The First Day of My Second Semester at Pepperdine

After a fabulous break of seeing my friends in Georgia, celebrating Christmas, bringing in the New Year, and watching endless amounts of Gossip Girl with my sister (we are addicted!)…I am now back at school and excited for the brand new semester! Yesterday was my first day back and I don’t have one complaint about my classes or my teachers. I think I really lucked out! There is one class in particular that I enrolled in and after the first class I have already given it the title of My Favorite Class I Have Ever Taken. And I think it will be very hard for any other class to steal that title.

My professor is Tom Shadyac. He was the director for the movies Ace Ventura (one of my favorites), Bruce Almighty, and Liar Liar…just to name a few! I’m struggling to find the words to describe him…so I’m going to let my friend, Ellen DeGeneres, tell you a bit more about him and the amazing things he does!

On the first day of class, he handed out a syllabus…like almost every teacher does on the very first day…because he said Pepperdine required that he do so. But, his syllabus was unlike every other teacher’s. It reads as follows:

Silly-bus (He thought it was stupid that he had to do this)

Course Title: Storytelling and Life

Class meets Monday evenings from 6-9; the best pizza in LA is served around 8:30; snacks will be provided at the start of class.

Course description: To use movies, media, video clips as an access point to talk about life. Your life. And to begin to answer the question, Who are you?

Teacher: You.

 Course requirements: 1. It’s better to give than to receive. 2. If you want to find yourself, lose yourself in the service of others.

Course Theme: “Rethink all you have been taught in church, or school, or in any book.”

Required reading: None.

Suggested reading: the stars, the tides, the seasons, your own heart; an Emerson essay or two wouldn’t hurt (consider Self-Reliance, Compensation, The Over-Soul); any Mary Oliver, especially Anthologies 1 and 2; The Essential Rumi, translations by Coleman Barks; The Gift, Hafiz, translations by Daniel Ladinsky.

Expectations: Let go of those things, they get you in trouble…

This “silly-bus” alone wins him the award for My Favorite Class I Have Ever Taken.

After discussing the syllabus, he showed us two video clips that really…and I mean really…get you thinking about life. I posted the videos below just in case you wanted to be challenged to think about your life.

In the midst of our busy lives, constantly beaten up and shaped by society…it is easy for us to lose sight of the most important things in our lives. So, I am thankful that Tom did trade in his lavish lifestyle to shine the light on those important things and challenge me, as well as 399 other students, to truly figure out who we are and who we want to become. Needless to say, I already can’t wait for next class!


  1. I wish I could take this class! Cool blog Caroline, congrats & good luck!

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