Friday, January 29, 2010

I just love snow days. It's been snowing like crazy since about 6:30 this morning, so I got to spend the day at home, drinking coffee all morning and conjugating verbs all afternoon. Every Friday should be a snow day!

Spanish is taking over my life. This is a good thing. It should have been like this from the beginning, but prior to this semester Spanish was always an easy "A" and other classes that were more difficult took precedence. But, Spanish will have its day and that day is now. I met with my teacher yesterday morning in his office to go over a few things before the test next week. I'm not sure I have any better understanding of what to do with direct or indirect object pronouns, but I really appreciate the time he took to help me. And now I have learned why learning Spanish has of late felt much like learning Algebra: the same side of the brain that does math is the side that learns a new language. This explains my occasional difficulties with certain aspects of the language. Rules, rules, and more rules, and they all must be memorized. Just like algebra.

I survived my presentation in American Religious History last week, and the professor very generously gave me an "A" for my effort. For some reason, the question and answer part didn't bother me, but the actual presentation was terrifying. I really need to get over this phobia. Fortunately, he has decided that our class is too large to fit in the other presentation, so we only have to do a one page written synopsis of our other article with no public speaking involved.

Then there is the paper about William Penn and the two book reviews. I thought only grad students did book reviews, but apparently someone forgot to inform my professor about this, therefore I will very shortly be finding out how a book review is done.

East Asian Civ. is sometimes interesting, sometimes boring. I don't know where to begin in choosing my paper topic because Asian history is so massive (and so far we've only talked about China) and I don't have a clear picture of any of it just yet.

And as for the Spanish composition, escoja un incidente real que Usted recuerde vivamente. Well, what would be an incident in my past that I remember vividly that would be worth writing about - in Spanish? I guess I could write about my Spanish class last semester that made me so miserable that for a while I felt as if I never wanted to hear the language again.

No? Well, I don't know what to write about yet. But I do know that I have to give this class proper attention or I won't do well and I won't learn. No more easy "A". If I'm going to learn this language I'm going to have to spend time with it, get to know it, understand it, have a relationship with it, and so on.

Last semester I had four classes and worked thirty-six hours each week. I chased myself around in circles to get everything done, but I did it and got good grades. But did I learn as much as I should have? I don't think so, not even close. What might I have learned if I had had the time to focus on anything instead of racing through each assignment so I could get started on the next one?

I'm tired. I've forgotten why I wanted to get an education and I no longer enjoy learning. I've forgotten how to enjoy anything because I just don't have the time. Is this the normal college experience and I just need to learn to deal with it, or am I experience burn-out?

I've received some good comments and advice from other on-line nontrads that has been very helpful and thought provoking. Whatever my decision will ultimately be,it has to be made next week. I'm not always good with decisions. Which is why I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

From my textbook "Sources of Chinese Tradition" which is a compilation of primary sources, there is a section called the "Analects" written by Confucius or compiled by students who followed him. I found the following tidbit amusing.

17:25 "Women and servants are most difficult to nurture. If one is close to them, they lose their reserve, while if one is distant, they feel resentful."

Imagine that!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My co-workers keep asking me if I enjoy suffering. I can only surmise that I do. The first day of class scared me half to death. My work load for three classes seems larger than last semesters four classes. Nothing is on-line this time; all the tests will be in class essay tests. I quickly discovered that there are several times that I will have multiple tests on the same day. Don't know how I'm going to manage that. By the end of the first day I was ready to drop a class, but so far I haven't been able to bring myself to do it.

I need to wear a shirt that says "I am not going to be a teacher." Maybe then people will stop asking, and maybe professors will stop saying ", if you are going into education...". I am not going into education, therefore I DO NOT NEED TO PRACTICE PUBLIC SPEAKING. OK?

Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system. Somehow my name landed first on the list in American Religious History to give a presentation about an article of my choice. I am trying to be calm. I really am. He says we just have to teach the class what we learn from our article. The problem with that is, among other things, is that whatever I may know now I no longer know when asked to perform in front of a crowd. It all just goes away and doesn't come back until I leave class. It's true. Just ask my Spanish teacher from last semester.

Speaking of Spanish (I have to speak of it, because I can't actually speak it), this semester I have two teachers that I can't understand very well. Of course, my Spanish teacher is one, although I understand him more often than not since he is American and does not have a Spanish accent. The other is my East Asian Civ. teacher. He is a visiting professor from China that I understand most of the time, but he frequently leaves me quite confused.

I really must enjoy suffering. Someone please remind me why I am doing this.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ready or Not...

My school books are bought and my pencils are sharpened (figuratively), but does that mean I am ready for school? Nope. I have my backpack at hand and a new little laptop for taking notes in class (hand-cramps were too much for me last semester), so by all appearances I should be ready. But I'm not.

My classes begin next Tuesday, but I still don't have my spring garden plans drawn up, the house isn't quite spotless, and I have only read one book since the end of the semester (granted the book was 800 pages long, and therefore should count as at least three books), so I don't feel the least bit ready for another round of classes just yet. Three weeks isn't quite long enough between semesters; four would be better.

Mostly I've been doing as little as possible. I've watched a couple of movies (Public Enemies, X-Men Origins, with Johnny Depp and Hugh Jackman, respectively :). Now I'm reading The Princes of Ireland and feeding my new addiction to Facebook. It's too cold to want to go anywhere so here I sit, alternately reading and playing Farmville.

School will start whether I am ready or not, so very soon I am going to have to rearrange my mindset to focus on work instead of play. Studying instead of virtual farming, writing instead of reading for fun . I think I'm going to need a long nap before next Tuesday.