Student surprised by REACH course

Maya Bauer, Contributing Writer

For many students on campus, the REACH courses are taken out of necessity, not necessarily because they are of particular interest.

Admittedly, I never would have taken a religion course if it hadn’t been a Mercyhurst requirement.

When I enrolled in Buddhism with Dr. Forsthoefel, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out to be one of the best courses I have taken throughout my entire college experience.

I went to church as a child, but I have never been particularly religious.

It was never really a big part of my life at home so coming to a Catholic university was an unexpected step in and of itself.

When enrolling for my religion course I chose Buddhism because it seemed to offer such a new and fresh perspective.

My hope was that the course would give me insight into a religion I knew very little about and consequently make me more globally aware.

The class was nearly full when I walked in on the first day, and I ended up sitting dead center of the front row, not an ideal seat for someone with my low level of background knowledge.

Sitting in the front row forces you to be more attentive in my opinion, and after a short time I became thankful that I got stuck in the seat that I did.

I found that I became far more engaged in the class than I ever imagined I would: asking questions, participating regularly in conversation, even staying after class to ask questions.

I have never been so interested in a new subject before and it was a genuine shock that I began to look forward to the class each day.

Suddenly I found that studying didn’t seem like a chore.

Dr. Forsthoefel teaches the class in a simple way, lecturing mostly with handwritten notes on the chalkboard.

I appreciated this the most because when professors take the time to write the notes out on the board it gives students more time to digest the information and the lectures don’t feel rushed.

I have found that this approach leads to a “quality over quantity” experience, and I think that is another reason I enjoyed my time in this class so much.

Interestingly, I feel that a larger percentage of the material that we learned in this class has remained in my long-term memory in comparison to other classes.

It seems to me that taking a little longer to cover new material along with being an engaged listener both greatly impacted how much was committed to memory.

If any of you are considering taking a religion course, I can’t stress enough how highly I thought of Dr. Forsthoefel’s teaching style.

He peppers each lecture with anecdotes about his own worldly experiences which made each day in class even more interesting.

The material covered in the class is fascinating, and I think there are very few courses offered on campus that would expose students to such a diverse expanse of global knowledge.

Buddhism with Dr. Forsthoefel was far and away my favorite REACH course.