February 15th, 2002

pod

Everything you need

It's not even noon and already I feel like I'm about ready for my day to end. Part of that is having to get up at the insanely early hour of 8:00 AM to make my 9:00 AM discussion section which I was a little late for. The discussion section was rather lame because it was a bunch of tired students and INCREDIBLY stodgy TA who can be best described as what a "cool" teacher in the 1950s would have been like. He's laid back and he brings interesting supplemental material to class but he has very little of a sense of humor and his lack of connection to popular culture makes him seem wincingly dated.

I didn't distinguish myself at all this class which has been the norm for the week. Just made some rather plebian observations and answered some kind of silly questions. I think it's partially because there is almost NO "thinking outside the box" to be done in this discussion section. Everything's very much set along a certain path PLUS we're supposed to respond to the readings via email but nothing that we bring up is EVER mentioned. It's very dry and disapointing and while I may have come on well the first couple sessions I'm just another face in the crowd now which I'm not really used to.

On the way to my meeting with the Dean I saw two guys from my high school who go to Columbia. I said hey to Shiva but he seemed to really not want to talk to me so I let him go onward to his "Job" although he actually just stopped to chat with Dan, one of my least favorite people to grace the halls of my high school which had no lack of irritating people. I continued onwards and met with the Dean and I've decided to stick with Anthro and NOT switch to Pass/Fail. I did find out however that my college has no clear cut honors rules, instead an honors "commitee" that looks at grades and recomendations and stuff and decides based on subjective standards. I am not happy about that because it means that A) Summer classes are bad because they are seen as being less rigorous than "real" classes and B) I can't just find a cut off that satisfies me and try to maintain my grades at that level, I won't be sure about what's going to happen until it actually DOES. How irritating.

The dean did call me one of her shining examples of why students SHOULD take leaves of abscence if they feel they need them which I guess made me pretty good, but generally the meeting brought up more questions than it answered.

After the apointment I headed off to my JUSTICE discussion section and was in for a rude awakening. There were very few people there and even worse PROFESSOR JOHNSTON DIDN'T COME. It was just a pair of TAs. Then, as if things weren't already disapointing, they said that we would only be discussing things that had been stated in lecture and nothing outside of that from the reading. Nobody had anything to ask and the girl I shall from now on refer to as "Rivalchick" turned to me specifically and asked whether I had any questions. I couldn't read THIS statement either so I said no and then immediatly set out to manufacture some sort of question I could ask just in case she was being snide and saying "Well THAT finally shut you up fatboy" and ended up forcing a 35 minute discussion with the TAs that didn't really resolve anything and made me look like a bit of an unclear thinking although I really think it was more a case of them giving completely unsatisfactory answers. Frankly the whole incedent was really discouraging for me. Why did Professor Johnston skip this section? Will he be coming back or handing it off to the TAs? Was it my constant probing that drove him away? I sent him an email asking for a clarification about the assignment and he never responded, maybe I was too zealous in my desire to learn and made him think I was some sort of sycophantic loser guy who tries to inflate his grade through brown nosing and participation just for the sake of participation. The section ended 40 minutes early and I left while everyone else sort of sat around talking amongst themselves. After I left the room and went to the water fountain I could hear one of the TAs talking rather loudly and I wondered whether they had just FAKED ending the session to get me out of there so they could avoid my questions. This paranoid thought sitting in my mind I walked home with my academic tail between my legs.

Side notes: I asked my Japanese History TA for some references on a sect of monks (the Tendai I believe) so I could give them to Jeff and he said he would bring them today but he didn't. I'm not going to nag him over that but it is kinda disapointing because Jeff's request wasn't an unreasonable one and now I can't fill it.

Also my only clean pair of Jeans keep falling down so I need to hold them up. Maybe I AM losing some weight although it's tricky to figure out exactly what's going on.
  • Current Music
    Vertical Horizon Everything You Want
pod

I'll be fine, you're not even on my mind, believe me I'll be fine

And so the weak whimpers across the finish line to the end. To tell the truth I sort of tuned it out after wednesday but I did manage to get through it okay without doing any permanent damage to my grades, self esteem, or anything else. The thing is that instead of feeling relieved or pleased I feel kind of....empty. I feel like although I've managed to engage most of my subjects to some extent I don't have a firm GRIP on things like I have in the past. In re-evaluating where exactly my time goes I have come to grips with just how much time and effort I put into exercises of thought and self-reflection. It is far from insignificant, and I wonder whether it's wise. I mean I do feel that an unexamined life is rather....eh....but I seem not to have time to LIVE life in the way I'd like and if I didn't have this powerful urge to process my existance and FIGURE STUFF OUT maybe I would feel less pressed for time in the actual living.

I guess it all ends up being a very subtle balancing act which I have yet to master. I don't quite understand how to go about carrying out the actual processes of life yet and it causes all kinds of problems. I wonder if there's a self help book for this.
  • Current Music
    Chris Isaac - Speak of the Devil