he seemed more intelligent than he actually is. I don’t mean that he isn’t genius, but I’d like to see him lecture physics or chemistry before I declare him my personal Einstein (or da Vinci for those who do not really think Einstein was brilliant).

Fortunate liked his chalk and his acronyms. He would list off subjects and topics and abbreviate them with a capital letter. And then he would circle the letter to emphasize the point. Then he would box off different subject areas and continue his lecture. It really didn’t make sense, but it did hammer ideas into my head — somehow. You wouldn’t think that his teaching style would work, but if you were paying attention it did something for you.

He started to teach us Greek, but stopped after our class failed at memorizing it. The transliteration from Greek to English was easily learned, but I never received the memo that we had to memorize the Greek script too. Nonetheless, this very brief introduction to Greek sparked my interest for it; instead of German, I’m looking to learn Greek — and maybe Latin.

No matter what, he was always wearing a hat. At first I thought it was because he had a medical problem, and so I was a little scared to ask him if he would take his hat off. He is probably bald.

If it weren’t for the seminar, I don’t think I would have done as well in Theology as I did. The seminar served as reinforcement for what I learned in class that day. I’m hoping that is what the discussion components of any class will serve as too.

In testimony to Fortunate’s teaching style, I never understood how he planned for what he was going to go over in class. Everyday it seemed he started off impromptu. Perhaps he had a plan, but I would believe the fact that he just winged it. He seems the type of guy who could wing a presentation and still look brilliant.

Disparate notes: Fortunate liked his Burger King fries. The Black Eyed Peas, according to Fortunate, are the best band ever. He thoroughly enjoys checkers. He worked at the library (doing his work, not working for the library) for 18 hours straight once.

If I could say only two sentences about the Educational Opportunity Program’s summer program for incoming freshmen, I would say these two things: 1) I was apprehensive about the entire program. 2) In the end, I loved it. And even that is probably understating it.

There is so much I could talk about that it would be overwhelming and idiotic to throw it into one post. Instead, what I’ve decided to do is to make this a sort of series. Since I probably won’t be doing much the next few days (outside of hopefully being able to shadow my family physician, Dr. Olson, and going to an Irish dance class with Kate — but more on those later and as they happen), I’ll write fascinating entries on my experiences. Furthermore, I’ll release them once a day since that would be even more exciting, and I actually have the convenient feature to do that on WordPress.

Let’s start. When I first heard about EOP and even up until the summer program started, I was apprehensive about joining. When I wasn’t apprehensive, I felt ridiculous. They made the program sound so intense, and perhaps it was to some, but I found it flamingly enjoyable. ((That is probably just me as a person though. For as much as others may have loved the summer program for the social aspect, I loved it for the social and educational aspects.)) The summer program was scheduled to last about five weeks. Knowing that, I knew it would be deadly if I didn’t have fun, but also that it would be superb if I did have fun. And I did have fun. I hope everyone there did.

The experience was somewhat awkward at first. I literally did not know anyone, and there were groups and couples who knew each other and sort of clinged to their status quo. I don’t blame them, but I think I would have approached this social situation differently had I had a friend there with me initially. I made lots of solid friends though, and I hope I will be able to see each of them again in the fall. I actually met one of my peers back from Fairview Elementary. That was awesome. She, Tanja, was from Serbia and immigrated during the war over there. I didn’t recognize her at all, nor did I have the foggiest that I knew her. The funny thing is that we realized we were classmates when I wore my Fairview tshirt. I know: Dang, that thing still fits me.

The EOP faculty are a communal bunch. I especially love the “southern/sitcom-black-family”-ness. It’s so charismatic. There’s an example I could share, but it’s not explanatory through text. If I had a video, I’d show you, but I don’t. That’s another thing: I don’t have any photos — absurd. I should look into investing in a digital camera. . . or hijacking my sister’s.

I think the rest of what I want to reflect on is too specific to elaborate on in a general post. Here’s a sampler of what is to come though: Fortunate and the Introduction to Theology Seminar, Introduction to Theology, Chemistry and Biology EOP courses, TTC, Studying, Chilling and Killing Time, Deep Dorm Discussions, EOP Scheduled Activities, Weekends, and possibly Dining. I’ll just run through my thoughts and memories from those events. They’ll be delicious, I promise — like a Loaded Steakhouse Burger from Burger King with fries. ((Burger King fries are a reference to Fortunate and the Intro to Theo Seminar.)) Oh, now I want one.

Also one technical note: I import these entries to Facebook. I’m not sure if the footnotes are going to work properly. If they don’t, you will see double parantheses. Those indicate that they are my footnotes. They look nice on my website. Check it out.