Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Things I Have Learned About College So Far

It's Wednesday night. I have two tests on Friday that I have to study for, a good sized book to read for a four page report due Wednesday (barely even started reading the book), and a pretty big group project that I have to organize for my on-line class that may or may not be due tonight. Staring at all the crap I have to do in a very short amount of time, I have decided to sit here, drink some manly Smirnoff, and write here instead because I am very dedicated to this whole college thing.

I've been in college for two years now. This should be my last semester, but math happened, which put me behind. I realize now that if I had tried to do college right after high school, there is no way I would've made it this far. 10 years later, I have a better appreciation for the whole experience, and am willing to put up with the bullshit that college students have to go through.

Before I even started, I assumed that I would just hate every "young adult" that I would have classes with. People aged 18-23 generally just irritate the shit out of me. They think they know shit, when they wouldn't know, to quote the immortal Gorilla Monsoon, "A wrist lock from a wrist watch." Basically, they don't know a damn thing. However, what I have noticed is that, for the most part, these young kids are basically cool for the most part. Most of the ones I've had classes with are focused and actually contribute to discussions really well. I'm not ashamed to say that I may have made a couple of "young adult" friends in my tenure thus far. They might not say the same about me, but I really don't care. What surprised me is how some of the "adults" act. In one of my earlier classes, there was this big, burly, biker-looking dude who knew everything. Period. The journeys he has had gave him very intimate knowledge about the struggles in the third world countries we were discussing. Even though there were times that he was flat out wrong on all accounts, he refused to back down because he was old and wise and the teacher didn't know shit, obviously. There was an older lady in my computer class that all but demanded special attention from the teacher because she was an old lady and didn't understand how a keyboard worked.  On more than one occasion an an "adult" has attempted to lead class using their "knowledge" about whatever bullshit they could come up with. Seeing this has given me a more realistic view on things. Not all young people are jackasses, and age does not equal wisdom.

The thing I find the most useless in a real world application would be college level math. I can see its usefulness if a student is going into a math or science related field, but come on. Art majors shouldn't need college algebra. Anything above Intermediate Algebra should not be required. I spend about two months in College Algebra, and I can without a shadow of a doubt that that level of math has little to no real world application to anyone outside of the math/science fields. None. At all. If anyone can think of any reason why a nurse would need to know how to figure imaginary numbers, I would love to hear it.

As far as English classes go, they are far more useful at this level. In high school, I remember being bored to tears with English. All the diagramming of sentences, and all that other crap I don't remember could just go fly a kite. In college, it has a far more practical use, at least here at NCMC. Learning how to write various different types of papers is highly useful. Hell, learning how to write properly period seems to be becoming less and less important. Just check your Facebook friend activity or whatever it's called. I can guarantee you that most of the people that post on there can't write for shit. I think that if high school classes focused more on writing papers and less on the different parts of the sentence, our English scored would improve. If nothing else, learning how to research information might improve interest in learning.

On to less education-related stuff, since I think I'm drinking a little too fast and don't really feel like thinking. I have learned how pick and choose what I study for. Take this semester for instance. I have two history classes. One of them is American History Up to 1877, and Western Civilization Since 1700. Now there are times where the information from the two classes sync up, which is awesome. Most of the time they do not, which is not awesome. The notes for Am. History (already prepared by the teacher) tend to be anywhere from 10-50 pages. Western Civ. is about 10-20, depending on what I write down since we are in charge of our own note taking. Guess which class I study for. Here is a hint: American History grade is around 80%. Western Civilization grade is around 89-90%. If there are too many notes, I'm not going to read them. I find history a little more interesting than I did 10 years ago, but not enough to read 50 pages of boring shit. Oh, and those are just the pages of notes. It is also recommended that we read the chapters in the book. American History chapters are, at the very least, 30 pages a piece, and each test covers three chapters usually. There's no way I'm reading all that shit. I honestly don't know why I bother getting text books. The only books I have opened have been my math books, my Health Education book, my Ethics book when the teacher told us to, and my World Literature book. My English books, Sociology, biology, physical science, all those others books just took my money to never really be opened.

