If there’s one thing that I’ve realized since coming to Northwestern, it’s that learning does not just have to take place in a classroom, and it does not just come from your professors. When you are surrounded by so many interesting peers, you are also bound to learn from them. Now, I could write a post about how studying with peers has helped me better understand class material, like the study group that I was a part of for my Linguistics class. But I’d rather describe some of the more unusual topics that I have learned from some of my friends here.

First, my friend Davion has recently been teaching me about the intricacies of football. He played on the Northwestern football team, so I consider him to be a pretty leading authority on the topic. Before he talked to me about it, I knew generally how the game worked, what downs were, and a few of the penalties. However, did you know that the left side tackle is the second most important player on the offense, or that a 21 personnel play calls for two running backs and one tight end? Or that most defenses try to push plays towards the middle to contain them? I certainly did not, and talking to someone who has first hand experience in those things has been really interesting.

A couple of my other friends, Seth and Allison, taught me how to make milkshakes and floats in the dining hall. Seth would often use chocolate ice cream and milk, which I certainly enjoyed. But that was not enough for us. Eventually we learned to make a float with Sprite, orange juice, and rainbow sherbet that was delicious. It might not have been the healthiest thing I had at the dining hall, but I would never have come up with it on my own and it was delicious.

Finally, my roommate Pascual, who is from Mexico City, taught me how to make a meal that he grew up eating back home called chiliquiles. It’s a fairly simple dish made up of mostly tortilla chips and refried beans, but we cut up corn tortillas to make the chips and it was fun to learn a little bit more about his background. He often has me try different sauces and candies that he brings from his hometown.

Whether it’s the intricacies of football, unique milkshake recipes, or hometown dishes there is plenty to be learned at Northwestern. All it takes is a simple conversation with the incredible peers that are very easy to find all across campus.

–Jason Smith

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