kitsjay: (Second Star to the Right)
Cornell is being called "the suicide school" because of six suicides in six months; UT recently was ranked among the top most stressful colleges in the USA. One of our school officials said this:

"She said despite competitiveness at the University, she doesn’t think the stress levels are abnormally high.

With a higher-performing group of students present at UT, students place more stress on themselves to perform well academically".

Today there were puppies outside of the FAC, because petting animals has been shown to lower stress levels. My guess? The ranking combined with the deaths at Cornell and the subsequent bad PR it's getting made UT officials start implementing measures to counteract this. Interestingly, and somewhat horrifyingly, I couldn't find any statistics on the suicide rate of UT.

What does this all add up to?

(A) Suicide has been shown to be highest among older people and people 20-24. It's also the second leading cause of death for college students.

(B) Instead of addressing the problem that maybe, just maybe, there's something wrong with the system that actively encourages stress by making GRE's, tests, and grades the ultimate goal, we're going to place the blame on the students themselves and...

(C) Put up measures that lower stress already there, instead of evaluating why there's so much stress in the first place.

While the measures Cornell and UT are taking are admirable, I feel like they're addressing the symptoms of a problem instead of attacking the problem itself.

I know everyone has been having more than a rough time this semester; it's been the semester from hell. I know it, trust me. I feel like everyone told me, "Oh, take as much time as you need!", "There's no deadline for getting over things like this!", but the pressure put on me by teachers to do well and take tests and show up for class when I wasn't ready was monumental. I had to force myself to start going again because one of my teachers, who seemed really understanding, apparently was only ready to be understanding for a few weeks, then it turned into, "Well, why aren't you over this already?"

So I know. It's monumentally hard for everyone right now and it feels like the pressure's mounting instead of going away. Call your mom (seriously, a study showed it lowers stress levels as much as a hug from her), pet some puppies, drink herbal tea, do something that relaxes you, but if it's still bad, please see someone or talk to someone. I know what it's like to be there, and though mine was more of an internal thing than external stress amplifying this problem, it's awful, and I'm worried about everyone. Some of you have work issues, some have family problems, some have both.

So really: be cool, be safe, be alive.

Finals week

May. 7th, 2010 12:24 am
kitsjay: (Secrets)
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!




*ahem*

That is all.
kitsjay: (Default)


I love Austin.
kitsjay: (Default)
Three more weeks until Spring Break... three more weeks until Spring Break... three more weeks until Spring Break...
kitsjay: (Hot Cocoa)
So Audrey, Court, and I were talking about graduation when I jokingly said, "Yeah, I'm nearly done with both my degrees so I have this horrific vision of me getting bored and adding another one."

"And here I am ... with my one degree," Audrey laughed.

I really was joking, but later I thought, "I wonder how many more classes another degree would take?"

One.

One extra class to get a third degree in Latin.
kitsjay: (Surfer)
I am officially all moved in and such. Several things worked out in my favor, like the last resident forgetting to shut off the electricity. I've been conserving it, but considering the minor fiasco that occurred while trying to purchase it, I think a week's worth of free electricity (free to me, at least) is mildly deserved. A girl's gotta eat, y'know.

Speaking of, no microwave, so I woke up at 7:45 this morning and made oatmeal over the stove, enjoying it with a cold cup of juice on my little table. Aside from the pile of boxes left from unpacking everything, my apartment is quite nice. I'm very happy with it, though the wall is cracked and the pseudo-landlord is having it fixed Saturday.

Today Courtney and I went to campus so that I could get a new ID (my old one's in San Antonio) and talk to financial aid, with the added bonus of figuring out the bus system. I had never ridden on a bus in my life, save for once with Alicia and Courtney when we went to somewhere or another. I am so afraid of getting it wrong that it is honestly bothering me more than upcoming classes. Dead language I haven't taken in five years and three upper-divsion English classes scare me less than where my bus stop is. Gah. I'm a country girl through and through, y'all. Anyway, for now if I can just figure out how to get to campus tomorrow, I will be happy. Gradually, I'll add more things onto my repetoire like how to get to HEB and Court's apartment later. Maybe one day I'll be an old pro at this. Probably when I graduate.

So yes, new ID is pretty aside from the fact my hair will never, ever look domesticated, but my face doesn't look like a chipmunk anymore, so happy about that. Also, the financial aid lady said that apparently I had a grant given to me for spring semester that never came through until after the semester ended, so they basically deposited an extra $2,200 into my account, hoping I wouldn't notice or something. This is good, but also a bit vexing since I would have liked for them to have told me this, but free money is free money.

