All That You Can Do is Wish Them Well

August 31st, 2015. 13:28

Over the past week I’ve perfected the art of knowing exactly when to leave my dorm to get to class on time. As it turns out, I may need to fine-tune that a little bit more with regards to my smaller classes, as when I arrived at my Computer Science class this morning at 10 sharp there was only one seat left, and it was in the very back of the room. It wasn’t that bad, but I definitely need new glasses.

However, my myopia is not the subject of this post. Joining me in the back were two gentlemen on my left and one on the right, and a few short minutes after I got settled in, the professor joined us and handed out our first quiz of the semester. It was incredibly easy, and after 30 seconds everyone was done. And then the two people on my left got up and exited. That was all they came for, the quiz. … Okay?

A few minutes later, another gentleman joined us and took the now-vacant seat next to me, took his notebook out, and fell asleep. The guy seated to my right was playing some sort of in-browser flash game the entire session, but neither of them really disturbed me that much, as I’m actually interested in the material of the class, so I was paying attention.

I guess that’s what this boils down to. Why would you take this class if you’re just going to A) leave immediately after taking the quiz, B) show up and fall asleep, or C) not even pay attention to the material being taught? This isn’t even a horribly specialized class, it’s CS 135, the basic Computer Science course with a couple of math prereqs. It’s pretty much the jumping-off point for any sort of computer-related major, and that’s basically it. Essentially, the only reason you’d be taking this class is if you’re majoring in a subject related to it, or, like me, you’re just interested in studying it for a little bit.

But none of those really make sense for anybody who doesn’t care enough to actually stay through the entire class and pay attention. So why would you even bother taking the class? I mean, if it’s just once or twice, fine. I understand that, everyone has off days. But I fully expect that to continue to be the case for some people, and I guarantee they’re not going to pass the class if they do that. So why are they even taking it? If you are interested in studying it, which you must be if you signed up to take it, what’s the point if you’re not going to actually put in some effort? Maybe I’m just an old fuddy-duddy who uses words like fuddy-duddy, but it seems to me that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

But I guess that depends on what your definition of “is” is.

Got no Time for Living, I’m Working All the Time

August 29th 2015, 16:31

And with that, I wrap my first week of college classes. Phew.

My Symbolic Logic course seems like it’s going to be really easy from what I can tell thus far. All we’ve done is read a chapter and then spend an hour pretty much going over that chapter again. At some point, perhaps the material in the textbook (which I had to print out myself) will become slightly challenging and spending time going over it will be helpful, but at this point it doesn’t seem like that’s going to be the case. It’s mostly going over different classifications of arguments and what they mean.And for someone with even a loose grasp of the English language most of this is second nature. Who knows? Maybe that’ll change.

Calculus, as well, seems like it’s going to be really easy, but there is a decent amount of homework to be done. That said, I’ve already taken two years of calculus in high school so this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.

My Public Speaking class is probably not going to be too challenging, either, so long as I stay on top of the work, which is really what all of this boils down to. It’s easy stuff so long as I actually put in the amount of time necessary to do the stuff I’m supposed to.

All three of the aforementioned classes are requirements for me in my first year, the first two for a Computer Science major, and the last for a student of the Honors College. And, really, I kind of just wish I didn’t have to take any of them. I’m sure I’ll get something out of them, but right now it seems to be a lot of easy stuff I already know. But I guess we’ll have to see.

On the non-academic side of things, I’m noticing one thing in particular about college — there’s lots of weird people. I’ve met a few different kinds of people, and all of them are pleasant enough, but not in any way the kinds of people I’d normally make a point to associate with. For instance, a gay kid and his frat brother friend who both got so drunk at a party that they managed to find their way onto the roof … where they proceeded to buy some cocaine. Or a girl with a lip piercing who spent a year in the psych ward for schizophrenia and once had sex with two guys in front of the Hollywood sign. Again, all very pleasant people to talk to, but … really, just not the kind of people I’d make a point to associate with in normal life. To each his own, I guess? Or her own? Or … whatever your ‘preferred pronoun’ is?

When all’s said and done, I’m perfectly content meeting people by way of the classes I take with them, because then at least we have some kind of common ground to discuss with each other. But, that being said, I’m perfectly content if I don’t make any friends here, because, if the couple smoking a hookah in their underwear on the lawn outside my dorm is any indication, most of the people here are … I don’t want to say ‘losers’. So I’ll just say they’re not ‘winners’.

I’m not going to have a lot of competition up here at the top.

Your Place in Life is Where You Want to Be

August 25th, 2015. 17:58

I’ve discovered a particular phenomenon of late, and I’m writing this in an attempt to clear it up for myself and figure out why, exactly it’s occurring.

As some of you may know, my major at the moment and for the foreseeable future is listed as Computer Science, and the majority (NPI) of the classes I’m taking this semester reflect that. There are always possibilities of dual majoring/minoring in other subjects, but at this point in time I’m keeping it simple.

