March 6th, 2002

pod

The whole god damned day

A slight break in the action....whew. So I got up at the crack of dawn today to write my King Lear essay. It's not terrible but definitly not up to the standards that I could have achieved with more time/if I had finished the play. Oh well, it's just a placeholder since we get to drop one essay grade. Still I probably won't do THAT badly.

I've got my test questions for both Anthro and Japanese History now and they look doable. Definitly going to take some serious work but I think I can do decently. The major issue right now is getting my reading done for my psych paper which I need to start researching on thursday. That's going to be more than a little bit of a bitch. It's only 10% of the final grade but I want to do well on it because I lack confidence as to my ability to ace the in class portion of the test.

IN other academic news I scored a 105 on my statistics mid term (I knew I had this one aced) and got a 10 on my latest problem set. That puts me in decent position to get an A+ in the class which would be a real aid to my GPA and not a bad way to maintain my record of one A+ per semester at school. Definitly something that I want to do and that shouldn't be TOO difficult as long as the course doesn't wildly switch direction (The formulas are tougher now but it's all open book tests so *shrug*.)

More and more as the semester progresses my life is JUST school. I have to steal moments to recreate or even to write in this journal. It's starting to bother me because I haven't even come CLOSE to achieving the personal goals that are currently more important than my academic goals, and yet they are constantly being back burnered. Just today I took a big step backwards by cancelling my attendance at the anthro study group because I don't want to be around 9 people at the same time (I don't like groups of more than five, I get uncomfortable and feel a strong desire to leave whenever I encounter them.)

*7 hours later*

Gah I have got to stop falling asleep in the middle of writing these. My mom's off to South Africa today so at least I'll have a little peace during this Mid-Term test glut. I don't know, I mean I guess I feel like gains in school are transitory because I never know when I'm just going to misjudge that very thin margin and fuck up, and I would like to be building more stable achievements like frienships or outside school skills/hobbies during this time period. It's frustrating for me to have to learn these skills when I'm playing in a league where most everybody is far more advanced than I am. But I'll get it eventually. And if I don't, well, did I mention I got 105 on my statistics test?

Oh.

I did?
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It's heaven or it's hell

Hmm. So I got this email this morning:

Ben,

I wonder if you would allow me to use your paper on gay partnerships as
a sample to make available to the class? I would use the paper without
the title page (and thus without including your name). I think a number
of people would benefit from seeing a paper that is well-done, and yours
was. Please let me know whether this would be okay as soon as you can.
If you can send me an electronic copy as an email attachment, that would
help a great deal.

Thanks,

Professor Johnston (he used his first name)

Now there are probably two main camps in reaction to this. The first is from people who know me vaguely and are thinking "Gee...like we needed this asshole to be even MORE arrogant than he already is. After this he'll be even MORE intolerable." The second camp consists of people who actually care about me or are perceptive and knowledgeable about me as a person (this camp consists solely of Jeff) who are thinking "Oh no, his perfectionism has just been triggered and this is going to make the rest of the semester pretty hellish for him." You see I have what is called in Social psychology a prevention focus. That means that I worry about NOT losing rather than winning. I've explained this before in past entries.

Now while it is a pretty nice, if meaningless, honor to have my essay selected out of the 112 students in the class to be used as an example, it means that I have to maintain that SAME standard for the rest of the semester or I will feel absolutely miserable. Now that I feel like I've established my paper writing skills in professor johnston's eyes I will feel TERRIBLE if I let him down and get like an A- or another grade in the Bs. Considering that in this class I am competing against a lot of grad students and a fair number of declared poli sci major juniors and seniors it is unlikely that the rest of my papers will all be As. This will lead to cognitive dissonance. Anyway at least it shows that I'm doing decently in the class since I doubt the prof would ask this of someone he thought was struggling badly (I.E. someone who could use an example.)

My mom has left for south africa so now the real study time begins. I'm going to have to buckle down big time if I want to make As on all my mid terms (and I do). I think I'm going to cancel GED class next tuesday and let a sub take my place because it's just NOT in a good place for me. I already asked for an extension on my JUSTICE paper (well the prof moved up the deadline today and I asked him if I could hand it in on the original deadline which he said was fine considering how much work I have that week)

I'm also considering law school a bit more seriously now that I have more confidence in my polysci writing skills. But that's neither here nor there right now.

Not much else except work is going on right now with me. Today after anthro Derrick went off to talk to his study buddies so I guess he won't be needing my help anymore (and just after I was recovering the confidence neccesary to offer it too) but that's okay. I shouldn't offer to help others out of social greed anyway.

P.S. I did something stupid today when I asked to meet with my anthro professor over something in the latest text we were supposed to read but I didn't. Fortunatly it doesn't look like scheduling will permit the meeting. I really need to either keep a lower profile or just DO all the damned work. Not that I don't think I can argue the point convincingly it's just....dangerous.

P.P.S. This is also bad for me in that it reinforces my tendancy to do papers really late and off the cuff like. I wrote this one in a slapdash manner at like 1:00 AM the day before it was due while I was watching old reruns of Cheers. I did edit it though for about 2 hours which probably made the difference. Still it will NOT help me with my dilligence issues. Not at all.

P.P.P.S. It's funny how I always manage to find the negative in the things that I have fantasies about. Like in Spanish class I had this fantasy that I would end up paired with She-Who-If-She-Were-To-Ever-Read-This-Thing-Would-Definitly-Be-Creeped-Out in the oral project and I got that and it turned into this whole melodrama of misery and dispair which I STILL haven't recovered from. And sitting in class the first day when the professor talked about the release we all signed to let them use our essays as examples I imagined that mine would be one of the standouts that he would use and I would impress him with my raw reason rather than poly-sci tricks picked up in other classes (Of course in this fantasy someone came up to me after the essay was handed out wanting to debate some of the points in it and we struck up some sort of relationship and I used academic prowess to not be so damned lonely, but let's just take one step at a time here) and now that has happened and I realise that it was also a bad fantasy to have come true. Of course one might argue that the problem is the fantasies only come HALF true, but then I'd counterargue that it proves one of the flaws with fantasy, it is teleological in nature most of the time while life is not.

Oh I just realised that maybe MY essay was selected because the best students in the class DIDN'T sign the release and I did. That makes me feel less proud, and oddly a bit relieved. Maybe I DO need to go back to seeing Jeff twice a week (probably the subject of my next non-informational posting).
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