Tag Archives: College Student

Mission: Live Life Properly

I am three months away from the LSATs- scary, I know? So why is it that it is now that I get a proposal to do something else? Okay it wasn’t quite a direct proposal, but it sounded very much like one. Remember that one professor who I recently wrote a letter to? Well, that same professor told me yesterday that I was going to be extremely successful in this program, and that he will help me find funding for my dissertation. I’m not even planning to take the GRE!!!

For someone who’s family always complains about her going to college, having some reinforcement from a successful adult is a cool thing, but this didn’t happen to come at the right time. My wife tells me that I should think about it. She says that I’m stressed now about getting into law school, I will be stressed once in law school, and then I’ll be stressed after it! (aka my whole life). Truth is I’ve been pretty depressed lately (pretty much since UCLA became a disappointment- until now), and all this pressure I have over me is the reason why. But if I weren’t to go to law school… I don’t know what would happen.

The thing is that I’ve been so concerned about dodging family expectations and trying to find a compromise, that I don’t even know what I really wanted in the first place! So here is a new mission, trying to make sure that what I said I wanted is really what I truly wanted/want. Too bad the clock is ticking.

-MTO


Dear Professor

I find your class extremely interesting and I feel I’m learning a great deal. I love the readings, and though I dread coming to your lectures because I am currently overworked, I still enjoy participating and getting to learn from you.

Which is why I was so disappointed when I failed my midterm. You specifically said that we could not go over 4 sentences on our short answers, but then I didn’t get enough points because I didn’t say enough in 4 sentences. Though, arrogantly, you declared that EVERYONE in the class needs to start doing the readings and paying attention to class because we, overall, didn’t do well in the midterm, I would have hoped you could see the stark contrast of my grade in the multiple choice part of the exam. If I didn’t read or pay attention, I would not have been able to perform so well in multiple choice questions- unless you truly believe that I can get lucky 21 times in a row, guessing the right answer.

I’m not a professor, but it seems clear to me that your test was testing my ability to compress information into a restricted amount of space, rather than testing my knowledge of the material. I know that this is the summer and all, but I don’t see why I (and other students) should suffer because you don’t want to spend more time reading everyone’s actual answer, regardless of length. It saddens me, that even though you provide the right tools to learn, you fail at providing the right tools to test the knowledge learned. These two things go together- one cannot work well without the other. It is unfortunate that you are giving us the knowledge, yet you don’t let us proof such knowledge on paper.

Sincerely,

-MTO


Being a Smart Student isn’t Just About Grades

Now that finals are done with and I can breathe, I can also concentrate on the other side of being college student. When I got my first credit card, I went crazy. There wasn’t a lot of credit in it, but I feel like I’m still paying for stuff I bought a couple or so years ago. I have been meaning to pay more than the monthly stuff, but as a student, there’s never spare change laying around. I should have never used them to begin with, I know. Live and learn, right?

Ready to sell your soul?

So after having two credit cards for four years, I finally found out today what my APR was. Not smart. Not smart at all.

So I finally jotted down a plan to pay them off. My plan consists on paying about 50 dollars on each out of every paycheck I get. On top of their monthly payment. This way their balance will decrease sooner than later. I just hope this plan doesn’t turnout to be like this post a day challenge. . .

-Mrs. This One


That’s All I’m Saying

I’ve spent most of today doing laundry, washing dishes, resting and taking it easy. If you wonder why this is such a big deal for me to even start my writing with it, then you haven’t had the weeks I’ve had. Due to course load and work, we have both paid little attention to the apartment. Sure, you’d think we’d find the time to clean at least once a week, but in the past several weeks (months, really), if we’re not at school or work, all we want to do is rest.

At first I was able to cope fine. Then I spent 3/4 of Winter 2011 sick, so we realized it was stress-related. Physical pain, anxiety, headaches, stomachache; you name it- I probably went through it. So I decided to drop a class. Mind you, this wasn’t just any class- this was the class that was killing me (literally).

I did terrible in the midterm. Well, that’s really subjective. The professor chopped off a whole letter grade because I used a different word to the one she was looking for, and because according to her I didn’t mention something even though I did mention it. I had a presentation and this lady grilled me. Making sure to announce to the whole class that I was wrong. But when my classmate was wrong, she’d simply say, “well kinda but it was different.”