There has been a little discussion going around lately about whether college is actually worth the money. My answer is maybe. Fortunately for myself, my actual classes are basically paid for because I am on the Pell Grant (being poor has its advantages). I do have a student loan that I get every year, which is around $3500. By the time I'm finished, assuming tuition and all those other costs don't go up too much, I should owe somewhere in the area of $12-15 thousand, which doesn't compare to what some people owe. If you can get a good job right out the gate after college, you should be fine. Some people are not that lucky. A buddy of mine, who was pretty damn good at digital animation (I think that's what it was called), has spent the past few years trying to find any sort of job relating to what he went to school for with no luck. It really depends on what you go to school for, and how aggressive you are after graduating in your job hunt. Some smart people get themselves into internships to better increase their chances. I'd like to become a journalist, but I know that English careers aren't doing real well right now. That is why I plan on getting my certification for Computer Network Administration Technician after my get my Associates. English careers might not be that needed, but we will always need computer dorks, and I plan on being one of them.

I've ran out of steam and stuff to talk about. Listen up kiddies: College is not that bad, as long as you are smarter than people like me and actually set aside some time to get your homework, projects, or whatever else you might have to do so you aren't rushing everything at the last minute. Understand that if you don't have someone footing the bill, you will have debt that might take a long time to pay off. The economy is dog shit currently, so any job is hard to come by, which is why you should try to get shit going ahead of time. Finally, most college kids aren't too bad, and some of us adults are damn idiots. Thank you and good night.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Buck Discusses Religion

When I was a wee little lad, I basically believed in God. Well, as much as a child can believe in something like that. As I grew older, I felt less and less like waking up early to go to church, and on Wednesdays I preferred to sit around, watch TV, play video games, or go hang out with friends. It took a few more years for me to come to terms with my lack of belief. A major factor in that decision was when I went to a summer church camp with a couple of the kids from the neighborhood we lived in at the time. After having what little money I had stolen, basically being avoided by everyone for whatever reason, and just having a horrible time all around (I don't remember any concrete details, as I was maybe 13 at the time), I decided that if that is how religious people wanted to act, then I didn't want to have anything to do with them. Moving through my teenage years, I basically became an atheist, which led to a couple of awkward conversations with some of my friends who were deeply religious and concerned about my soul or whatever. I appreciated it, but really didn't have any time for any of that. For the majority of my teenage years, I was a pretty serious atheist, because I was a teenager, and thus I knew everything. As the years have gone by, I have a much more relaxed view on the whole religion thing. If anything, I am an agnostic, unless someone is aggressively trying to "convert" me, then I just lean back on my atheism, mostly to get them to leave me the hell alone. I realize that there is no real way to prove whether or not God actually exists until we die, and at that point, who are we going to tell?

As a whole, I have no real issue with any religion. The idea of religion has done no real damage to anyone ever. I have always viewed the Bible as a book that serves as a guideline to being a good person. Granted, some of the stuff in the Old Testament is pretty extreme, but those stories were told to help straighten people out. The "fear of God" is a pretty powerful thing, and can be a very good motivator. It's when people start taking the stories from the Bible and try to use them to affect what other people do that I cannot stand. The best example I can think of is homosexuality. I will admit that I'd rather not see two big, burly dudes go at each others' business, but I also understand that what they do is their business, and is none of mine. If they want to stick things in each others butts, as long as they don't ask for my help, then I'm cool with it. Once the more opinionated of the religious got wind of the idea of homosexuality, it all went to shit. Then government officials threw their hats into the fray. Holy shit. Thankfully, homosexuals are finally starting to get the rights they should've always had. The treatment of homosexuals are only a couple of baby steps above what we used to do to African Americans, and that's mostly because most of us don't go around, trying to kill them. It's fucking ridiculous. If two grown adults want to be a couple, get married, and grow to hate each other like every other couple, who cares if they both have matching parts? I hope that we have a gay president before I die. The only real issue I have with anything relating to homosexuality is the cross dressing, and that's really only because most guys make some horrible looking women. I'm all about doing what you want, but come on. Do something extra to make yourself look sexy if you're going to dress as the opposite sex. Anyway...

On a related note, I hope Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church fucking die. Seriously, he and his crew should be executed and I will dance the happiest dance of joy the day that man dies. Hopefully in a fire. With the rest of his family. Moving on.