Aaaand my computer is still not working (I am on Dad's now, using Court's internet), but my mom got a call from the computer place and he said to call her back. She thinks maybe they forgot to do something or it may not be my computer at all... hopefully I'll have Crush back! I miss him so.

Was going to post my schedule, but photobucket has no love for broke chicks.

I hope everyone else has a great school start!
kitsjay: (Expectations)
Registration descended upon me like the vulture it is, and we all know what that means. Yes, I would like to take this time to applaud Palo Alto on their technique. Once again, they foiled my best laid plans, suddenly dropping me from all my classes with no explanation when I least expected it. They could give management classes to Hell. I bowed my head to the inevitable and, rather than fight with the morons who work at Palo Alto, switched out of Bio II at UT instead.

Despite the warning by a beleaguered advisor not to take all my upper-division English classes at once, my current schedule includes nine hours of them. The first is the promising Language and Gender; if I make it off the waitlist, the second is American Realism, which includes Jack London, the fourth of my male literary crushes (Twain, Tolstoy, and Kerouac being the others); and the third, Walt Whitman and His World. Catchy, isn't it? The teacher's name is Winship. They like to keep with a theme in the English department, I suppose.

I'm also taking Accelerated Latin I and Cultural Anthropology for a grand total of 17 hours.

It's actually a very good schedule, considering I only just now blocked it out. My days generally start at 9:00 and end at 2:00 at the latest. On MW, I have a one-hour break and on TTH, a half-hour break. Fridays I don't have a break, but I also end at 12:00.

So next semester should be entertaining. Four classes of intensive reading, an anthropology class I'm only somewhat apprehensive about, and not an equation to be seen.

Bliss, my friends, sheer bliss.

But for now, my summer is exempt from public haunt--and I plan to enjoy it.
kitsjay: (Expectations)
I woke up this morning and stared at my ceiling for a few minutes before heaving a gigantic sigh and maneuvering myself up and my computer on in a complicated motion perfected by a semester of practice. My bandwidth has, alas, once again dipped into the negatives, which I tried convincing myself was a good thing as this would encourage me to start my major essay that I resolved to start this weekend and hopefully finish by Monday. I have never had so much difficulty writing an essay. Normally as soon as I finally sit down with my research resources and a keyboard at my fingertips, the words begin to flow and I occasionally insert a source here or there to make it official. Not so with this one. This one resists all attempts to be written. Even breaking it into an outline, which I absolutely hate doing, has not helped any. I keep starting before realizing I’m either writing myself in circles or starting an entirely new thesis. It is beyond vexing. I promised myself I could watch more episodes of due South if I actually worked, though, and there is nothing like proper incentive.

Earlier this week, I had toyed with the idea of going home for the weekend, but Dad and Mom informed me that they would be in College Station for Parent’s Day with Chris. Joking with them, I mentioned that they had not been to visit me once and Austin was two hours closer than College Station. Now, my recent obsession with Northern Exposure and due South recalled a yearning for the outdoors in me and I quickly went through a list of people it would be acceptable to go camping with before finally, and somewhat inexplicably, landing on Dad. So I called today and Dad answered the phone. He must have felt guilty about my joking, because when I awkwardly blurted, “Would you like to go camping with me this summer?”, he readily agreed.

“I’d like that,” he said. “Think about where you want to go and we’ll set aside a weekend to go.”

It seems strange that not four months ago, Dad and I could scarcely stand to be in the same room without a fight breaking out and now we are planning on going camping together. I find myself simultaneously dreading and looking forward to it. I am leaning towards the latter. I never found myself overcome with any bouts of homesickness or loneliness while here, no doubt partly because of the comforting presence of [livejournal.com profile] panpipe, but with only three weeks to go, I find myself wanting to be home. The first thing I plan to do when I get home is to make chicken fajitas with corn tortillas, mango pico de gallo, and grilled bell peppers, complete it with a couple of beers, and sit in the hot tub with a good book at my side.

But, before all that, I suppose I have to finish up here. This essay, then two more tests, and I am D-U-N done--and not a moment too soon.

20 days to go.
kitsjay: (Woo)
At 5:00 in the morning, I finally decided it would be prudent to actually, y'know, read the things we were supposed to for my test in four hours.

