Monday, October 9, 2017

What is the meaning of life? (be concise)

I take attendance by having students answer a prompt. It's usually set up to equally fit serious and silly answers; my strong preference is for students to attend my class (and secondarily be comfortable enough there to be silly).

What is the meaning of life? (be concise)

First of all, thank you to the student who wrote "This is an ill-poised question." for highlighting my deviation from the ends-with-a-question-mark type of prompt for attendance.

Serious students tended towards sentences:
  • improvise. adapt. overcome.
  • Nothing except what we make for ourselves.
  • Sometimes you see a happy dog.
  • Live a fulfilling life
  • Trying to figure it out
Lots of illustrations on this sheet.
  • [three smiley-faces]
  • [drawing of leaf]
  • [leaf emoji, smiley-face-with-double-wink emoji, heart emoji]
... I'm now realizing that last one could be read "live, laugh, love" if you squint through the right emoji-interpreting lens. Is there a word for wordplay when it involves verbalizing emoji? There must be. If you know it, please leave a comment.

Several students tended towards local optima:

  • algorithms
  • attendance
  • Lemmas
  • algorithms
  • runtime
And several more students avoided answering entirely:
  • great question
  • life
  • Absolutely nothing
  • ^life'
  • who knows
  • ?
This wouldn't be a non-empty collection of college students without the mandatory answers of "42" and, apparently, "bird". (Maybe it's just this particular cohort, but I am suspicious some birds have infiltrated my classroom.)

A collection of miscellaneous other answers:
  • laundry
  • the reference
  • Radical Freedom!
  • to uncover
  • to cause chaos and have fun
  • connection
  • ramen
  • music and love
  • continuing next life
Today's "literally correct, figuratively messing with the questioner" Award goes to the student who said that life is "a breakfast cereal."

This post is dedicated to every student out there who would have left this question blank or marked "I don't know" to receive 25% of the credit.

This post's theme word is sententious (adj), "full of pithy expressions; full of pompous moralizing." The sententious prompt received high- and low-brow responses.

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