12 Things I Actually Learned In DWC
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12 Things I Actually Learned In DWC

Yes, I did learn something else besides "I think, therefore I am."

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12 Things I Actually Learned In DWC
Providence College

Development of Western Civilization, or civ as we fondly call it, is a rite of passage for all Providence College students. Mostly we like to complain about the large amounts of reading that really feels like it has no relevance to our goals and how our civ team is actually the worst. Despite all the complaining, civ has taught me a lot, and I am glad that it is part of my experience at PC.

1. How to form a study group.
Starting civ as a freshman with the rest of your class means that everyone is struggling in the same way and in the same class. Somewhere in your huge civ class, you will find some people who you work well with, and these people will become your battle partners as you tackle civ. They may even become lifelong friends.

2. How to get through large amounts of reading.
Civ is hard; there is no doubt about that, but the large amounts of dense reading taught me how to get through reading something that doesn’t make sense. Tackling the civ texts prepares us to read all sorts of professional documents in our future careers.

3. How to succeed when you didn't actually complete the reading.
We all try, but sometimes the civ reading just doesn’t get finished. Maybe you had a big test in another class that you were devoting all your time towards or maybe you fell asleep reading The Odyssey. Whatever the reason, you didn’t finish the reading, and your team always has a reading quiz. This high pressure situation teaches us to think on our feet. We consult multiple summaries and try to understand the meaning that our professors wanted us to get out of the text and we end up with a baseline understanding for class and the skill to be able to understand the basic meaning of something without a lot of time lost.

4. How to look like you are paying attention in class when you are actually asleep with your eyes open.
Sometimes college just gets to you, and you didn’t get enough sleep. The lecture that day is really boring, and you just can’t pay attention anymore. You learn to sit in your chair looking like you are attentively taking notes. Meanwhile, you are daydreaming about Ray chicken nuggets. You know that Charlemagne will forgive you for not paying attention to him.

5. A basic understanding of the Development of Western Civilizations.
There is actually a point to all those lectures your professors are giving, and it’s to give you a deeper understanding of our world and how it got to be the way it is through its history and religious and philosophical developments. Yes, it can be overwhelming, and you will most definitely not remember everything but you will gain a greater appreciation for the world around you and a deeper understanding of how it all works. You also know the difference between Plato and Aristotle and how many circles there are in hell (because you've been there during seminar).

6. Critical Thinking.
Critical thinking is one of the most important and easily applicable skills you can learn in school, and Civ is designed to help us to become better critical thinkers. In Civ you can’t just memorize the textbook to get an A; you have to think about the reading and the lectures and how they relate to one another and what that says about the world. Civ taught me to really think about and analyze what I learn rather than spewing back a bunch of memorized facts that I don’t really understand.

7. A lot of knowledge about St. Thomas Aquinas.
As a freshman you soon learn how important the Dominican tradition is at Providence College. Second semester of freshman civ felt like the world revolved around St. Thomas Aquinas. I don’t think there are many other non-theology major college students that know as much about the life and teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas. These random facts can be very useful in making yourself seem really intelligent to friends at home, and they tie us together as a PC community.

8. The ability to connect different thoughts, ideas and disciplines.
The interdisciplinary nature of Civ taught me to connect the things I was learning. It is eye-opening to realize how relevant your history class is to your theology class and your philosophy class to your math class. It gives us a greater understanding of the world and how things work when we are able to connect thoughts and ideas and to see the correlations and patterns around us.

9. How to sit through a two-hour seminar.
Civ seminars are brutal. You check the clock every two minutes and are disappointed every time that only two minutes have gone by. This brutality toughens you. After Civ you feel like you can sit through any boring class or monotone professor because you did it for two hours in Civ seminar, and your professor didn’t even give you a bathroom break.

10. How to write a good essay.
While other colleges have two-year mandatory writing seminars, we have Civ, which teaches us the same things. We learn to write essays and to write them well, but in the context of real learning and thinking rather than as an abstract concept. Civ taught me how to better connect my thoughts and ideas in an essay and how to improve my language to make my point clear and my essay more enjoyable to read.

11. How to be smart.
Civ taught me to be confident in my knowledge, and it’s given me a wealth of knowledge that may not be necessary to my major, but that allows me to understand and participate in academic discussions and to be able to understand and judge the world around me.

12. PC is a community.
No matter who you are, everyone at PC has to take DWC, and it bonds us together. Whether you love it, hate it, or hate to love it, DWC is part of what makes PC unique and the place that we all call home.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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