At 5:09, I realized that included two entire books, two forty-page research articles, and two twenty-page articles (two written by my teacher).

At 5:11, there may have been frantic flipping of pages and trying to randomly memorize, but I don't remember.

At 6:37, my zen nature kicked in and I relaxed while deciding not to actually focus on what I was reading, but simply absorb it, much like I didn't while sitting in class.

And so it was, at 8:50 this morning, that I finished both books and three of the articles, took my test, and walked out sincerely appreciating my procrastinating nature. Otherwise I may have done something silly, like worked really hard for a test nearly laughably simple. And teachers usually get upset when you look at your test and burst into laughter and/or tears.

Or so I've heard.

In sum: I rocked the sociology casbah. Thank you, essay tests!

In related news, we are supposed to be writing a term essay in this class. We turned in outlines maybe two weeks ago or so (my outline being a random works cited of articles that had "Japanese" and "elderly" in the keywords, along with a thesis so weak it makes Mickey Mouse look like a bodybuilder--bewilderingly, it was returned with full credit), and now I want to change the entire premise. I really am not exaggerating when I say I have no idea what I wrote, why I wrote it, or even why he thought it was acceptable, other than that he must have been feeling either compassionate or too tired to actually grade--probably the former, because he noted the word "lugubrious" then questioned word choice. Don't mess with me, buddy. I'm an English major.

In any case, we had the option of analyzing and comparing a religious aspect of the U.S. to another culture we covered or writing a fictional request for a research grant. He cautioned the second would be harder which is usually teacher-speak for, "I'll grade easier". Despite this, I went with the former.

Then I got this idea in my head about analyzing the physiological benefits of doing yoga for religious purposes, as in the case of religious yogis, or Western-style, where it is viewed primarily as a form of exercise and meditation without the original spiritual overtones. I mean, it's one of the few cases I could think of where ritual and religion are so clearly delineated. The only problem with this is that it's due in about three weeks and of course, we were supposed to be working on this for months now. I think going up and asking him, "Would it be okay to do this?" would evoke an, uh, interesting response.

I am strongly considering explaining to him that I work better under pressure.

(Except when I don't, in which case I curl up into the fetal position, crying piteously and questioning the value of 42. But that's a different story.)

Finally, I leave you with this, which I found on my school's homepage. April 7: Watergate co-conspirator to discuss integrity. I wish I could say it was a joke. I really, really do.
kitsjay: (Expectations)
So apparently my subconscious knew something I did not. Last night I found it incredibly hard to motivate myself to actually study. I'm a little ADD on a good day, but this was absolutely ridiculous.

"Kitty, you have a test tomorrow," I kept saying to myself. "Stop clicking on that Psych episode. Don't--well, okay. But after this, you're going to work."

And then I spent the next twelve hours or so wikihopping and getting distracted by shiny things on my computer.

I was feeling restless, so I went for a walk at 4:00 a.m., then decided at 5:00, I had best actually study. So I spent the next three hours staring at my notes and pretending I knew what they were talking about.

The class is basically set up to where you read one article for Monday, another article for Wednesday, then another one for Friday every week. Without slacking off too much, I could either choose to read the articles and not pay attention in class or pay attention in class and not read the articles without losing ground.

Yeah. That didn't happen. Instead I stopped reading the articles and wrote letters to people every day in class.

Even with all this, the test was ridiculously easy. I don't think I got a perfect score, but I'm thinking easy A.

Also, in BritLit, we were supposed to have read the first few chapters of Gulliver's Travels, but I skipped a class period and wasn't sure how far we were supposed to read. I've read it before, a long time ago, so I thought, "Surely I'll be able to catch up!"

During class, I hurriedly read enough to insert a few comments here and there so it looked like I knew what I was talking about.

I have three classes. And I still manage to get bored and slack off in two of them. Good times.
kitsjay: (Pfui)
I am proof positive that bad things don't just happen to good people.

I have studied every day for hours, studied straight through from 11:00 a.m. this morning until my test, and went to every review session there was.

And I got there, did all I could, then realized I was going to fail.

At a certain point, it isn't, "Maybe if I do random operations I'll muddle through", it becomes, "What letter haven't I used in a while?"

I hit that point far, far, far too early.

Even with a curve, I think I failed. High failing, but still.

Not much I can do about it, though. Right now my brain feels like a gerbil on crack running around on a wheel to get to the speed water bottle while snacking on an LSD power bar.