Did she hate me? I’m not sure. I’d rather think this wasn’t personal… I just feel like a different person knowing that I will not be dealing with that anymore. I can breath now. I can gather myself again. My wife said I’m smiling again.

For the time being I will try to pay more attention to my current classes and make sure I finish this quarter alright. Then on Monday, when I get to register for Spring, I need to be a little bit more selective as to what classes I take. Maybe use tools like Bruinwalk.com or RateMyProfessor.com. Oh by the way, when I looked up this professor’s rating on those websites (silly me, for not doing it before), EVERYONE said she was the worst professor they’ve ever had.

All I have to say is that professors should be out there to teach and help the student. That’s all I’m saying.


Dear College Counselor

It amazes me how obviously annoyed you look because I come to your office. Even though your job is to offer me some counseling, you always find the shortest answers to give and the ways to redirect me to someone else- so you don’t have to deal with me any longer.

Where to go now?

I wonder if you even care to know my name, or if you’d like to hear about what I want to do after I graduate- you know, in case you wanted to suggest things I could work on or look into. I mean, is ten minutes really that much to take from you? Even when no one else is waiting?

After three visits, where you always greet me like you’ve never seen me before, I am dreading having to come see you again. All I want is to know what’s available and what my options are- all you want is to clock out at five. What a shame. You have this crazy amazing opportunity to make a difference in several lives, yet you simply don’t care- you just want to get paid.

Maybe this is why you’re a counselor after all, and I truly don’t mean to sound harsh. You’re after all the one who always tells me I have no options and there’s nothing else you can do without offering an alternative. But how would you know what to offer if you don’t even know my name.

What a shame, I say.


Eight Hours of Sleep

If you’re a college student then you’re most likely sleep-deprived the majority of the time. This is a fact of life. At least in our current generation.

Competition has become such a crazy game that in order to even dream of landing a job after graduation, you have to do more than just getting good grades. Now you have to participate in extra-curricular activities, do internships, and still maintain an astronomically-high GPA. And this still doesn’t guarantee you anything; it only improves your chances over the kid who’s not doing all these things. The problem is that this busy schedule can only mean one thing: the time allocated for sleep decreases per activity added.

Shoot, I slept through class again...

I read an article today about the sleeping habits of college students. The article, provided by the UCLA’s student health center’s monthly publication, provided students with steps to healthier sleeping habits. For the sake of a better-rested student, everyone agrees that eight hours of sleep should be the norm. So one of the steps to approach better sleeping habits was to not overload your schedule. You know, don’t join three clubs if you only have time for one and that kinda stuff. Well, what if you have a job?

In my opinion, this article completely neglected student workers. Eight hours of sleep, at least during the week, is very unlikely when you’re taking a full load at school while working part-time. Even my doctor asked me to try to sleep eight hours- but how? Let me put this into perspective: on the days that I work (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), I must wake up around 5:30am. In order to get eight hours of sleep, that means I should go to bed at around 9pm so I can have enough time to fall asleep some time around 9:30pm. But by that time, I am only halfway through my school work (if I’m lucky). And on top of that, I have little time for extra-curricular activities. So what does that mean for us student workers?

Well, I’m not sure. Are we losing the competition? It depends on how you look at it. Are we constantly more edgy, tired and stressed because of lack of sleep? Certainly. Could we be able to pursue healthier sleep habits? I don’t think so. Then where’s the article for the ones who can’t choose to cut down on their off-campus activities?


Define Obvious: The Problem With Making Everything Business-Related

As a person who is in a stable same-sex relationship, I have never been curious to know what was life like in the 1960’s and 1970’s. As a student, I am a little curious.

As a student, I want to learn. I strongly believe that every little thing I learn will somehow help me in the future- even if it may not seem like it at first. When I go to class, I am eager to find people like me- people willing and wanting to engage in a discussion about the current mistrust of the US by its European allies or the California budget crisis. I would even settle for anything other topic as long as it’s not Justin Bieber or Lindsay Lohan related. However this is hardly the case.

Most of the people I have met so far seem to be more interested in their time off, college parties and anything that doesn’t include a textbook. And I’m not talking about what they’d want to do in their actual time off but what they’d rather be doing at all times. These people can hardly be called students. And that’s just the thing, they aren’t.

