[ 11/2001 | 12/2001 | 01/2002 | 02/2002 | 03/2002 | current ]

01/28/02 Once or twice a day I go down the list of the 15 or so blogs/diaries/journals that I read online. I get a bit peeved if a lot of them haven't updated since the last time I checked.

I'm such a hypocrite.

In other news. Congrats, Eagles, on a great season. They lost, and I'm disappointed, but I'm not upset at all. They played their hearts out, and just barely lost to a better team. I'm proud of them.

Yes, that's all I have to say. Please check back later for more irregularly-scheduled banalities.

01/25/02 Well, the birthday was fun. Went about as well as I could have expected, except the hoped-for 8 inches of snow turned out to be more like 3. But I loved the Eagles win, I loved playing in the snow, I loved seeing some friends here that I really don't spend enough time with, and I loved getting cake when I didn't expect it. Oh, yeah, and the casino trip went well. Ignoring the slot machines, I gained $2.50 playing blackjack for about 2 hours at $5 minimum tables. I'd say that's more than decent for a first trip to a casino.

The birthday high is over. Now, for the first time since high school, I have decided to outright skip doing an assignment which can't be handed in late. 21 years old and I'm regressing, I guess. Except then, I always skipped my work out of an immature reluctance to conform to the way my school wanted me to learn, with maybe some parental rebellion thrown in. Now I have a simple apathy toward my classes, combined with a very mature reluctance to conform to the way my school wants me to learn. Go figure. But the way I see it, spending a couple hours helping a fledgeling CS student really understand programming, combined with a couple extra hours of sleep, really is more worth it than a 1-2 page response paper on a topic I really don't care about.

No more site identity crisis, by the way. I decided to write what I want. These days that seems like typical blog/journal content, with an occasional update notice. So be it. You just read the blog. Here's the update.

01/19/02 Fate is giving me a couple of good little birthday presents. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the day. The Eagles play the most important game since the first football game I remember seeing. (1988, also the divisional round of the playoffs, also in Chicago. Fog Bowl, anyone?) They have a pretty good chance of winning it. Also, there is a somewhat sudden forecast for about 6 inches of snow in Philly. I've been rather miffed that Mother Nature hasn't deigned to give our city more than a couple of flakes, but this should go a long way toward remedying that. I LOVE snow. And finally, I found out only a couple of days ago that Penn is giving Martin Luther King day off, for the first time ever (not counting last year, when it was rolled into Winter break). A day to honor my favorite person, and a 3-day birthday weekend as a bonus.

I'm not even doing much today. Already played a great board game with some friends, and all I've got planned beyond that is watching a football game and playing in the snow. Even though I'm not doing 21 shots of liquor, or even one (I don't know of anyone who ever did that many shots anyway, I think it's really stupid), today is going to be a good day.

01/18/02 It's really a time of change for me right now, I guess. I just moved all of my college belongings from one room in our apartment to another. 3 hours to move stuff from one side of a wall to another. I also just found out that my mom is moving in a couple months, and therefore, the remainder of my belongings and my summer home are, too. That's also not a very far move, just a few miles, but that doesn't decrease the stress of it much. Throw in the first homework I've had to do in almost a month, the fact that I'm going to be legal very soon, and my first ever trip to a casino this weekend, and I guess it makes sense that I'm a bit more emotionally drained than I usually am this early in the semester.

I'm really looking forward to this casino thing, though. Don't ask me why. It doesn't make any sense, especially for someone who likes math as much as I do. I know I'm going to lose money. I hope I'm not too stupid to lose too much. Yet I can't wait to go anyway. Chalk up another point to the mysteries of the human spirit.

I'll keep you posted on how I do.

Since I still want to keep up the pretense of this being an update'll try to find time this weekend to fix the picture page and put stuff on it. That should be fun.

Love you all.

01/16/02 Guess I don't have much to say these days. Pretty much just getting into the routine of being back in classes. Haven't done all that much else, I need the first two weeks of a term to really get situated. So, yeah. An insane schedule of classes, sleep, an annoying head cold and headache, and a twenty-first birthday coming up really soon. With a trip to Atlantic City accompanying said birthday. That's pretty much all that's going on. I can tell there will be more soon. I can just sense it.

