November 9th, 2002


Soon the sounds give way, it cancels out the day

Thursday was remarkably mediocre in every possible way. My Psychology class was mildly interesting but continues to be much less engaging than at the begining of the semester. So much of what we are learning now just seems so generic and not in-depth as compared to the begining of the semester when things were more interesting and engaging.

Comparative politics was its usual boring self. Not even worth discussing to tell the just droned on and on and didn't really have much to offer. That class requires ENORMOUS amounts of work though. When I think of the sheer amount of reading AND the paper and the discussion section etc...etc... it is just mind boggling. Nobody gets it done, the professor wastes our time with his lectures, I should have dropped it when I had the chance.

American Politics was a joke. We did the election in rather cursory fashion in massively bloated "discussion sections" where nothing interesting got said. Then the professor handed back the tests. I think the mean was a 98 or something. I got 100 and the professor said that he would make the final harder since everybody scored so high. He also said that he gave the same test at NYU and people actually failed...although how they managed to do that remains a mystery. Everyone I spoke to agreed that they could have aced this test after sixth grade civics, and one woman said that her high school aged son saw her test and immediatly announced that he was going to Columbia because it was so damned easy.

My Comparative politics discussion section was...interesting. The professor stopped by to check it out and I was so emotionally exhausted from stress and being sick and whatnot that I wasn't as inhibited as I might have been. I made too many jokes (Jokes which had the entire class roaring in laughter at some points) and a couple mistakes although they were more due to exhaustion than lack of understanding of the material (I even screwed up the professor's name which was just plain idiotic of me.) It wasn't so bad and I managed to salvage some dignity in the end but I definitly COULD have made a better impression. Will have to make sure to get my work for the next section done ahead of time.

After that I went to Philo which was pretty decent. The resolution was "Ophelia should have gone to the nunnery," and I got quite a few laughs with my argument that she should have skedadled because Hamlet was gay and she was making everyone think he was straight and thus interfering with his action, or "Cock Blocking" him as a fellow Philo refered to it (indeed the biggest laugh of the night was garnered when the censor said "Ophelia is censored for cock-blocking Hamlet") The Scriba called me a genius sarcastically and the censor called me witless AGAIN (I think she's still ticked off that I wasn't disgusted by Quills) but who cares what they think? I also made the incredibly stupid move of agreeing to do next week's Literary Exercise because nobody else would. Inspiration would be appreciated at this point.

Overall I feel I did well, especially with my obsequious address which you had to be there for but involved mention of STDs and a slightly modified Alka-Seltzer jingle.

After the meeting we went out to a restaurant and sat around chatting. As usual everyone else got liquored up and conversation stalled and jolted its way into oblivion. For all my success at getting everyone to laugh and all the memorable bits I have done there I have not made any significant connections and I'm pretty discouraged in that respect.

I mean aren't creativity, wit, and humor supposed to count for something? Oh right...that's in the fantasy world where women's number one interest in a guy is "sense of humor"and businessmen are hard working honest types out to do good for their employees first and make money second. And where record companies care more about music than the bottom line.

In the end we all dispersed and I headed home to get some shut-eye.

Yesterday was a waste for the most part. I didn't get a ton of sleep and I spent most of the day trying (apparently successfully) to stave off intense feelings of depression by playing Grand Theft Auto and watching bad TV. I did have to go over to my CC professor's office at 5 to read her my test which was somewhat harrowing. I met Michael, in the same position as I was, in the lobby and we went up together to her office. When we knocked she basically grabbed him, dragged him in, and slammed the door in my face. It wasn't QUITE that dramatic but pretty close. He had something of a look of terror on his face as he entered the lair and I felt sorry for him. For the next fifteen minutes I sat around glancing at incredibly liberal propaganda papers and hearing the occasional outburst from her office as she discussed some point or other with him. When it was finally my turn I passed him as he left and he looked like he had just been traumatized. "Good Luck" was all he said to my inquiry as to how it had gone.

I read my essay and it actually went pretty well. She was obviously impressed with my writing, which is to be expected since, not to toot my own horn, I write most in class exams at the proficiency that other students write take-home essays. I did make some mistakes, due mostly to my exhaustion during the exam AND the fact that the reading (which I actually HAD done for once) in the CC core reader was wrong (she wanted us to do the reading from the 4th's complicated) but they were relatively minor and mostly word choice errors. In the end I got an A- which she seemed genuinely sorry to give me, but said she had to due to the errors and the fact that for her an A is for a PERFECT test. I didn't really mind the lower grade, although it was sort of irritating to know she thought so very highly of the essay but had to dock it for what were mostly vocabulary mistakes (I mixed up Eternal and Natural law according to Thomas Aquinas, but only in name since I explained both concepts as seperate during the course of the essay.)

When I left she asked me what field I was going into and I said psychology. She said it was a great loss and that I should go into philosophy or political philosophy because I had a wonderful mind for it. That would bring the grand total of professors who have told me I should go into their field because I have a great mind to 5.

I don't know how I feel about all that stuff. On the one hand everybody likes to be told that they're brilliant and this time it rings a little less hollow than usual because this particular professor is a well known hardass who I assume doesn't just hurl out the compliments at random like most other professors seem to.

On the other hand every time someone tells me how smart and funny etc... I am it seems to put more and more chinks in the whole American ethos, which I do still believe in despite myself. The idea that merit and happiness are intimatly linked and that people's miseries or joys are their own responsibility. It's a rather harsh view, I know, but it's much more attractive than the alternative which is that the world is a cruel and random place and sometimes merit isn't enough to matter. I know that the second view is more accurate but it's quite devastating and almost leads one down the road to Amorality (if the world is Amoral why should man be moral?) so I am trying to cling to the first the best I can.

I made a lot of mistakes this semester and I am way too busy trying to get things on track. I won't ever take this many courses again, at least not without a REAL summer vacation beforehand. Still I think that yesterday did help me understand one of the ways in which COLLEGE is not suited to me. See I am much more of an in-depth thinker than it pays to be at school. I can't read all the material quickly because I need time to ruminate on it and consider it and try to really understand it rather than just remember it. School isn't designed to allow you to do that. They just want to pour in as much as possible and make sure you can spit back at least part of it.

It's pretty disturbing when you think about it, actually. Deep thought is actively discouraged by the very structure of the classroom...yet most people don't even RETAIN most of the information learned in college, focusing instead on skills and habits except in classes related to their future professions.

Doesn't that seem slightly out of whack?
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