Archive for the ‘Community College’

Summer Quarter, Second Week07.07.12

The second week of summer quarter just wrapped up. I will admit, this quarter feels a lot more difficult because it’s summer and every Seattlelite goes a little nutty when it’s finally nice out. I don’t even have the crazy tan fetish that my sister has (if she turns a shade less than charred crispy, she thinks her “paleness” makes her body look fat).

I’m only taking three classes because it is summer, and I do hope to enjoy the sunshine at some point. It cannot be a good sign, if even my own instructor emails me back with comments about how I should be out enjoying the beautiful weather when I’m asking about where I can find the homework file.

Two of the three classes are extremely relevant to law school, and I wish I had thought to take them before applying last year. I’m taking Business Law, Intro to Logic, and American Literature.

When I first picked up the books for Business Law and Intro to Logic, I was a bit intimidated. Business Law had a ridiculous amount of reading in it for one quarter. The instructor assigned reading the entire first chapter for day 1. I think more than half the class did not finish the reading. It took me more than four hours just to read half the chapter while actively taking notes. I had to stop trying to take notes just so that I could finish reading the chapter to do the answers in the back. Each chapter contains pages of case snippets, my eyes rolled to the back of my head when I read the first case. I could not for the life of me understand what it was saying. What was the ruling? It was all there, but I could not pick out the words that say one way or the other. I had to cheat and wiki the cases to get it out in terms that do not make my brain run to the corner and cry.

Trying to read the first chapter of the business law book was a practice in morale deflation. I seriously questioned if I could do this for THREE years if just one day could seem so terrible. The beauty of this though, it has only been two weeks of reading cases after cases, and wiki-ing cases when I can’t seem to make heads or tails of the readings, and I’m actually starting to understand what the pages are saying. It’s starting to get to the point where the cases are interesting.
Philosophy: Intro to Logic, my god, I wish I had taken this class before I spent a dime on taking the LSATs. This class is simply wonderful. The book with all the triangles and weirdly flipped “U” was very intimidating at first, but I’m really looking forward to this class now. I took this class simply because I was hoping this class would help me argue like people who were obviously philosophy majors. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching two people who majored in philosophy have a conversation, it’s really a beautiful thing. When a point of contention is brought up, they take turns clarifying their understanding of what the other person is really saying before they comment on it. It’s the most unheated heated conversation ever.

An example of this might be:
P1: All red heads are slutty.
P2: By red heads, do you mean only the natural red heads or even the ones that dye their hair red? What about the natural red heads who dye their hair a different color?
Discuss.

It’s beautiful. I’m also very biased because my best friend majored in philosophy and that’s pretty much how he talks any time I bring up a point that he wants to comment on, he will first question his understanding of my statement. As result, I don’t think I’ve ever felt as understood by anyone else. It probably helps that he was psychology double major and did work as a counselor.

In couple counseling, when couples have a tendency to bicker, the couple is told to repeat what they hear the other person say before arguing. I wonder if they could have saved themselves thousands of counseling dollars by taking a logic class at the local community college.

 

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End of Spring Quarter 201206.16.12

Yesterday marks the end of Spring Quarter at Seattle Central Community College. It only took 36 years, but I was really sad my classes ended. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t trying to speed toward some unknown future. For the first time, I wished I could have spent a little more time with each instructor because I recognized there is much still that I could learn from them and because I recognize what wonderful people they are.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned a lot from each of them, and I know they have provided me with tools and encouragement to succeed, but with all the progress I’ve already made, I know another quarter with each of them would make me that much better of an academic writer, a creative writer, and a public speaker.

I guess I just want to say I’m really grateful to have all the instructors that I did this quarter. As hard as it is to admit, I’m very glad I was rejected from my dream law school and to have them tell me I should take more writing classes. I don’t know if I would have ever forced myself to find the time to take these classes that I’ve talked about taking for far too long. The classes have all taught me how to tackle any writing or presentation assignments and they go a long way in helping build my confidence in my writing skill. It’s not just my boyfriend that told me that my writing have improved, it’s that my professor actually told me to submit one of my paper to publication. I’m not sure how to go about doing that, but I will give that a try.

