The New Semester Ramp-up Is Killing Me

Fresh off of a 4.0 semester, I thought I had this whole thing covered. Little did I know that the 45 day break between semesters would cause such horrible atrophy in my scholastic mind, that it would take nearly a month to get back into the swing of things.

I knew it would happen, which is why I planned on doing Java over the break, why I was hoping to have completed two or three major house projects, and not to have spent the majority of my free time lounging around, watching television and getting back into the terrible habit of playing Minecraft at every opportunity. None of my major projects were completed, I did very little programming, and I did, in fact, spend quite a bit of time watching television and playing Minecraft. “Laziness is a secret ingredient that goes into failure. But it’s only kept a secret from the person who fails.” –Robert Half.

How right he is. I had no idea, and I’m scrambling to get back into the game. I think I’ve got it for Trigonometry. Mythology is a cake walk (thank god), and while Java is a lot of work, it’s not new learning for me, so it’s easy. As always, the English class is the beast. Lots of research and writing, and now there’s also analysis. I like this last part the best, but it’s new and all new things take time to master.

I came over here to write about something, and ended up writing this instead. Obviously this was more important and needed to get out, because I have no idea what the other thing even is anymore.

Spring Semester 2013 Begins Today!

Hey everyone,

It’s been a crazy winter break, but I’m back to my old schedule again. Well, it’s really the new, old, schedule because none of the classes are the same, nor will I have the same time to spend goofing off between work and school. Hopefully I can keep things going, homework-wise, or I’m gonna be screwed.

I’ve got another full load this semester. Java Programming, Intermediate English Comp, Trig and Mythology. Should be fun. There’s enough in there that I am really excited about that I think this should be a really great semester.

Oh, in case you weren’t in the know about my big achievement last semester… I got a 4.0 for the semester! Woot! I hope to be able to repeat that performance this semester. I think I can, as long as I don’t slack off in Java and Trig. The rest should be easy. Man, those sound like famous last words… Truth be told, the English class will probably be the hardest one. I worked my ass off in ENGL 101 and barely got  the A. Hopefully this one isn’t as tough, or the teacher has ideals closer to my own. Time will tell.

I’m also getting back to the gym. t/th/sa. Gonna figure out some resistance training and some cardio. Make strong and get endurance! Yes! I’m also going to be doing Kempo if everything works out properly. More on all this later. I just wanted to drop by and remind people that I’m alive.

 

Preparation: Finals Week

It’s that time of the year again, Finals. Everyone is writing, preparing, studying for their tests and performances. I, personally, can’t focus on that right now. I look at my notes and formulae and just see things that look easy and not worth going over. God, I hope that means I’m ready for this. It’s either that, or I’m deluding myself, preventing the studying that would be beneficial to my completion of this semester’s excitement.

I write this to try to clear my head of stray thoughts, prime myself for taking the big test in a few short minutes, but I fear that it is not working. Even as I attempt to align my willpower and accomplish this one task, to purge the excess energy from my mind, I am distracted by the sights and sounds around me: The table full of people discussing how badly they’re going to fail American History, the nice-smelling girl who just sat down next to me to finish her research paper or the hum of the florescent bulbs overhead.

None of those are really preventing me from writing. The real problem is the Asian guy listening too loudly to dubstep over his DJ-style headphones. I wonder if anyone else is as annoyed by that as I am. Why does no one say anything to him? Why don’t I say anything to him? Perhaps it’s a breech of the social contract that keeps humans from killing one another just because we can. He’s showing his dominance over those of us here in the library, attempting to keep to ourselves and study for finals. Presumably he is as well, his methodology differing distinctly, forcing us to bask in his auditory power over the silence of the library. If he were an ancient human, in the time before civilization, he might be banging his spear against his shield and shouting violently at the lot of us, deemed weaker in his eyes by our preference for peace. His war chant sounds much like fingernails against a chalkboard set to a heavy beat, one which we cannot help but answer. And the only answer available is conflict! Where are the warriors of our tribe? Why have we not met this challenge? Perhaps they look to me. Should I be the one to silence this threat? Am I to gather my shield and spear to meet this warrior on the field of battle? I am! I will champion my people! This threat to our way of life will be removed by my hand!

Oh. A librarian has caught the sound of his music and has asked him to turn it down. The challenger backs down, faced with a greater foe than he, but today it is not I.

Now it’s time to meet the true challenge. It’s 5 minutes until class starts, the final exam awaits. Perhaps I have a need for my spear and shield after all…

Lessons learned at school this semester

This is my first semester taking “real” classes. I’ve done a few electives and even some transferrable work, but this is the first semester where I took a full courseload of transferrable classes and knocked it out of the park, at least I hope so… grades post later this month.

What did I learn? Here’s the list

1) Math classes are better in class than online. Yes, if you are a math genius or already know how to do it, you can and maybe even should take it online. But if you’re unsure or haven’t taken math in a long time, its best to be on campus. They have a tutoring center, not that it was easy to get in there ever, and your professor is an invaluable resource. Even when it was something as simple as “In what order do we take these exponents?” it’s better to ask in class (or after if you’re self-conscious*) than to be stuck at home, with no assistance at all.

2) Check ratemyprofessors.com before selecting a class where you have multiple options. This goes doubly for online classes. You can get stuck with a professor that doesn’t respond to emails or forum posts, and is extremely strict with no way of contacting them when you’re not sure about an assignment. Also, professors are people too, and they have beliefs and agendas. If you’re lucky, they’ll keep it out of the classroom, but that rarely happens. Be sure to find out what their former students think about them, you might find that you wouldn’t want to be stuck with them for 16 weeks.

3) On-campus classes are much easier to prepare for. Yes, you have a lot of deadlines, and yes they are generally at least one a week. Once you get this into your schedule, you may find it a lot easier to accomplish. After all, you have to go to class and turn in your homework or research paper. If you don’t have it, you have to look your professor in the eye and tell them that you couldn’t manage to get it done. Online, there’s no looming figure that’s going to disapprove of your laziness. You just don’t turn it in and collect your zero. Maybe this one is only relevant to some of us who are motivated by disappointment and guilt, but I think it’s a big enough demographic that it’s worth noting.

3a) On campus classes give you more chances to meet and befriend your peers. Even if you’re older and are going back to school after years of working, like I am, you still get to meet interesting people (or kids) and see what views you share. I’ve made judgements about some of my classmates upon meeting them for the first time, only to find out that I was totally wrong after a few weeks of getting to know them better.

3b) If you’re not married or in a relationship, college is an amazing place to meet people. Some study that I’m too lazy to go find now stated that, “4 out of 5 long-lasting relationships begin in college” (unknown). And that statistic is basically made up, but there’s a study out there that says something along those lines. I know that I’ve met some very interesting girls this semester, and if I weren’t married, I would have made sure to include them in my study groups.

Those are the big lessons from this semester. I’m sure there will be more from next semester as well. Keep moving forward, never stop learning, and try to have fun doing so.

* Don’t be self-conscious, you’re paying a lot of money for this education, get the most out of it and screw what everyone else is thinking.**

** The truth is, they’re too scared to raise their hands as well, and are secretly thankful for you asking, because they didn’t know either.***

*** But try not to be the person who asks stupid questions every 15 minutes. We all hate that person by the end of the semester.