I've got a slight identity crisis here. I intended this main page to be more of an update log of this web page, and maybe a bit of my life. Less of a personal journal/weblog. But now I don't have too much to add to this site, and maybe I'd have more to write here if I let myself write more journally stuff. I don't know, I'll get back to you.

01/05/02 Hi again. I'm back. I didn't much feel like updating during finals week, and then I didn't have much of a chance to update over my modem/AOL connection over my winter break. Now I'm back at school, and classes start on monday, and I'm back on the web. Hope you didn't miss me too much. Maybe soon, I'll actually update some of the other sections around here....

If you're interested in a little peek into my mindset during finals week, and to know why I wasn't all that eager to update my website or do any other sort of life maintenance then, here's a little something I wrote on December 18th, the Tuesday of finals week. Please don't take any of it too seriously, I wasn't quite stable when I wrote it.

I have never been more sick of education than I am right now.

When I get a 67 out of 165 in a final exam, and I get a B- for the course, there is something wrong. When I don't understand the material fully, don't feel that I have a grasp on it, know that I won't retain any of it until after winter break, let alone for the next class in the sequence or for future, post-University use, I should fail the class. The common saying at Swarthmore is that "anywhere else, it would've been an A." At Swarthmore, this would've been an F. And that's how it should be. I didn't learn the material.

Since I don't feel that I am the only one at fault here, I'll place some blame on other people. I don't think Penn should encourage its undergrads to take a graduate-level class, and then dumb down the grading so that they can pass it. This is not how education should work.

On a more personal level, why not blame my circumstances? I haven't been at the same school for more than two years at a time since I was halfway done tenth grade. And even within a given school, circumstances tend to dictate that I not follow the normal path of courses. Each time I am placed in the middle of a situation like this, I feel like I'm grasping at straws to reach a level where I can pretend I was there all along, and that I can keep up with my peers. In high school it was a frustration, but still not that difficult, since high school wasn't that difficult. But now I am in college and I am taking a graduate level class at an Ivy-league school, and my past two years at Drexel just didn't prepare me for it. I know in my heart that if I had been with the other students in the class all along, I'd be able to keep up with them. As it is, I just got the lowest grade in a math class for the first time.

The problem is compounded by the fact that I really don't know what I want to learn anymore. I'm not sure there is anything. I left Drexel because I didn't like the "learning for the sake of getting a good job" environment. Learning should be for its own sake. And now I'm at Penn, and all the learning is either for the sake of graduate school, or arguably for its own sake, and I'm more frustrated than ever. What am I going to do when I leave here? It has to be something. I don't want it to be what I'm learning now, especially because I'm not really learning it. I guess I just want to do something that makes me happy, but the closer I get to graduating, the less and less sure I am of what that is. I want a job that actually makes me think, but so many people equate thinking with struggle and frustration, and I don't want that. Maybe that's the problem. One of the best teachers I ever had told me recently that he doesn't think I've had to work at something a day in my life. (I assume he is referring to school-type stuff.) I think he's wrong. I've had to work at things before, I just haven't had this level of frustration with them. Now that I have, I don't like it.

I feel even more bad now for the people who are sitting in my other classes and just aren't getting it. Maybe they feel this way in every class. Maybe they're used to the struggle and the frustration, and maybe some of them have gotten used to overcoming it and succeeding anyway. But it would drive me nuts. I believe now more than ever that college isn't for everyone. By the time you're done high school, if you don't feel like learning in a school is to youyr benefit, then just don't do it. You can always succeed without it. Or change your mind later. Me, I'm going to stick with it just because I'm so close to the end. I can endure three more semesters of this.

There are two types of classes. The ones that ask you to regurgutate information and the ones that make you think. I've always hated the former. If the latter is going to keep feeling this frustrating and unrewarding, then my opinion of higher education is going to start changing.


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