In a suffering economy where necessary things are way above reach of the minimum-wage earner, a Bachelor’s degree is no longer for those aspiring to immerse themselves in a world of academia, but rather for those who want a shot at a decent life (given the general consensus that a Bachelor’s degree equals a higher-paying job). But if most of the people in a classroom are only interested in passing with the minimum amount of work, how would this affect what education stands for? Not for learning but a business game where you try to maximize your output (a higher-paying job) while minimizing your input (read little if at all, work less, etc.)? But more importantly, how does this affect those who are actually trying to learn?

I give the last question a bigger emphasis because if at least some people are doing the work, it’s better than no people doing the work. For me the answer was obvious. I’ve had classes where the professors constantly tried to pacify the students by assuring them that the material isn’t too complicated and that they shouldn’t worry too much about it. This made me worry. I got confused. I didn’t understand why my classmates were so freaked out. It made me freak out. Being in this environment made me lose confidence of my own academic skills. I was becoming average.

I am not, by any means, trying to put blame on anyone for my academic performance. I am saying that a classroom mostly full of people worried about a test that is supposed to measure what the people in the classroom should already know, will have an effect on the little percentage of people who weren’t worried at first. This is not an ideal classroom environment. This environment should rather show a room mostly full of confident people. People who will soon be the ones taking over the majority of the US population. I gotta admit that I am not sure if I’d want any of the people in my class to be in charge of my civilian rights- at least not if their current major concern is who’s bringing the booze tonight.

Environment isn’t the only problem though. Here’s another scenario: I am currently considering Nuclear Terrorism as something I would like to do research on for my departmental honors thesis. I came up to my Foreign Policy professor the other day and asked him if he knew any other professor I could talk to about my research project (since he is a visiting professor and can’t commit to help me for a year). He gave me a name. I went back to where I was sitting and asked a classmate if she knew him. She said she didn’t. But another girl nearby who heard our conversation said she did. I asked her what she thought of him- hoping to gain some inside about what kind of material he presented, his lectures, and knowledge in the subject. Her answer? “You gotta do the work, if not, he’ll fail you.” My thoughts? It’s a class, of course you’ll fail if you don’t do the work. My actual answer? “Cool, thanks.”

I’d like to think that she’s the only one on campus who feels this way. Yet she isn’t. My fellow classmates are always looking for a way out. Always looking to minimize input- and they’re getting pretty damn good at it. Education shouldn’t be a business. We need educated people doing jobs that affect other people’s lives- not slackers barely passing with minimum knowledge.


My Official Pledge to be an Early Riser

As a (married) college student who slept an average of five hours or less during the last two years, this summer, the first one ever that I am not taking any classes, I have gotten into the awful habit of snoozing. Although I still have to be at my job by 9am every morning, it’s still a mystery to me how I’ve been able to sneak more sleeping time regardless of what time I’ve set up my alarm for.

For most of this summer I had been at peace with my morning habit, and some days, I even encouraged it. So much that it was barely yesterday when I found myself snoozing for 1 hour and a half! I’m still unaware of why and how I was able to hit the snooze button on my cellphone alarm every 5 minutes for a total of… (doing sloppy math with fingers) 18 times! This is when I realized that my initial morning habit of snoozing, had become a destructive one.

I woke up with a headache and my whole body felt heavy. There was no question that if it hadn’t been for my need to make money, I would have gotten back into bed for a bit longer- and probably hit the snooze button some more while at it. Once at work, my headache continued and I found myself craving caffeine and drooling over a Caramel Latte just so I could make it to the end of my 8-hour day.

Later in the day I went home and realized that just because it’s summer and I’m not in school until September, doesn’t mean that I can’t be the overachiever I’ve always been. After all, life is what we make it and if I want my life to be different, I am the only who has the power to change that. So I was resolved to never snooze again.

This morning when the alarm went off, I was almost pleased to hear the new alarm tone that I had picked the previous night. I rolled over and kissed my wife determined to wake her up this way. But she didn’t. “I’m too tired,” she said and rolled over. Before I could second think this new me, I left the bed and started to get ready to go to the gym. At this point my wife had gotten up and joined me.

I worked out, showered, started dinner in the crock pot (well, my wife did), gotten ready, made and ate breakfast and I was still about to go to work earlier than I ever do! This was a revelation. I never thought that not hitting the snooze button could lead to this much productivity. So far no headaches or coffee cravings have happened today. And what’s more, I finished in one day of work what had been taking me a whole week to finish.

So today, I welcome the hazing from getting less sleep and leaving my bed earlier than I would ever want to, because this is my official pledge to be an early riser!


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