For the love of something

is a completely irrelevant post title.

Today I’d like to write about several things not actually related to some advocacy or social issue (EXCEPT THE ISSUE OF MY LIFE). Let me begin.

The Fifth Bio Lab Exam

I have SO MUCH RAGE it deserves to be underlined. I have never, in my life, been so scared of a high probability of failing a test. Even for Math 17 I coasted by with the belief that I might pass, albeit barely. But for this last test. God, this last test. A lot of things went to high hell so easily and remorselessly that I have to count the ways. 

First [minor] factor: two of the equations written on the board to guide us through the computational part was faulty. Faulty as in false, wrong, misleading, irregular and absolutely deceitful. The implications? Half of the class (or even more) who relied on those equations would lose around 10 points because of those discrepancies. The only way for it to be salvaged is if our professor would consider the alternate equations and correct it. And why shouldn’t she? It was her fault those misleading equations were put on the board. Yes, a fellow classmate made an honest mistake of transcribing the wrong formulas, but it does not discount the fact that our prof did not correct it at all. So there are only three ways to interpret that: one, our professor was so careless and disregarding that she did not even notice, or two, she did not care whether or not certain parts of the test would be answered incorrectly by her students, or three, she did not know the equations herself. Because what were we students supposed to assume? Granted, some of us felt that there was something off about the formulas, but the implicit message of her inaction is that she approves of the equations.

And I’ve been talking too much on a single thing. Here’s the bigger part.

THE BIGGEST EFFING FACTOR: she did not teach us anything. For emphasis, I’ll embolden and underline: she did not teach us anything. More than 75% of the test drew from information which never left her lips in instruction. Our last two laboratory exercises which tackled the coverage of the whole test were introduced with silence (meaning there was no lecture) and punctuated with close to nothing. While looking through slides of antheridia and archegonia and moss capsules, she gave us no word on what we were actually looking at. When asked for information or classification, she replied that we could handle it ourselves. What little she told us dealt with how to use a psychrometer, light and wind meter for the last experiment. Those constituted around 7 points out of a total of 100+.

And it’s so frustrating to bear witness to. In contrast, the other half of my block was given handouts and detailed lectures even after the test. The learning process did not stop. Our senior ate or student guide, at the very least (and in her generosity), gave us notes, handouts and Powerpoint presentations from last year. Our teacher seemed to be an anomaly.

We understand the value of self-study. I like self-study; but as a paying student whose mother worked for these units I’m taking, I’d like to think that this “self-studying” should only complement whatever lectures and instructions given to us. Why? I recall that this very same professor called me out for answering something in a previous test that never appeared in our discussion; I used a term found in our discussions in the bio lecture unit instead. And while that answer really was wrong, I saw how unreliable self-study is. What the teacher wants you to learn and what you can learn off from the internet are two very different things; what you’ll study and what she’ll test are hard to reconcile without lectures.

So there. I suppose I’m done ranting about all these factors. Here’s my last grievance about this whole business:

We were so disappointed. At the start of this semester, our professor (she’s an associate professor at the Dept. of Biology at our school) seemed approachable, distinguished and experienced. We were expecting to learn much from her. Even though at times she didn’t even give us substantial lectures or laboratory background –relying on our knowledge from the bio lecture unit– and we watched as the other half received long and detailed lectures from their instructor, we let it pass. We accepted it as part of her charm, and we even rated her as “among the best” in our evaluations.

Obviously that evaluation was premature. I am hesitant to say that our history 1 professor was right, but, well. Maybe some teachers really do fuck-all once evaluations are over?

I’d like to comprehend her motivations for not teaching us. Maybe she grew bored, tired or irritated? She should have expressed whatever difficulties or offenses she’s taken on, then. Or perhaps she trusted us? Good answer, but not a professional and respectable one. Maybe she forgot she didn’t teach us at all?

That one’s funny.

A Game of Thrones

(So instead of getting a decent start on my review for the Geology exam, and in my not defense I am already behind time-wise, I spent roughly an hour on the internet. And then here I go to not study by writing more stuff.)

For a very long time I’ve been hesitant to read the book A Game of Thrones by George Martin. It’s not that I think it was bad or anything; I just didn’t have the time or enough interest. Also, the first time I tried reading it just to join the bandwagon of HBO series enthusiasts and top-selling books consumers, I completely failed to get any point whatsoever. I couldn’t understand it. To me, it seemed that the very first page already continued from some unknown but assumed history. And there was no prequel; I checked.

A couple of months later one or two of my cousins said that while it might seem intimidating at first, with the plethora of characters and backstories, it would get easier later on. A couple of months after that, my mother received a copy of the said book for her birthday. And finally, a couple of months after that (basically this week), I finally cracked opened a page.

I’m now on page 105 and I don’t want to stop. Well, I do. Uhm.

I posted at FB or twitter earlier that trying to relax with coffee, a croissant and the book GoT was a failure. It was, because reading about certain events made my heart figuratively stop. It was still beating loudly four dozen pages later. The feeling of trepidation after Bran was pushed off the window ledge by Jaime Lannister just killed me. In fact, I think it inspired a line of thought wherein readers often develop fast and strong attachments to young, free-spirited characters (like Bran). So I do want to continue reading, because I want to know what happens to the goddess Daenerys and the god Drogo, even if I have to read about creepy incestuous (not that there’s anything wrong –aside from biological reasons– with that lifestyle) and really bitchy twin Lannisters. 

And I’d hesitate to call this book the start of an epic. It’s a novel driven by character, not by plot or quests or legends.

So there. Also, that coffee and croissant I mentioned? It was a baby born from the previously mentioned ugly bio lab exam. I had to treat myself to Starbucks to even feel remotely good about my life choices.

Good croissants still exist in the Philippines.

Twitter Update 

I’ve finally composed my first tweet yesterday, and it was a completely useless and irrelevant tweet. Today I’ve made four more. 

I have pinpointed the reason why I would still prefer word blogs (specifically WordPress) to Twitter, and Facebook to Twitter. For the first one: I write things to remember. The 140 character limit is tolerable, and even acceptable, but the fact that there is no filing and tagging system makes Twitter an ineffective tool for me. Some of my friends have over 1000 tweets. Those minute data of their lives, the details of what they thought or felt or did –all of those would be broadcasted to other people, but not necessarily remembered. It would take a lot of scrolling to look for specific reactions on past weeks or even days.

So no, Twitter won’t be very helpful to me as a writing platform. The only use of it for me, then, is to spam other people with FB-like statuses. But I don’t think I’ll do that a lot, since I can’t imagine anyone being interested in a lot of things I say. So then I prefer Facebook to Twitter because it also allows me to broadcast my thoughts to other people, tag them, upload pictures and numerous other social actions. I suppose the exclusive highlights of Twitter would be the hashtags and the famous people one could follow. Those might be worth staying for, now that I think about it.

Lots of interesting people to stalk.

In conclusion

Lots of things happened today, including meeting three of my friends in iMed (why does spellcheck accept iMed but not IMed?), and I have also been coaxed into a promise to join a sleepover. Hope I keep that one. 

So: some crappy test, a book with venomous fangs, some social firsts.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Welcome to college, Jari! Some teachers are just like that hahaha :)

  2. tina says:

    Hi jari! I agree with Jaja :-) and sometimes internet might not be useful at all. Try to be more observant of your prof’s style. Ask the upper batch regarding the profile of your profs at least you have an idea and you’ll know how to study on that certain subject. Iba-iba kasi sila ng style as in super! Ay naku yang Math 17 na yan! Haaay… Malabo talaga but you can do it. :-)

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