One thing I have noticed about being an agnostic/atheist is that other religions don't exactly appreciate it. I vividly remember a time when I was banned from my friends grandparents and, if I remember correctly, parents house. What had happened was a couple of us were over at his grandparents house, staying up late and hanging out in the living room, probably playing video games or watching anime. Apparently, I said something regarding religion. I say apparently because I don't have any recollection of it, since the two friends I was with were deeply religious, and I'd like to think that I'd at least keep my mouth shut about that topic around them. I guess I didn't, and his grandparents heard it somehow. A few days or so later I learn that I'm not allowed back there because of whatever I said. I understand why they'd be upset, but to be banned is a little much. I think a similar episode happened with his parents, but I'm not exactly sure. Another example happened in my first semester of college. I had to give a speech for my Speech class, and I decided it was a good idea to talk to a class full of religious people about how being an atheist doesn't make you evil. We had to post our speech topic on a discussion board where we would all comment on each others topics. A couple said they were interested in hearing what I had to say, and that they agreed with me. However, most of them said that if they were talking to an atheist they would choose to dismiss them based solely on the fact that they did not believe in God. That reaction didn't surprise me one bit. Most religious people seem to be all for religious freedom as long as you agree with what they believe in.

I'm losing my steam and getting off track, but the basic gist of what I'm talking about is this: For a group that worship Jesus, who has been said to be a peaceful man who loved everyone regardless of their flaws, Christians and Catholics and all the others seem to have a lot of hate for a lot of different people, mostly because they don't agree. If anyone out there reads this, and is deeply religious, and hates anyone for any reason simply because they have some different view of what is acceptable (sexuality, religion, whatever), maybe you should read a little more about what your savior preached.

Ok, I officially have ran out of things to say about this. GROUP HUG!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

True Story

My World Literature teacher asked us to share a story that relates to what Odysseus went through in the epic poem "The Odyssey." Since it has to be true, I could only think of one story. This is all 100% fact.

            While watching the Odyssey, I remembered a time in my life that is strikingly familiar to the film. My girlfriend and I went on a trip to the city, where we stopped at Fudruckers for a bite to eat. It was there that I tackled the challenge of eating a TWO POUND cheeseburger. As a lover of all things cheeseburger, I knew that I had to eat the entire thing, otherwise I am not a real man. After an epic battle of wills between me and my meaty nemesis, I emerged victorious. It was the proudest moment of my life. As I was standing on the table, bellowing out my battle cry, a roaming band of Vikings kicked the doors in. Too preoccupied with my unearthly roar, I did not notice them charging me from behind. I started spinning around just in time to see a massive war hammer thundering towards my skull. All went black. When I awoke, I noticed that my girlfriend was gone. I asked one of the servant girls where she went, and she told me that the Vikings took her. As I stood, eyes fixed upon the horizon, the young wench asked me what I wanted to do with my cheeseburger eating trophy. I told her that if I do not return before her son grows a beard, they were to give it to someone else. She said something about not having a child, but I was not listening. I tightened up the laces on my combat boots, and set off. For vengeance.
            As a Viking myself, I have known where all the local Vikings hang out my entire life, so I headed towards the nearest unpillaged village. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be found. As I strolled through, a figure emerged. Upon closer inspection, he was a giant of a man who had suffered a lasting injury to his eye at some point, as he was wearing an eye patch. Brandishing a large club-like object, he obstructed my path. I asked if he had seen any Vikings lately, which he found hilarious apparently, because he started laughing, which only served to infuriate me further. As he was laughing, I charged him. I leaped towards his head, and buried my hand into his eye, and pulled it out. He clutched his open eyeball wound, screaming “Nobody does this to Polyphemus!” Turning my back to him, walking off in the distance, I said, “My guidance counselor always said I would grow up to be a…” I paused to put my sun glasses on. “…Nobody.” Then I snapped my fingers, and he exploded as someone screamed “Yeeeaaahhh!” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who started playing. I marched on.
              After several years of traveling and killing bad guys, I finally located the Vikings that stole my girlfriend. Most of them, having heard the tales of my bloody crusade across the lands, fled, because they knew better. However, one man stayed behind. As I approached him, he informed me that he would release my girlfriend back to me, but on one condition: I had to defeat the incredible beast Scylla. I informed him that I butter my toast with Scylla every morning, and demanded he take me to the creature. As he led up to the cliff side overlooking the horrible creature, I shoved the Viking over the cliff, into the waiting maw of the abomination because I am a man, not a moron. To my surprise, when it ate the Viking, it began to shake. Seconds later, it exploded. “Hmm,” I said. “I guess it was a vegetarian.” I found my girlfriend, we hopped on my portable bag of air, and we flew home.
True story.