My Swat Story: Associate Professor of Philosophy Krista Thomason
She Has No Patience For Pretension in the Classroom
"The classroom is not a place to showboat and I work really hard to make mine a pretension-free zone. As a student, your job is to try to speak as clearly as you can so that everybody can understand what you're talking about because the words are not the star of the show, the ideas are. It gets some giggles on the first day of class, but it works to say upfront, 'The pretension has to go. Learning is not about being pretentious. It's about real, genuine communication and idea sharing.'"
A Font Choice Helped Spark a Revelation
"The first-gen experience hit me when I went to graduate school. Here were all these people who were so much better-read than me, and seemed to know all these things that I didn't know. My advisor was talking to me about a draft, and he was explaining something about the font that I was using. He said, 'Oh, you should probably use a serif font.' And he kept using the word 'serif', but I had no idea what it meant.
"I respected my advisor so much, and I didn't want him to think that I was an idiot. I had to admit to him I had zero clue what he was talking about, something other people probably would have known. But in that moment he was so comfortable, and he didn't make fun of me. He just took the time to explain those things to me and after that I never felt bad about asking him anything. I learned so much more in graduate school once I stopped thinking, "If I ask a question, I'll look like an idiot.'"
Running is a Source of Clarity
"Philosophy is very abstract, and you're sucked up in your own head all of the time because it's hyper-intellectual. For me, things like kickboxing and running involve a different, embodied sort of thinking. Running especially helps keep me centered, and helps me to stay focused and to attend to the other parts of life that are not just my brain. With our busy schedules, everybody needs that kind of physical activity or something else that feels grounding."