Monday, September 26, 2011

The Secret to Getting Through College (ssshhhh!!!!)

Nightmares are once again interfering with my sleep, but I won't bore my 2.1 readers per day with the substance of my nightmares. Instead I will bore you with the substance of my university courses. My parents try to say that if I describe something as boring, it's a simplified way of saying I'm too lazy to try to understand it. I do not agree with them, and I shall cite a few reasons why.

Organic chemistry is my first course of the day tomorrow. Chapter three was the assigned reading. Chapters one and two were assigned in previous days. Chapter three deals with chemoselectivity, which pertains primarily to reactivity to one element or group in the presence of another element or group. Variations within the substances or groups on either side can and probably will alter the reaction. I think I could've handled this concept in pre-school. Overachiever that I am, I did not stop at the conclusion of chapter three. I've covered conjugated groups (which sound a whole lot more exciting than they really are), stereochemistry, stereoselectivity, regioselectivity (the preference of one direction of chemical bond-making or -breaking over all other possible directions) and spectrospocy. It moves on to chemical species (included but not limited to acetals, alcohols, alkanes, cycloalkanes, and alkenes; I could go on all night, but I'll spare you.) Trust me. There's much more in the text. Suffice it to say that the problem is not that I'm too lazy to learn about it.

I'm studying microbiology also this quarter. Microbiology constitutes the study of microorganisms, including eukaryotes (including fungi and protists) and prokaryotes) (including ammoebae, and some plants and animals. Virology and immunology, though not strictly within the domain of microbiology, are be covered. Microbiology has a slight advantage over organic chemistry, primarily because the professor looks like a very young [circa E. R.] George Clooney. I read the textbook materials by night and stare at the professor by day. I've already aced one test, so I think my technique is working.

Technical and Expository Writing is a relatively straightforward course. I wish I did not have to listen to the lectures, because they're delivered in an arid manner, and, thus far anyway, I've yet to hear anything that wasn't in the assigned readings. Hell, I could teach the course if all it involved was lecturing from the textbooks. In any event, the material in the textbooks is useful. There are times and places for technical and expository writing, and it is benficial to people in many professions to master both writing in each style and picking apart anything that is written in either style.

I'm studying Music Theory III. The university is not fond of admitting freshmen to this course. I had to take multiple tests and pass three interviews just to get into the door of the class. Once through the door, I only wished it would be half as easy to get out as it was to get in. The degree of difficulty of the course material is not perplexing. The ration of total bullshit in proportion to the musical substance is most perplexing. on Friday we sat listening to the professor explain how -- on a piano, no less -- a discerning ear can tell the difference between C-sharp and D-flat. They're played with the identical key. The gooblers sitting around me nodded their heads as though it was reasonable. On many instruments, pitch can be varied while a note is being played. On these instruments, in theory, C-sharp can sound higher than D-flat. Usually it doesn't, though, because music has become standardized to math pre-tuned instruments, such as pianos. It's mind boggling. I don't know whether the professor honestly believed the bullshit he was spouting or was seeing just whom he could get to agree with anything he said. He did notice that I was the only one who wouldn't agree with him, and also that I was the only one who could identify any note he played on the piano just from the sound. Sometimes professors respect absolute pitch, and other times they resent it. We'll see into which camp this professor falls.

My political geography class isn't highly interesting or unusual. It's another one of those classes where the job of a student is to discover ecactly what it is the professor wants to hear and to tell him precisely that in every composition and on every test. This is the primary skill needed to get through university. Why more people don't figure this out and just doit is a mystery to me. you have an entire lifetime to be true to your own beliefs. It can wait a few lousy years while you devote your time to being true to your professors' beliefs. Either butt your head against a wall for seven semesters before finally making peace with this concept, or go with the flow. If necessary, cross your fingers as you're typing each paper and writing each exam.


  1. You are a hoot! Also I am deeply impressed you can name that note. Nice!
    Reader .1

  2. I'm sorry to hear about your music prof, he sounds like a douchbag :( But maybe I say that because I played French Horn for years and well...

    Anyways, it seems like you'll do well in college, get your piece of paper and move on!!

  3. Very much enjoyed your descriptions. Perhaps I'll vicariously go to college through you. :) Shall I call myself Reader .5?

  4. Reader.1 works. Reader.5 works. If my readership were to expand a bit, even Reader 666 would work. I'm open-minded.

  5. Oh, dear. This happened to me when I went to college in the UK back in the early 1980s!

    It seems to be an International problem!

    Good luck with your studies!