Good thing I have that sociology test Friday! Otherwise I may have done something stupid, like try and relax. Silly me.
kitsjay: (Expectations)
Today in calculus discussion, there was a knock at the door.

My TA opened it to find a guy from Jason's Deli standing there with a bag of food.

"I've got an order for here?" he said.

"Um, you must have the wrong room," the TA said.

The guy checked his slip. "No," he said. "Right here, see?"

My TA steps back, looks around and says, "Did anyone order sandwiches?"

We laugh and the Jason's Deli guy was sent away. A few minutes later, we get another knock. It's the Jason's Deli guy again, saying that apparently the guy who has the class after us ordered sandwiches, and can he leave the food in the room.

"That's fine," my TA said.

The Jason's Deli guy put the bags by the chalkboard, then jokingly said, "I know how many are in there!"

"Yes," my TA said with a little grin, "but you are leaving, right?"

It was very cute. Some girls behind me started gossiping about how adorable they thought the TA was, and one of them said that he is apparently Hungarian or something.

Wish me luck--calculus test on Tuesday. I've been studying two-three hours every night for this sucker.
kitsjay: (Pfui)
So I have the flu! Fun times!

I woke up Sunday freezing. I had my comforter and a flannel blanket over me, curled up into a ball so small my calves were cramping, and I was trying to will myself to get up to put on a sweater. Court and Alicia were sweating in shorts.

"I think you may have a fever," Court said.

"Agreed."

They drugged me up on Nyquil and I kind of drifted for the entire day, waking up now and then to see Court typing then drifting off again. Courtney says I whimpered in my sleep. Lovely!

Anyway, we took my temperature that night and it was 101.4, then today when I woke up it was 101.1. I considered going to class anyway, then decided against it when I could barely muster the strength to drink water from the bottle next to my bed. I ended up going to the doctor and they gave me pretty pretty drugs so I'm kind of stoned right now. Audrey's boyfriend Wes and his friend Brandon came over to help me with calculus homework (Really? Try doing this stuff drugged out of your mind. Fun times!) and then we had a fire alarm.

Oh, and Audrey said, "You didn't go to class today, did you?"

"No," I answered.

"GOOD. THAT'S HOW PLAGUES ARE STARTED."

In other news, I found out I'm not 5'6". I haven't grown any in the past, oh, three years, I just found out I've always been mistaken. I'm awesome. For some reason, I've just always been convinced that I am 5'6", but the other day Audrey mentioned being 5'8", and I thought, "Huh! That's funny! I'm as tall as she is! I must be mistaken!"

So we were standing next to each other, both of us barefoot, and Alicia was like, "Y'all are the same height..."

"I got measured at the doctor, and I'm 5'7 1/2," Audrey said.

So yeah. It's just kind of like finding out that your hair is blonde when you've always been convinced it's brown or something.

ETA: How horrifying is this! Court got me a washcloth wetted down with water from the sink for me to put on my forehead. When I went to the doctor, it apparently fell off onto my bed. There is now a ring of white residue where it got wet. College tap water horrifies me so. I drink this, guys!
kitsjay: (Default)
My British Literature class was interesting. We're going through The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Marlowe, which is fun--not because it's new, but because the people in my class provide a refreshingly modern take on it.

I'll give you an example. This one guy started off class by saying, "Yeah, I was really pulling for him."

He sold his soul to the devil--but this guy was pulling for him!

"You had no idea which way it was going to go," he continued.

A hint: any story that starts out with the main character declaring he wants to be better than God? Is not going to end well.

Anyway, later my teacher was asking us about the time period, and what aspects of the Renaissance and Reformation show up in the play, and whether Marlowe was a closet Catholic and such. Anyway, my teacher was talking about Calvinism. The thing is, I'm a Calvinist and people tend to have some really wonky ideas about Calvinism and they're not afraid to share because most everyone thinks it went the way of the Puritans.

"So you have this idea of predestination, which is a problem, because you have people like the Puritans. If you're saved, then you wonder, 'Well, am I doing enough? Am I being holy?' so you're nervous. Or you're not saved, so you wonder, 'Am I not saved? What if I can't be saved, what if I'm doomed to hell?' and you're really nervous. So basically our country was founded by some very nervous, depressed people."

Which is scarily accurate.
kitsjay: (Buttons)
So Courtney and I were sitting in the dorm, she on her computer, and me in my bed, when I hear this faint "woooo" noise, like someone imitating a ghost. It was so quiet that I disregarded it, then I heard it a little louder.

