The idea of sharing a space and conversations with folks for a full semester while remaining strangers seems absurd to me. This sheet of paper is my attempt to preempt this problem a bit. If you are also haunted by the absurdity of it I invite you to bring in a sheet of paper with you (ideally handwritten) at the beginning of the second week of the semester. The questions are in order of priority; feel free to skip those that you’d rather not answer:
- Why are you taking this class? Avoid using the word “interesting”;
- What do you want to know? Specify clearly the questions that you hope this course will help you answer;
- Zodiac sign & date of birth;
- Your religious background, journey and where you are at now? Do you consider yourself religious or spiritual?
- What’s home for you? Or closest to being home?
- Your preferred name (please help me pronounce it correctly) and its meaning;
- Do you have any particular concerns entering into the class? Is there anything that may affect your performance in the course?
- Most favorite book, song and movie? Name only one for each!
- What year are you? Your major OR options you are considering. Why you chose that major? Any minor?
- APPLICABLE ONLY IF IT’S AN ISLAMIC STUDIES COURSE: Background in the study of Islam? Mention the institution(s), teacher(s), books you have read and other relevant details. Do you have any Muslim friends? Do you know any Muslims personally? Have you traveled to a majority Muslim country or area? Mention any details that you’d like.
- Have you taken any other religion courses at Davidson? Or elsewhere? Which ones? Professors?
- What gives you joy in life?
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- Is there anything else that you’d like to say to me?