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Freewill Writing06.09.12

Holy hell, y’all! Guess what day today is? It’s the first day in months where I get to write just for the fun of it. Yesterday, I turned in my second portfolio for my second writing class, which means, no more mandatory writing for at least two weeks at which point, summer quarter at SCCC will start and oh, new writing class.

Now “mandatory” has a certain negative ring to it, and may imply that there’s no freewill involved, which we certainly know to be not true. Except, it’s true, for someone who really gives a shit about school. If you honestly care about school, you exercise your freewill elsewhere, like whether you really need to go out and see your friends, or eat, or wash your hair or brush you teeth. Also, “mandatory” sounds like someone is thrusting a red hot poker in my general direction menacingly if I stop doing something for a moment and there is no fun to be had, but it’s not true. I enjoyed every moment of all my writings all quarter. It’s just that there were so much of it between two writing classes and a speech class. So writing here for the sheer pleasure of writing ranks a little below, eat before the bad blood sugar low turns me into a monster that frightens the boyfriend, the unfortunate other live animal in this cage with me.

I feel really good right now, because I know I improved my writing a lot. And not just because my boyfriend, who had the honor of proofreading each of my paper multiple times and had to listen to me read it out loud over and over, said so. Because even I am not so foolish as to believe he is not biased and not secretly afraid that I might smother him in his sleep if he says anything negative about my writing. Sure relationship is about honestly, but it’s also about tactfully not telling me that my ass looks huge in certain jeans or more precisely, he can’t always see that my ass is huge, he may have gotten used to what my ass looks like and a slight plus or minus is not visible to him. Did I just indirectly compare my writing to ass?

So, my writing instructors tell me I’ve improved. My composition teacher told me my writing was always strong to begin with; I’ve just gotten more concise and better overall. I believe him because I had already turned in my review for him the day before so that I have no reason to believe he’s buttering me up for a good review. Which, I don’t know, does anyone give bad reviews to their instructors? Like: “Out of my four instructors, if you had to cut one, you should cut this one?” I don’t think I could actively hurt someone’s livelihood that way even if I thought that. But no, I love both my writing instructors. I really do. If they are teaching this summer, I would definitely sign up for them, but alas, nope. I was a bit concerned about the quality of instructors, because I went to a snobby private college in my undergrad years, and I wasn’t sure what a community college would have to offer. However, I do feel all my instructors are quality teachers.

The one thing that I feel improved most on is my actual writing process, which my composition teacher can’t see. The first paper was written in blood, sweat and too much caffeine. It was so much work and I didn’t have a clue how to approach it and it was like watching monkeys fling poo on the wall and seeing what shit sticks. That was my writing process. Between composition and public speaking classes, I learned how to outline like a champ. It really helps. Soon as I find myself rambling or feeling a moment of “Where the fuck am I again?” I refer to the outline and I’m back running. And the best part is, I can refer to my outline and tell you approximately how many hours of writing I have left. It was glorious – I could almost hear a choir of angels during the writing of my final essays for my two classes. Always finishing a little early as I had scheduled it for post-writing process.

I’m really grateful for this quarter, I truly believe it made me a much stronger writer. And now I get to read for fun. *happy reading dance* That sounds like the worst looking dance ever, but I assure you it’s filled with joy or dignity, pick one.

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Halfway Through the Quarter05.11.12

Was I like this when I was younger? Did I care so little for my education too? Quite often, people will not do their assigned class reading so that when we break into groups to discuss the reading, it’s usually me talking to one other student in the group. In three of my four classes I have group projects, trying to get the group to do their work is like pulling teeth.

I feel bad for the teachers, because I only deal with this on a small scale. It’s disheartening to try to motivate the unmotivated.

My creative writing teacher constantly notes how it must be spring quarter from the listlessness of the class. The bad cop teacher has taken up saying, “Can I get a ‘What What’,”  whenever he wants a response from us. There is usually a mumbled, unenthusiastic “what what” returned.

