Thursday, September 25, 2008

My College Milieu, or How to Win in School Without Really Trying

Sorry for not posting the last couple of days. I'm sure the legions of readers I'm slowly gathering hang on every word like a meth addict at a rundown trailer park. Sometimes college gets in the way of the really important things in life, like goofing off on the internet!

Anyway, since this blog is partially about my life as I work through college I should at least talk some about my current run of classes. I'm required to take College Algebra and I HATE math. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. The truth is I HATE THE TEXAS INSTRUMENTS TI-84 GRAPHING CALCULATOR! Whomever invented this thing needs to have it shoved up his ass, pulled out, washed off, then shoved up his ass again while he feeds on broken glass! And don't even get me started on Microsoft Excel. On top of having to struggle through the Sisyphian task of using that calculator I have to deal with a professor who thinks ass is a dirty word! I can't call a fellow classmate a smartass without her telling me to watch my language. I'm pretty sure that originally the term smartass wasn't referring to a person's ass but rather a donkey; and since smartdonkey just doesn't have the same umph as calling someone a smartass they chose to run with it. Ass is even in the Bible for Christ's sake! I do like the other students who sit on the front row with me. Even though they're all 15 years younger than me and make me feel like a borderline pedophile when I hang out with them they're pretty cool kids.

Next is Abnormal Psychology. Now, of course, being a wannabe Psych major means that this class should be a breeze. And so far it is. I managed to make an A on my first test and I only read one of the three chapters covered. I also missed alot of school because of sleep concerns. My professor is a short, late 40s, perky Doctor who has actually done some private practice. I tend to be the most talkative in class and she has pulled me aside to say that she thinks I would probably do well in Graduate School, but she would like for me to not pose so many questions in reference to my own personal experiences with therapy. Apparently, it makes other students uncomfortable, although no one has said anything to me, so whatever. I'm not afraid of my issues, they are part of who I am and my struggles to deal with them are something to be proud of, seeing as how so many people are afraid to enter therapy, or can't afford it when they really need it.

Then there is my World Civilizations class. Oh BOY is that class interesting. My professor is a gruff Italian-American who clearly needs estrogen therapy to counteract his glaringly obvious overabundance of testosterone. I love busting his chops in class. I'm always saying or doing something to get under his skin. I can't tell if I'm torturing the guy or entertaining him. This is a guy who, while he denies this on its face, believes that any culture that didn't kill a WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE, and subjugate the weak, was a culture of wussies! He easily spent five days lecturing us on the battle tactics of the Roman Empire. And another two days on Sparta. I was half expecting that our test was going to cover the movie 300! Believe it or not, there actually WAS a question on the test related to movie, although it wasn't openly framed that way. I'll find out what I made on the test next week. I figure I either did pretty well or pretty crappy. It was one of those tests.

And then there's Humanities 220, Human Values and Meaning. I love this course. I get to use my mind and think for a change. It is a three hour seminar class on Thursdays, and is taught jointly by an English professor whom I've had before, and a Philosophy professor. The class is reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It seems like a pretty good book, although I've only read the first six chapters. The rest of the class is about to finish the book next week. I'm such a slackass sometimes. I like the book, and yet I allowed myself to get really behind on the reading. But then, for some reason, I've NEVER finished any book that I claim to have loved, with the exception of George Orwell's 1984. I've never finished Brave New World, A Separate Peace, A Catcher in the Rye, or The Fountainhead. I don't know what my problem is with books. I just hate to finish them. At any rate, ZAMM is all about the search for quality in the world around us, and what defines that quality. Is there such a thing an objective quality which can be quantified, or is it all in our heads, like the Supreme Court Justice who once said,"I can't define obscenity, but I know it when I see it." I'm probably going to make an A in HUM 220 without really trying.

So, what does all of this have to do with you? Probably nothing. But ever since high school I've truly enjoyed going to school. It's a place where I can pretty easily shine above most of the others around me if I want, or I can be a slacker and still get by with fairly good grades. I know not everyone shares my enthusiam for learning. Many seem to see it as nothing more than a means to an end. But I deeply value the idea that I get to learn something new everyday. I get to see new details about life around me. I have an opportunity to open my mind and consider previously unthought of possibilities. If you are in school now, or considering returning, try to immerse yourself in learning for learning's sake. Don't worry about the grades so much. They'll come on their own as you fully engage your curiosity. Just sit back, relax, and let your education absorb into your life; let it become a part of you. You might just find out that things aren't as hard or boring as you previously believed.

Have fun, and keep living life... or some approximation thereof!

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