Before I began studying in college, numerous times I was urged by many, most notably my father and one of my role models from high school, Dr. Orletsky, to test the waters in many subjects that interested me outside of whatever field I decided to focus on. Seeing as I’m getting paid to attend UNLV, it would behoove me to take as many subjects as physically possible. Writing being something I’ve always enjoyed, I signed up for Journalism 102 as my one wild card class this semester, among my Computer Science, Logic, and Calculus classes for my major, and my Orientation Seminar and Speech class for the Honors College.

The first difficult thing about this was the fact that the school limited me to 17 credits for this semester. Evidently, this is just something they do, and in order for me to be able to actually take more than that, I’m going to have to excel this semester and basically beg them to let me do more. Soon after I arrived, I received an e-mail from my honors advisor asking me why, exactly, I’d signed up for Journalism 102. The wording of the message was more than a little passive-aggressive, and the general vibe I got from it was “you’re a computer science student, stay where you belong.”

The journalism class I’m taking is in two sections, a lecture and a discussion. Yesterday afternoon I attended the lecture and was told several times by the professor that it was geared largely toward journalism majors and that, for the most part, it was a preparation class for journalism classes further down the line. He also recommended that we tell him if we aren’t planning on majoring in journalism after class. After class, out of 74 students in the lecture hall, I was the only one who approached him and told him that I was actually taking mostly computer science classes and was merely an interested third party. He didn’t make a huge deal out of it and simply told me that I would need to work extra hard, and all was well.

Today in the discussion class we did a small exercise in which we interviewed the other classmates and presented the information we found. Numerous times I was asked “why did you choose to major in journalism?” My answer of course, was “I’m not.” Everyone seemed flabbergasted, and the ‘interesting’ piece of information about me that was presented was that I was a computer science major. The professor seemed consistently amused, and my fellow classmates bewildered.

I guess the overall trend I’m seeing is students afraid to step outside the bounds of what they’ve already said they’re going to do, and teachers recommending that they don’t. And it confuses me. You’re paying for your own education, and you’ll get out of it exactly what you put into it. I mean, I’m not paying for mine, but I’m going by the same principle. It’s really not that difficult to complete a major in the allotted eight semesters, and it leaves you plenty of room to mess around in some other areas of interest. You shouldn’t be bound by your subject matter of choice, nor should others make such a big deal out of your decision to leave it. The way I see it, as long as I’m still doing the necessary things to finish up my track, and I do my own work to the best of my ability, I should be able to take whatever I damn well please.

That said, the fact that I have to take a Women’s Studies course is BS.

Why Are We Here? Because We’re Here.

August 24th, 2015. 13:01

Anybody who knows me relatively well understands that I have a certain fondness for television sitcoms, perhaps more than any sane person would. One particularly brilliant sitcom I’ve seen comes to us by way of NBC, and it’s titled Community. One episode came to mind today as I attended my Honors 105 class, a required class for all members of the Honors College titled “Honors Orientation Seminar”. In this episode, the main character Jeff seeks a class he can blow off, and finds it in an accounting class taught by a professor who thinks he’s in Dead Poets Society and presses his students more to “seize the day” than actually do any work. I met that professor today.

Well, not exactly, but the same principles apply. He’s not a professor, he’s a finely-groomed, well-manicured senior in his fifth year, living with his parents and rocking a man-bun. Some of the requirements in this course include keeping a daily diary about whatever we want to so that he can check that we’ve written in it (note: he won’t actually read it since it’s a personal assignment, he’ll just check to see that we’ve written … which means I can just write whatever I want to, theoretically), reading a book we received at orientation that even the student teaching this class describes as “horse crap”, and attending a kickball tournament later this semester. That’s right. This class includes a mandatory kickball tournament.

Other highlights include writing our own obituary, the fact that most of our classes will run short (as in, half an hour short) so as not to “stifle our creativity”, and that we’re not allowed to take notes. Yes. It’s actually against class policy for us to take any notes in this class. Which makes, you know, a lot of sense. I guess.

The actual course description involves a lot of soul-searching and self-reflection, and culminates in us writing a letter to our future selves. Which … okay? Our first homework assignment is to read the first chapter of the book and write a page on everything we find wrong with it, because, again, the teacher hates the book that we have to use. We also have to e-mail him a joke and a silly nickname we’d like to go by. It’s a one-credit class that meets for 50 minutes a week, and, quite frankly, I’m not sure why it exists. But whatever. Carpe diem.

Clear Head, New Life Ahead

August 20th, 2015. 12:11.

Yesterday’s move-in was a chaotic experience, to say the least. We managed to sneak in about 6 hours before my pre-determined move-in time and got everything unloaded in set up in record time. After a trip to Target, and dinner at the best Brazilian steakhouse this side of the border (whichever border you choose; it’s damn good), I bid my father and sister adieu and sat alone, a massive bundle of nerves. Shortly thereafter my evening was dedicated to two episodes of a sitcom I’ve already watched, and then it was off to bed.

