Archive for May, 2007

When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

A gray sky, blocking the sun, carrying the scent of a far distant forest fire. A perfect accompaniment, and a wonderful example as our class reads The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. Here is his description of the strange cast of the sky and sun that he must have meant to use for a day like today:

Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world.

Which is what I thought was happening to me when I first walked outside. Thank God a student told me what was going on, else I would have been convinced that the sudden onset of blindness was underway.


The Modern College Experience

Classes have begun for the short, but very intense session known locally as Maymester. 11 days of class, 4 hours per day, 3 books, 1 peformance, too many reviews to count, and BLOG ENTRIES! That’s right, we have to put up our very own blog for this class, wherein we will post our reviews of the books and performances. We will share our links amongst each other with the intention that we will engage in spirited discussion about the many topics of our research. It could result in a critical free for all or it could turn into a two person pillow fight…….time will tell, and you should know by now which way I hope it will go. Either which way, this is a great way to teach a class; traditional subjects shared in a very modern way. What’s next in the academic experience?

The journey is the destination.

An "A" …..Not An "A-"

How can I describe this? Let me start by saying that I did well this semester. I was surprised by the grades in two of my classes, because I thought that I had not done well enough on the final exams to push me to the best grade. But Providence, 100% attendance, participation, and every extra credit opportunity taken seemed to push me over the top. I did, however, earn an A- in a course that I thought I should earn an A. That was a disappointment, and frankly left me feeling that I had not accomplished what I had set out to do.

I stewed for a few days, wondering where I went wrong, and then concluded that I must have really screwed the pooch on the final. Today, I e-mailed my professor. I wanted to know what happened on the final, with the notion that I would learn a lesson about studying for exams.

Lo and Behold……..a data entry error has been made, and the grade earned in the course is, in fact, an A! It will be corrected and will reflect in my transcript in the next few days!

I feel like I just won the lottery, that the hard work, nay, the obsession of the semester has paid off. I am so damn happy I can’t stand it. There is a lesson in this…….never quit trying, and know where you stand.

Can I do it again? That’s the challenge……..

Gifts for Hard Working Students

Think you might want to give your hard-working student a gift to kick off school? Maybe serve up a small dose of motivation laced with some humor? Or, better, maybe a taste of what skills might be acquired NOW to be of use in the FUTURE? As in what your first JOB might require?

Herewith an idea: The Workaholic Survival Kit.

Presented by One Who Knows……..

Tricks of the Trade?

With the start of Maymester (tomorrow), it is time to shift the mental gears of this old jalopy. Idling along in neutral for the past ten days, it’s into first gear today and then into the higher gears as of tomorrow morning. This race (like all the others) will go, not to the fastest but to the surest, and so it behooves this student to be ready, rested, and raring to go.

This mental tip seems like a good idea. And for all those pups in class who will think the old man is losing his mind and desperately looking for a escape route, well, what they don’t know won’t hurt them. For sure.

H/T:The Evangelical Outpost.

The Second Kick of The Mule

With a semester under my belt, only slightly the worse for wear, and with a few days of recuperation behind me, it is time, again, to look forward. Next Monday will see the start of Maymester, the short, intense two week period where students take one course, meet every day for four hours, and try to cover, and learn, the material of a semester. In the spirit of Admiral Farragut, I charge ahead, regardless of the consequences, into the world of upper level English. Perhaps brainwashed is too strong, but it is fair to say that, in a moment of weakness, I fell for the call of the Sirens. Unlike Ulysses, there is nothing to prevent my destruction on the rocks besides my native strength and determination. Having learnt that my love of reading and writing is not always equal to the task of having to write and read, I face the possibility of much hard work. But it is from that process of “having to do” that much can learned. Thus the decision, and thus the edginess of thought that accompanies the understanding of a difficult road ahead.

It’s nice to be on edge.

Post Exam Program

This should describe the state to which I have translated, at least for a few days……..

“Life’s hard, son. It’s harder when you’re stupid.” — The Duke.

Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate,no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament.It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage. - Joseph Addison
The term informavore (also spelled informivore) characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food. George A. Miller [1] coined the term in 1983 as an analogy to how organisms survive by consuming negative entropy (as suggested by Erwin Schrödinger [2]). Miller states, "Just as the body survives by ingesting negative entropy, so the mind survives by ingesting information. In a very general sense, all higher organisms are informavores." - Wikipedia

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