Study Break!

About this time last year I was busy following up with recommenders, writing and rewriting my essays, and triple checking my transcript uploads.  Although the application process is over for the Ph.D. and Ed.L.D. applicants, I know many of you are still navigating the application process. So, since everyone is talking about that dreaded A-word (applications), I thought I’d talk about something else: Cookies!

I stumbled upon this video while taking a “study break” (okay, I was procrastinating) and it ended up inspiring me not only to make cookies but to go back to writing my final paper for History of American Higher Education.  The video is deceptively simple 270-second animated explanation of what happens to cookies when they bake.

The beauty of the video is that in 270 seconds, it introduces lipids, salmonella, protein structures, includes animated explanations of how each of these are affected by change in temperature, and an overview of Maillard Reactions and caramelization.  It even tells you where to set the temperature to make the perfect soft or crunchy cookie.

As a student at the Ed school (and a student avoiding finals), I reasoned that I had an obligation to make cookies and test this video.  So, I bought a log of cookie dough and preheated my oven to a daring 320 degrees and popped the cookies in without a timer.

Then I realized I’d been tricked into doing a chemistry experiment.  And that’s when inspiration hit me.  I’m at HGSE to learn how to improve education and make learning something students can look forward to.  TEDed taught me a little biology and a little chemistry in less than five minutes, and reminded me that I’m here to make learning as fun and rewarding as baking cookies.

So, I encourage you to take a study break, bake some cookies, and think about what inspires you as you complete your applications.  As for me, I’ll be enjoying these as I continue working my way through finals.

Ashley Litzenberger is a Graduate Assistant in HGSE Office of Admissions and Master’s of Education candidate in the Higher Education Program. Prior to attending HGSE, Ashley worked in Israel on projects that promoted peace dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian youth. She looks forward to exploring the ways in which colleges and universities facilitate intercultural dialogues.