Curious, I looked around, but couldn't identify the cause.

"Woooooo!" I hear a bit louder.

Finally, Courtney turns around and gives me a look. "Are you waiting for me to notice?"

Just as I'm about to protest my innocence, the noise sounds again while Court is looking at me.

"It's not you," she said.

"No," I confirmed.

The noise kept getting louder and louder, trilling a bit and the sounds of giggling choking it off halfway, and Courtney and I were laughing the entire time. Three knocks came through our wall. Courtney slapped her palm against the wall to answer them.

"I'm going to see what they're doing," Court said. I followed her.

Audrey, our suitemate, opens the door with her boyfriend in tow, laughing.

"I am so sorry," she said immediately. "He just thought it was the funniest thing. I made the mistake of encouraging him and telling him that he sounded like Free Willy in the tank, you know? Those whale noises?"

The thing was, it was pretty funny. Way better than doing calculus homework, that's for sure.
kitsjay: (Default)
My TA is so adorkable. He showed up to class today with his orange plaid shirt, then proceeded to cover up with a black sweater with a camouflage pattern of teal, red, and an olive yellow.

When writing on the board, he wrote "eqt" for "equation" and "chng" for "change".

"I try not to write the--ah, what is the word? A, I, E?"

"Vowels?" someone in the front row suggested.

"Yes!" he said triumphantly. "Wowels."

It's oddly endearing.

Though he insists on eschewing equations in favor of long, complicated steps that no one understands (I am perfectly okay doing things by rote, thank you very much), I feel a strange affection for him.

Yes, he's hard to understand. No, he doesn't know what a vertex of a quadratic graph is. Yes, he wears awful sweaters.

But dammit, he's my TA!

In other news, in BritLit today, we watched a clip from Monty Python's Meaning of Life and I managed to think the right answer to a question for ten minutes and not open my mouth because I was scared I would get it wrong. Way to go me.
kitsjay: (Pfui)
The TA for my calculus discussion sections is Russian.

He pronounces hypotenuse as "hyper-tennis", geometry as "germatry", and velocity was nearly indistinguishable. Ordinarily this would be very cute and mildly hilarious.

Right now, though, it is simply indicative of the particular accent my impending failure is going to take.

On a related note, math teachers should be banned from uttering these words in class right after speaking for five minutes on something that may have been string theory as applied to the welkins in Aramaic: This should be easy so far.
kitsjay: (Default)
My schedule is the following thus far and hopefully from now on.

Mondays:

9:00-10:00 "Gods and the Good Life" - Sociology class taught by Michael, the doctoral candidate with "two very cute kids", according to him. Laid back, smallish class, filled with annoying frosh. We spent the first day listing words about what "health", "well-being", and "religion" meant to us before I blinked and went, "Wait. This is just Maslow's hierarchy of needs," and promptly stopped paying attention.

10:00-11:00 "Differential Calculus" - Hell in an auditorium. As you might have noticed, not a lot of time to get from my first class to this one, so by the time I got there, it was filled in front. Seriously, who sits in the front of the class? Everyone knows you filter in, sit in the middle-ish backish and hope someone tall doesn't sit in front of you. I couldn't see the board at all.

Tuesdays:

8:00-9:30 "British Literature" - Also taught by a doctoral candidate, this one named Paul. I actually went to this class, with about ten classmates, freaked because I realized that I really don't like British literature that much, snatched up a chance to switch to American literature, went to the American literature class immediately after going to this one, ended up in an auditorium with about 300 other people and read a syllabus entirely composed of poems. Freaked again and pressed refresh obsessively and now I'm back in the exact same class I started out in. Jane Austen, anyone?

5:00-6:00 "Differential Calculus" - Discussion group. Ick. 6:00 at night.

Wednesdays:

Wash, rinse, repeat with Monday's.

Thursdays:

Ditto with Tuesdays.

Fridays:

Same as Monday and Wednesday.


The astute among you might have noticed, "Hark! She's only taking 10 hours this semester!" You want to know why? Because I received a bill for ten hours that was $828.

"My, that's cheap!" said I. "I shall pay the entire sum now!"

My loan still hasn't come through, so I really can't afford to pay actual tuition, so I had to drop my psychology class but still got a bill saying that I owe $2000 more for tuition, even after paying the $828. I can't win for losing, apparently.

So that's it! Screaming, crying, and railing against God and humanity to follow.

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