5 THINGS I'VE LEARNED: Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones, Assistant Instructor in the Department of American Studies
[6 years at UT]

. Disciplines are porous, boundaries are breachable. American Studies appeals to me because so many social, political and cultural concepts can be put into conversation productively. I encourage my students to explore beyond their major’s borders and to pursue subjects they are passionate or curious about.

2. Writing never stops. Expressing yourself coherently and creatively in words is crucial inside and outside of college: this skill needs to be cultivated early and often. Related to this, the more reading you do, the better your writing will be.

3. Travel outside of your comfort zone. When going abroad (and go every chance you get) push the envelope: do you really need to sample a Parisian Starbucks?  Just as the best snow is off-piste, the best travel experiences are those that put you deep in the thick of another culture.

4. Office hours are not just for the week before finals. Until around November in fall and April in spring I spend more time with four walls and a coffee mug in office hours than with my students. Talk to your professors early on if you need help with course material. Instructors are passionate about their subjects and enjoy the opportunity to clarify what has been covered in class or expound upon something that has piqued your interest.

5. It’s better to take a breather than to try to do everything in one go. Put down your books for a while and then go back to them: your work will be better for it. Reserve a little time every day for frivolity. The adage rings true: time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time.