Today, when the class was a blank stare of sunny Fridays.

Teacher: Can I get a “What What!?”
Class: what what
Teacher: Now can I get a “woot”…nevermind…
Female classmate: What?
Teacher: “Whoot whoot”. You know the song? It’s by Jay Z.
Class: *blank stare*
Teacher: You guys don’t know the song by Jay Z?
Me: You do know the uncensored song says, “Can I get a ‘Fuck you!'” Right?
Teacher: What? No. I worked at the Qwest stadium and they played that song all the time.
Classmate: Maybe because they can’t played the uncensored version there?
Teacher: Hmmm…I don’t believe in censorship, I might have to go with the uncensored version.

If he does, he might get a slightly more enthusiastic response from the surly tough crowd that my class is.

I feel even more bad now, I think I might have ruined something that my teacher really enjoyed. There’s a local station here called “KUBE” that I used to love, the female DJ once talked about how awkward it is when she’s caught singing the uncensored version of R&B/Hiphop song and people looked at her like she’s putting in crude words in there on her own.

People, there are usually explicit lyrics in rap songs. It’s not what’s played on radio, but don’t pretend it doesn’t exist.

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Madness of a Writer05.01.12

It is every boyfriend’s job to tell their girlfriend they are crazy. And my boyfriend takes that duty very seriously. Sometimes he is correct, even if I will never admit it to his face. Other times, it’s simply him not understanding my perspective.

I’ve had some problem sleeping most days. Each week, I have a minimum of two papers due and I spend a few days on each. Every night when I go to bed right after writing, a thousand thoughts continues to flutter in my head. Revisions. Additions. Each so soft and flitting, nothing solid, but continues to pester. Each draft is still not good enough.

boyfriend: It’s good, you should stop worrying.
me: It’s only okay, I know what “good” is, and it’s not that yet.
boyfriend: You’re just being too much of a perfectionist now, it’s good.
me: I’m not a perfectionist, I just don’t accept mediocre work.

This goes back and forth until he realizes it’s better to shut up.

For one of my writing class recently, we had a local writer visit us. She did a Q&A about her writing process. She said, “When you write, be ready to let it consume you, because it will.” A book that she recommends is The Eleventh Draft. That’s about how many revisions it takes to come up with something good.

I felt an, “Aha!” moment. Then barely resisted the urge to call my boyfriend and tell him how right I am. Again.

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Week Three04.22.12

I knew taking two writing classes could be madness. And I knew adding a public speaking class would only compound to the madness, but I really wanted to do this as a self-litmus test. I figured if I couldn’t handle a couple reading/writing intensive classes at a community college, becoming a lawyer is probably a stupid idea.

It has been three weeks already and a pattern has emerged in my study habits. It’s something like this.

  • Finish all accounting homework, worksheets and quiz a week ahead of time so that I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the week.
  • Big writing assignments, 2 due each week (1 for composition II, 1 for creative writing). I spend first day outlining and start writing. Second day, I finish writing and start correcting. Third day, I do more correcting and add finishing touch, and the boyfriend helps with final proofread. Then I spend the rest of the day freaking out over how the paper is just not good enough, until the boyfriend tells me to stop freaking out and get the hell to bed.
  • Whatever random cracks of open time I have is spent on public speaking class work or reading books for all classes. Lots of reading.

I’m doing well in my writing classes, but I can’t seem to relax and think I’m doing well enough even though I’m getting 4.0s in my writings. My problem right now is that I feel like each writing takes just about everything I’ve got and it still feels like it’s not quite enough. So I’m afraid if I relax, it’s just giving in to “teh suck”. This feeling will go away with more practice or so I hope.

Time is not my friend in adding to posts. However, I do wish to share class writings here. Feel free to judge them harshly since I do not have to hear you read it out loud. Have I mentioned how I get all worked up every time we have to read our own writing in class? I thought people lose their ability to blush after 30, but those people probably did not have to read their own writing out loud.

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