It seems the school took an unforeseen hit in enrollment this semester, as the first-year dorm building seems rather sparse as far as population. Don’t get me wrong, there are still people in every room, but a lot of the rooms on my floor which are built for two seem to have only one resident. Like mine, for instance. Which is nice, since I can freely put up my ‘Keep Right’ sign on the back of my door without any fear of sniveling or triggering someone so as to force them to retreat to a ‘safe space’.

That said, I’ve only had one conversation with the person with whom I share a bathroom, and to put it bluntly, I don’t think we’ll ever speak again. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as the only topics of conversation afforded to us would involve the one thing we have in common: our toilet. He seemed a rather … curt fellow, the kind who doesn’t look up from his phone when one is introducing themselves. To be fair, I have nothing wrong with brevity, and thus far he’s done nothing to draw my ire, so I’m perfectly content to keep our relationship confined to occasionally listening to each other poop. Unintentionally of course. These things just happen.

My floor’s RA is perfectly amicable, as well, and so far most of the floor seems to be in that state of being too nervous to really ever come out of our dorm rooms. My social interaction thus far has consisted of holding the door open for two girls who I desperately hope actually live in this building, so as not to make me an accomplice to breaking and entering, and brief conversation with a cleaning lady about the intricacies of Brita water filters. Come to think of it, that conversation was rather one-sided. I’m not sure she actually spoke English.

Best of all, the coffee maker in my room works, and I have a cabinet full of cereal, so worst comes to worst I can theoretically live in here until classes start. Hopefully that won’t be the case. I already made myself go outside three times today, and there’s a frisbee game this evening; frisbee being the one sport I actually can play. I haven’t gotten my mail yet, as doing so would force me to pass the sign proudly emblazoned with “You are in the 6th most diverse school in the nation!” One has to wonder what sort of competition is so prestigious that placing sixth is still worth telling everyone about who passes by to pick up their mail. Even the Olympics only go down to third place, and honestly, who even really cares about that? Name one Olympic bronze medalist. You can’t. But damn it, you can name what school in the US placed sixth on the national rankings of most blacks and gays.

If that’s even what’s taken into consideration. I mean, how do you place a numerical value on how much diversity your institution has? Is that in the metric system?

“Yeah, UNLV is in sixth place with 438 gigadiversirads, but we’re closing in on University of Hawaii, with 472.”

[Note: Yeah, I Googled which university UNLV was directly behind. That’s the kind of Grade-A detective work you’ll only find on this blog. Also worth noting, on the two lists I found, UNLV was either number 7, or not even in the top 50. Blatant lies? Blatant lies.]

The fact of the matter is, “diversity” means almost nothing, and if you actually chose what school to go to based on how much concentrated diversity was present in the water supply, you’re a bad person and you shouldn’t be allowed to graduate. What does it even mean? You have the most different people? So does that mean that the fewer pairs of twins are at any given school, the less diversity it has? Or are we using the old school version of diversity, where the amount of ‘privilege’ you have designates your ranking on the diverse-o-meter? For instance, me, a heterosexual white male, has practically no diversity. But let’s take Elfrey Godwyn into account, huh? She’s a transsexual lesbian polyamorous transblack fictionkin from southern Afghanistan. She wins the diversity game, simply by making up literally almost every aspect of her identity.

[Note: Elfrey Godwyn is not a real person. But if you thought for one second that she was, I’ve done my job of making you realize how crazy we’ve gotten.]

If it were my choice to make (and let’s thank God it’s not), the school wouldn’t have a big ol’ rainbow poster above the mailboxes that celebrated itself based on how many average diversirads each student had, but rather on how good their students are. What’s your graduation rate? How many go on to pursue successful careers? What are you charity programs like?

I have a dream that one day, I’ll go a school that judges its students not on the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Somebody said that once. I think it was Joe Biden.

A Modern-Day Warrior

Greetings, denizens of the internet. Unless you’re related to me, I have no idea how you found this, but welcome, anyway. That sentence had a lot of commas, but I assure you that they were all necessary. I have an innate understanding and respect for the numerous laws of punctuation and grammar, you see, and that’s why I’ve decided to write this blog. Well, not really, but that seems like something I would do.

The real reasoning behind this blog can be understood in a few simple steps:

  1. Cue fundamentally Christian-based, conservative-libertarian-minded family who get their kicks from yelling at each other about issues they all agree on in the political spectrum.
  2. Enter me.
  3. Fast forward 17 years to when I only apply to three colleges after achieving some relatively high marks on all the right assessments.
  4. Hillsdale doesn’t offer me much money, but UNLV does.

That’s about it. Still not following? Let me spell it out for you.

Me? Conservative, Christian, white, heterosexual teenage male.

University at large? Not really a big fan of any of those things.

Given that, unless I want to drop out or be expelled from university with minimal prospects, I can’t really share any of my true beliefs to many of my classmates or any of my teachers, I figured maybe a blog would be a good way to vent some frustrations. Or maybe not. I guess we’ll see.

So be prepared for rants, ramblings, political musings, righteous indignation, and more than a few obscure references to late 90s real-time strategy computer games and mid 80s progressive rock music. Because I’m kind of a strange guy.

This should be fun.