Labs Versus Academics

Going to college can be nerve wracking for many freshmen but going to culinary school is a whole other experience.  Freshmen in the JWU College of Culinary Arts will spend two trimesters in labs, and one trimester in academics taking classes such as math, nutrition, and life science.  One of the biggest differences between a typical college student and a culinary student is what goes on in a typical day.  First year culinary academics operate on a block schedule where students have two classes a day Monday through Thursday and never any Friday classes.  Culinary and Baking and Pastry Laps operate daily Monday through Thursday, with the occasional Friday class, for six hours each class.  In a term of 11 weeks, a culinary student will take five classes each lasting nine days.  Sam Brenner and Cameron Carlen are both freshmen in the Culinary Arts and Food Service Management program. Sam is in labs this term and Cameron is in academics.

Sam was nervous for his first lab saying, “You think all chefs are mean and you are afraid your whites aren’t pressed right. You feel like you’re forgetting something.” Little did he know that his first lab, Culinary Foundations, would be a breeze.  “Homework in my first class wasn’t overwhelming. There were a few quizzes and math practice sheets but overall, it’s manageable.” To Sam, preparing for class is fairly easy.  Sam normally gets ready each night by making sure his coat is pressed and hung up, lays out his shoes, and makes sure his knife kit is packed with all of his homework.  Although each chef is different, most classes begin with an hour or so of lecture, another hour of cooking prep, three hours of cooking, and then about an hour to clean the lab. He advises fellow students, “Focus and work hard because the classes are only eight actual learning days long. Classes cover a lot of information in a short span of time. Keep up in class and come to work.”

Cameron was excited to start his classes. “My first day of class was less intimidating than I thought it would be. The surplus of campus activities really helped the transition into college”.  As many people already know, academic classes have a lot of homework.  Cameron averages about three hours of homework a night; but sometimes has as little as one hour.  To prepare for his classes, Cameron goes over his notes from the textbook and re-reads his lecture notes.  Each day is practically the same for Cameron, “A normal class for me consists of turning in any homework we had then recapping what we did in the previous lecture. Then the day’s lecture begins followed by any activities the professor wants us to complete”. He advises students not to procrastinate and to seek help if they need it. “You’re paying thousands of dollars to study here so just do your work and go to class.”

If you are struggling in a class, take advantage of your professor’s office hours and ask them for help and suggestions as they will be more than accommodating.  You can also use Student Academic Services to get the tutoring and extra help you need to pass your class.  No matter whether you are in academics or labs, put forth your best effort and you will do great.

Ryan Burke

Staff Writer


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