Student Letters from the Future

I wrote two letters (for two different classes). These are letters from the students of the near future to themselves in the present. this first one is for a non-majors lab. In this lab, I let them turn in "informal" lab reports that they can then use on the midterm and the final exam. The thing is that a lot of students don't even turn this in. Here is the letter:

Dear Past Me,

How are you? I know how you are because I am you and I remember this day. Really, you should be asking how I am.

I am not doing so well. I just took the midterm for the physics lab and it didn't go too well. It really bums me out. Do you want to hear the real bad part? It was an easy test. So, why didn't I do well? I didn't do well because I didn't turn in many informal lab reports. And the ones I did turn in were useless.

Here is some advice. Pay attention in lab. Take data, take notes, ask questions. I have found that Dr. Allain actually will answer questions if you ask him. For your informal reports, turn them in (duh). Also, make sure you show all your calculations and data. Be sure to include the equations you used. Trust me on this one.

Oh, one more thing. The coffee is poisoned, do not drink it.


Future me.

And here is the one I wrote for my introductory physics course. The main point is - do your homework.

Dear Past Me,

What is up? I bet you are surprised to get a letter from me (future me to you, but just present me to me). Well, if you ask how I am doing, it is not too good.

Here is the deal. I started this class and I was all excited. Homework is not graded? How awesome is that? This will give me tons of more time to play Xbox. Well, that is what I thought then. But now I know better.

Silly me, I just did really poorly on the last exam. I don't think I studied nearly enough. The test was not tricky or anything, I just wasn't prepared. That leads back to the homework. Yes, I know it is not worth any points. But how are you going to learn this stuff if you don't do it. Do the homework. Ask questions. Read the book.

There, I said it. I feel much better now. Hopefully, you will be able to cause a split in the space-time continuum and create an alternate universe where you ( I ) do well on the physics test.


Your future self.

I plan to read these aloud the first day of class. Feel free to use or modify these if you like (or steal).

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