Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Rant You Probably Could Care Less About

I've been a busy bee lately.

But Amanda, it's summer, how can that be?

Two words my friends: summer session.

You see, I am extremely dedicated to transferring schools after only two years (it takes most people 3 years to aquire enough units [60] and get all of their g.e.'s out of the way). Seeing as last year was year numero uno, that means I only have one more year to get everything into place - and have to start applying to colleges in October (to which I often say "wait a second - didn't I JUST do all of that nonsense when I graduated high school?" Yes. Yes I did.)

The only way to even come close to getting enough classes done is to take summer session, which is kind of a wrench in the whole "summer vacation" thing.

Before you get tired of my whining and stop reading, hear me out.

Summer classes are 6 to 8 weeks long, where as the normal class in 14 to 16 weeks long. This means that instead of going to class 2-3 days a week for an hour and twenty minutes (per class), I go to class 2-3 days a week for three, to sometimes 3 and a half hours a day per class (the later occurring when the teacher holds us late, which happens somewhat frequently. Plus, being the nerd that I am, I like to stay and ask questions).

Now, for the most part the extended class time doesn't bother me too much, but what does is the homework. Ideally, summer classes cover the same amount of material in a shorter amount of time, which usually means piling a weeks worth of homework onto one night. Not to mention that term papers and projects, which are usually given significant class time to go over, now just sort of get lost in the mix, leaving me feeling thoroughly unprepared.

I've just started a second summer class, and I have about five hours of reading to do. Not counting researching my presentation topic and listing to online lectures/online discussion board.

And I work 5 days this week.

Ya... Go me.

While I am thankful that summer classes are offered, I wonder if the time crunch combined with the fact that it is, after all, summer is somewhat detrimental to the whole learning process. I love going to class and getting to discuss what I have learned, but with all the stress of what I have to accomplish, It really is all to easy to simply do the work, rather than care about the work.

This was a lot easier last year when I took a summer class. An intro to psych course, the class was really interesting, and something I looked forward to. But, last year Psych 1 was my only summer class, and I wasn't working - in other words, a minority in the community college world.
Sometimes people at work or school ask me how I do it all, and still manage to get relatively good grades. My answer? What else can I do? These are the cards I've been dealt, and now I have to suck it up and get it done.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We are not the geniuses, just the technicians.

One of the principle truths of human kind is that we are constantly searching for answers. Another truth is that every culture, ethnicity and religion has their own idea of what the "big questions" really are, and their own perspective on the solutions to these questions. With so many people focusing their energy on answers of the universe, God, true love, human purpose, and every other school of thought that can be found printed on an over priced notebook - we forget why we began searching in the first place. We treat all of these questions like a highly complex math equation (with many groups logically viewing it in their own terms), and regard the answers as a holy grail of power - just look at how many wars have been fought over which school of thought gets to write the book on human existence. But, at the heart of all these questions and answers is very simply, humanity. Our confused sense of self is something that can no more be transcribed onto paper than "true love" can be to some one who has never felt it, or the color red to someone who has never seen. But here is the kicker folks; the one last truth of human kind: we will always try. While we may never be able to find or agree on all of our most important questions (and maybe we are not meant to), it is a process that is unavoidably and undoubtedly human. All of us feel deep down somewhere that these questions are vital to our existence, and that the knowledge will bring us comfort and purpose. Really, the answers have nothing to do with it. It's the act of learning.