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Alumni Posts

Practicality: The Word of the Week

by Alumni Posts on April 25, 2011

in Academics

The word of the week (or, should I say, the word of the rest of the school year) is practicality. I realized the utter importance of this word starting on Friday of Easter Break as I was looking at my to-do list. My list included a chemistry review quiz, two chemistry lab reports, calculus homework, calculus extra credit, a biology project, and studying for what I assume will be the most challenging microbiology test of the semester. (And no, I was not behind in any of my classes, even though you may think so due to the obnoxious length of my to-do list.)

Anyways, back to practicality. I began to realize that finishing my to-do list would not be practical, nor would be memorizing my twenty-page-long microbiology study guide. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love microbiology and I could study it all day, but trying to memorize each and every bacterium, the bacterium’s distinct pathogenesis, what disease the bacterium causes, what the symptoms are, how to diagnose it, and how to treat it, seems very impractical. And, in the greater scheme of things, understanding seems much more practical than simply memorizing.

Then, on Saturday, I was working on my calculus homework. One of the questions said, and I do paraphrase so as to keep this blog relatively interesting, “The U.S. Postal Service will accept a box for shipment only if its length and girth don’t exceed 108 inches. What dimensions will give the box the largest possible volume?” Well, for those of you who don’t know this, my dad is a proud Letter Carrier. The Postal Service is now offering Flat-Rate Boxes (maybe you’ve seen the commercials).  Flat-Rate Boxes allow you to ship anything that fits up to 70 pounds. So, as I was doing my calculus, I was thinking, “Wouldn’t it just be more practical to ship whatever it is that you want to ship in a Flat-Rate Box? By doing so, you’d be saving money, brain power, and a half-hour’s worth of calculations.”

So, my friends, as we wind down the school year, I urge you to think practically or to at least think about practicality in general. That’s the practical thing to do, isn’t it???

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.