Category: bush leagues

Oh, Hey

So, I check my blog today for the first time in, well, a little while, and find that my theme is totally different. Hm…

Not that it matters much, since I’m hoping to move this onto its own server soon. More on that later, though.…

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Semester in Review

Well, what a semester; I say ‘what a semester’ mostly because of a month of near-constant panic due to a flurry of closely-packed assignments, but I’m even more anxious now that the year’s almost over. Now that I’m halfway through Senior year, people are asking what I’ll do after graduation and actually expecting a definite answer. Like my senior year of high school four years ago, in fact.

Fuck if I know what I’m doing, though.

I don’t really feel called to any particular vocation, but am attracted to teaching at the university level. That entails graduate school, though, probably a Ph.D., which is fine, but where do I go for that? Besides, it’s too late to apply now for the next academic year, so I’ll have to take at least one semester off. That’s fine too, but most schools also want letters of recommendation, and I haven’t really bothered to brown-nose my professors that much. I haven’t gotten any help from my advisors, either.

That whined, though, I guess my anxiety is ultimately, as Led Zeppelin put it, “Nobody’s Fault but Mine.”

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Junior-year Reflections

I am wrapping up my third year of university, and am consequently in a reflective mood regarding my collegiate experience so far. Looking back on the classes I’ve taken, I cannot help but be amazed at what a waste most of them are.

Now, it is better to know something than not know it, and there is much to be said about a broad-based education, but nonetheless of the thirty or so classes I have taken through this semester, only a handful are at all related to my field of study. Even including those, the classes that were worth the effort (and money) involved I could count on one hand.

The reason is not something I can quite define. One problem lies in the number of “Core Curriculum” classes, which seem overly numerous. Another is the fact that, as a secular school, there is no common foundation from which to teach.

Perhaps a fundamental difficulty lies in the purpose of the university system. An especially honest professor of mine, expanding on a point made by Ezra Pound, pointed out that the university’s purpose is not education – one can educate oneself as well as the school. Rather, the purpose is accreditation – which is something else entirely. Much like primary and secondary education, university does not exist to teach students how to think critically or approach difficulties, but instead they ensure the student (customer?) possesses enough knowledge (separate from wisdom or understanding) that they can be given a diploma with which the student can prove the fact to prospective employers – employment, not education, being the ultimate goal of most students.

The root problem, I suppose, is cultural. Education in itself is not valued as highly as good employment. What once were universities, then, become technical schools to train students in practical skills for the end of finding a job. How this is to be reversed, I do not know. Probably it should begin in a change of attitude on the part of the students and professors.

For the time being, I am mostly just thankful that I received scholarship money and thus did not have to pay too much for my accreditation. Unfortunately, I will have to pay for others in the form of taxes to pay for government-sponsored scholarship programmes.…

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A Look at Student Government

Today, I got a glimpse future leadership of the nation, and the view is not good.

The venue was a debate at my university among Student Government candidates for president and vice-president. These five yammerheads went on for about an hour, mostly about the importance of representing “the students.” What none of them seemed to grasp was that “the students” are not a homogenous mass, but a collection of individuals who have differing, perhaps even conflicting, opinions on what their “representatives” should do.

Actually, the vast majority of students probably don’t care about Student Government, since they don’t seem to accomplish much beyond the occasional idiotic expenditure; for example, the purchase of three “spirit rocks” for students to express school spirit (i.e., graffiti) for several thousand dollars.

One of the vice presidential candidates was especially honest when he stated that he may not have totally agreed with a particular bill he had recently voted for, but since surveys indicated “the students” approved of the bill, “the students'” opinion became his opinion.

Too bad more politicians don’t admit they’re cowards who just do what’s popular!…

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Going Back

Classes begin anew in three days. I’ll be starting the semester off right, too – a quiz in my first class on my first day back. It’s the second semester of a foreign-language class and the instructor wants to make sure we all meet the minimum requirements.

I’ve never flunked out of a class on the first day, but there’s a first time for everything!…

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Crying Over Finals

Got out of a final exam for a language class today, in which a man was literally reduced to tears. I honestly can’t say I’ve ever seen that happen before, though this particular exam wasn’t that hard. Guess he just really, really, wanted to do well.

It’s a curse and blessing to me that I don’t get worked up over exams. I’ve seldom felt stressed over them, never lost any sleep or felt compelled to cease all forms of joy and happiness to cram every possible second of study time in order to get a few extra points, and certainly never shed tears over a grade. Unfortunately, my GPA is also lower than it could be because of my laid-back attitude.

So, to everyone out there dealing with finals, my message for this post is: Chill!…

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Economics in One Post

With all the talk of the government needing to spend money in order to stimulate the economy, I figured now would be as good a time as any to break out Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson.

In short, based on my understanding of his book, a government has only two ways, besides outright seizure, of raising money. The first is taxation, and the second is inflation (the printing of more money). Every dollar the government spends must be paid for by one dollar of taxation or inflation. In neither case is there any real gain to the economy, because by taxation wealth is simply redistributed, not created, and by inflation the value of each dollar (or pound, or whatever) is reduced, making the additional money less meaningful.

That’s, uh, really about it. Hazlitt expands on that concept in his writings, of course, but really this seems like plain common sense. Why Congress fails to grasp such concepts is a mystery.…

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Bad Assignments File

A post for the “Ridiculous Assignments” file.

In the creative writing class I’m currently taking, our final project is to take a piece we’ve written during the semester, and translate it into a different medium.

In other words, for a creative writing class, the most important assignment of the year is to create something, anything, except what this course is supposed to be about. That’s great.

Theoretically, the purpose of this assignment is to… I suppose help me better understand my original piece by translating it to something else. However, I’m in this class to learn to write, and this assignment is, at best, only tangentially related.…

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