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Testing the Soil

Hi Professor Toupadakis,

I saw that you didn't have a lot of feedback relating to your last lecture, so I figured that I'd type something up. You can include my name if you wish.  :) 

I really enjoyed the lecture, it did not disappoint me. It was worth the hour, and the mini discussion afterwards.

The seed story was interesting, and got me to wondering how many seeds I have collected. How many times have I knocked over the pot, and had to restart collecting seeds again.  

My favorite part was when you talked about the geranium flowers, and how we had to find the right soil for us or else we would be competing against others that are growing in the right soil. I enjoyed that part very much, because my first quarter as a freshman this year I spent time in a 21A math class competing against those who were in the right soil. I pulled off a B- in math 21a but I was only taking it to figure out whether or not I should pursue being an engineer. With the crazy curves in that class (an 88% being a C-), and the fact that only half the class came to class, and still pulling off 90%'s and above on the midterms, I decided that math wasn't my field. I realized that despite the fact that I attended class everyday, and constantly went to tutoring that I was still struggling and being miserable with the math. Hearing your story, helped me realize that switching from 21 math series to the 16 math series was the right choice for me. Testing out the soil for engineers I found it hard to take root.

I'm continuing to test out other soil, and see which is the right one for me.

Going back on topic, I enjoyed the lecture. However, I felt that something was missing. During the lecture I kept thinking of my friends in their night labs, unable to listen and learn from your thinking. Some of them would really have enjoyed it, and found it helpful.

When you do your next lecture, I would like to request that you talk more about curiosity in learning and understanding. I felt as if it was cut off because of the time limit.

Sincerely, a student from your CHE2B and also CHE2A last quarter.



Even If the World Is Not Paradise

Dear Professor,

     Your "last lecture" is so inspiring.  I think that your views on life and principles are so well thought-out and I can see that you are really passionate about what you say.  I would recommend this lecture to anybody and everybody because you have a very good view on how to live a good life and appreciate everything for what it is.  It is easy to see that you have spent a lot of time just observing and thinking about life.
     I understand that a lot of people measure how great their life is by looking at how much they own and who they know etc.  But you show how you can live your life to the fullest by just becoming content with everything you have and by being your best.
     Your view on life is so similar to mine. But, it is so hard for me to express it in words.  There is so much to say, and so many people that have different views.  It feels so good to hear someone like you to put everything into words. 
     One part of the lecture I liked the most is when you said that, "Even if the world is not paradise, if you learn to live your life the right way, you can make a paradise of your own."
     I hope you continue to give these lectures because you have the potential to inspire many people.

 I Could Do Anything
As Long As It Made Me Happy Inside

Dear Dr. Toupadakis,

It has been a quarter since you asked me for feedback, and I have not forgotten I just haven't quite known what to say. But now I think I understand what your "Last" lecture is about. I am taking Native American
Studies 5, and we are reading parts of an interview with Joseph Campbell, and I keep remember what you said during review sessions for chem. 2B and 2C, and during your lecture. This last reading has focused on sacrifice and bliss, and what it means to "follow your bliss," to do what makes you happy in life. I'm finally starting to believe it.

Your lecture was excellent. The stories were very entertaining. I really liked that it was in a smaller classroom; it made us seem more like a group and less like individual students. It was nice to hear that, as a student, I have choices in life, and that the thing I'm doing or interested in now does not have to be what I do for the rest of my life. The food was nice too. What do you think of having something like a potluck, where each student or group of students brings food to share? It might be tough with many people, but I think people feel even more connected when they share each other's food.

It seems like sometimes in our society, wealth and fame are valued and emphasized more than "following your bliss." It has helped me to hear, over and over, that it's okay to follow your bliss, even if your future is different from the one you and your family/friends planned. I'm still a little worried because I'm not sure how to follow my bliss, but I'm okay with the idea of not having to find my bliss right away. Maybe I will find it tomorrow; maybe I will try 10 different lifestyles before I find one that is the best for me.

Thanks very much for taking the time to address these kinds of issues about life and personal choices. In a way, I felt more grown-up after your lecture, as though I could do anything as long as it made me happy inside.
Hope you're having a great quarter, and I look forward to the next "last" lecture!

Xxxxxx xxxxxx

PS: if I can help you at all in putting on the next lecture, please let me know.



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