So here I sit, one week after Walter's birthday, having not even mentioned it. We celebrated quietly, but effectively, and will probably go on celebrating for several more weeks. We have managed to get the year and the semester started, and no doubt it will all be a mad rush to Christmas and New Years, but we will gladly take you along for the ride for another year in the life of the Buengers.
Every semester I gather some information from my students on the first day of class. Some of it is pretty prosaic (what telephone number can I use if I really need to contact you?). Other information helps me gear my courses more specifically to their interests. I also ask some questions just to take the temperature of the class and to get to know them a bit better. I have done this for years, and the answers give me both a generalized view of the students and also an angle on their peculiarities.
One question I always ask is for them to tell me "Something Distinctive" about themselves. Here is this semester's answers (one student per distinctive thing), with the more entertaining ones highlighted:
I don’t eat anything green. ANYTHING.
Identical twin brother
High school in Rhode Island
I only have 24 teeth
Love to sail
Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia
Sing and play keyboard
Love salt water fishing
Switched majors twice
I have a scar from a pencil sharpener accident
Heart surgery. Plus waterfall repelling
Hate math, love statistics
9th generation named Virginia in my family
Can sing Disney songs in Spanish
From New Jersey
Youngest of 7 kids
1st generation born in US
Extremely messy yet organized
Can make a pretty awesome chocolate cake
I can clap my 100% flat feet like hands
Born in Mexico
Lived in Africa
From an emerging country
Grew up on a farm
Always look at the pros and cons before deciding anything
Love ribeye steak
Play water polo
Huge fan of Family Guy and American Dad
Play in a band in Houston
Remembers silly things and forgets important things
Good cook/green thumb
I value practicality and hate tradition
Never broken a bone
I have both dimples and freckles (NOTE: I didn't realize this was rare, but apparently it is)
I am reclusive
I play lacrosse and trumpet
I can crack the knuckles of my toes without touching them with my hand
I smile a lot and wear purple
Likes to learn many topics
Obsessed with productivity and time management
I have studied in France, New York, and Beijing
Every man in my family is named James
I go to Hawaii at least once a year
I have a twin sister
I speak Chinese, English, and Japanese
I can remember lyrics to Thai songs
Deployed to Iraq
Aren't they diverse? I tell them some distinctive things about myself:
I play trombone.
I will not watch online videos that are supposed to be funny because someone accidentally gets hurt. EVER.
I am completely in the dark about reality television.
I like Cream of Wheat (not instant) much better than oatmeal.
I can consistently fall asleep within two minutes of lying down.
There are many more things that I could mention, but I won't reveal any more until I hear how you stand out.