Life Lessons from Anthropology 101

Life Lessons from Anthropology 101

Walking into ANTH 101: Human Origins in late August I didn’t have high expectations of the course. I assumed that by attending weekly lectures and studying for exams I would sneak out with an A and some new found knowledge on evolution. Honestly, I didn’t want to be taking this class at all. Walking out of ANTH 101 in early December I was blown away by how seriously I had misjudged this course.

There’s no doubt that my professor,┬áDr. Calcagno, was the best part of anthropology. Teaching the largest anthropology class in the history of Loyola is no easy task. But from the beginning Dr. Calcagno made it clear that he would do his best to teach the class as if it were an average sized classroom. I’m not quite sure how he pulled it off, but our class always felt small to me.

We covered the basics of anthropology, studying evolution, primatology, human origins, and modern human variation and behavior. Lectures always lasted the full 50 minutes of class and were always interesting enough to pay attention too. Plus, I never wanted to miss the one-liners Dr. Calcagno would often slip into his lectures.

I never doubted Dr. Calcagno’s passion for anthropology or education. He often reminded us of the importance of making the most of our education and truly appreciating the opportunity to attend Loyola. Receiving a college education is something I think we all know is something to be grateful for, but the sincerity of our professor’s reminders made us all a little more appreciative.

During his last lecture Dr. Calcagno wrapped the course up by giving us three final evolutionary thoughts.

  1. Golden Rules. An important rule in many religions, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”. We were reminded to focus on acting out the message, not fighting over who the messenger is.
  2. Go forth and put out small fires.” A spin on St. Ignatious’ “Go forth and set the world on fire” and Dr. Calcagno’s comment that he’s not sure if Loyola has given its students enough matches–so instead know that you evolved to be selfish by helping others.
  3. A nod to Dr. Calcagno’s favorite, David Bowie–Even if just for one day, we can be heroes. It is up to you.

This is one course that will stick with me for many semesters to come. Because not only did Dr. Calcagno teach a class that was worth taking, he also managed to put Jesus, St. Ignatious, and David Bowie in one lecture, and that is truly impressive.

 

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