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Nov. 21st, 2010 10:10 pm
mercat: (Default)
I'm actually liking this daily challenge thing. Some days I'm a little busy to catch it in time, but for the most part, I'm actually making daily posts. :D SUCCESSFUL POSTING IS SUCCESSFUL.

Today's! My favorite subject to study... Man, I don't know. I love learning. I don't always love lectures, or homework, but I love the sense of accomplishment from understanding something, and the perspective you gain from it. I love love love reading. In case you couldn't tell from the fact that I probably spend a minimum of $50 every time I hit the bookstore... which is like once a month. And the fact that I spend sooooo much time online reading blogs. I LOVE INFORMATION. I think it's all one of the reasons I chose engineering--not just so I could get paid more for doing technical stuff (which I'm actually starting to think I might hate, as a job)-- but so I could have that background and understanding. Math and engineering and physics can be challenging, but once you understand it it's kind of amazing, the way you can see patterns. However, I'm not good at learning from proofs or methodologies; I sort of work from multiple examples, working my way through them to understand the subtle differences. This poses a problem wherein most engineering professors don't like to do tons upon tons of examples, I don't have the time to be in their office hours all day long, and the textbooks aren't much better (they usually just have one or two examples).

I like history, but I've found that challenging, too. I was fascinated by ancient history when I was really young-- Native American, Egyptian, Greek, Hawaiian (I remember checking lots of books on those topics out in gradeschool)--but I found learning American history out of a textbook difficult because our textbooks were written really poorly. This continued into high school where I already didn't have a great sense of world history, but I gleaned a little bit here and there except European History with the best history teacher I've ever had. He told events like stories, and would sort of reenact them with the help of his "time machine" (his closet), which often contained props like Napoleon's really cheap bendy plastic sword. He would often stop his storytelling at the MOST EXCITING PARTS, glance at his watch and tell us, "oh, looks like we're out of time!" There was one day, I believe, he was "out of time" with 20 or 30 minutes left in class. SO RIDICULOUS. But to this day I still remember the whole crazy story of Rasputin's death and the Russian royal family's deaths. And why everyone thought Rasputin really was a holy man (from either heaven or hell) by withstanding poison and being shot only to drown. (I think. He might have also survived drowning and then died of hypothermia or something...? Okay, wikipedia tells me he did die from drowning, but what I was forgetting was that he was beaten and secured before being thrown in the river, but then broke free of these bonds to then drown.) ANYWAY.

College history is a lot better, because we had a "World-War-II-In-One-Lecture-Using-Only-Battlefront-Maps-of-Europe" day, which gives just the kind of summary on the war that our crappy textbooks lacked that is kind of like a five-sentence-outline version of the politics of the time and let me start placing events within that timeline. Honestly, whoever wrote the textbooks we used in gradeschool and highschool needs to reevaluate their methods. The problem is, they told history like a bunch of individual stories, which makes it very difficult for someone with no overarching view to tie them together. There were basically no ways for me to string everything together into one timeline, at least, not well. BUT. Strangely, I got another good "summary" of globalization through Hawaiian and Pacific history, strangely enough--because it's essentially watching undiscovered lands mature into modern countries in less than two centuries. A century and a half, even. Not to mention, the Pacific was a significant part of WWII, which is a good education on the Japanese side of things rather than the standard Nazi/European focus.

I also like art, because it gives more relationships for history, and understanding the context of famous art pieces makes them a lot more meaningful. Although I now find Warhol annoying. I understand his intent but him, personally... he seemed kind of pretentious in his videos when we studied him. Like the forefather of Hipsters. (For srs.) Also, art history also makes you more prone to getting into discussions about the meaning and value of art (see: trivia night two weeks ago, haha!).

(For the record the argument was whether or not modern art is worthless. My position is that modern art is much more meaningful than other art because it is completely expressive at it is freed from the necessitation of replicating life exactly--that is, the invention of the camera and video, etc. allows for much more "creation" in art. The opposition was saying that this is pointless because you aren't simply looking at something, the art is in the emotion or the context, which isn't the art itself. SO. LET IT NOT BE SAID MY ART HISTORY MINOR WAS EVER COMPLETELY WORTHLESS.)

So! What have I covered so far? Math, physics, engineering, history, art... Music? Music is my-life-outside-of-design. I could do it as a career if it were the right thing. I miss marching and I don't know what I'm going to do without anymore marching band... ever. Although I am taking tap next semester, so, currently, dance is my closest-approximation-replacement. And tap is percussive, so it's closer than, say, ballet, which I can't watch anymore BECAUSE THE DANCERS DON'T MOVE NECESSARILY WITH THE MUSIC /rant

Okay. Am I missing anything else? Oh! English (and languages). I love grammar, and spelling, although that is something my gradeschool also taught poorly that I picked up in high school better. One, because I was learning a new language as well, so there was a focus on grammar, and two, because we learned to diagram, which is also a focus on grammar, and it's basically all like one big puzzle. Now if only I could do better with strange verb conjugations! OH, SUBJUNCTIVE/PRETERITE/IMPERFECT/ETC TENSES. (I also miss learning languages.)

Uh... earth sciences? I guess that's what's left? Also fascinating. I love nature. I find psychology fascinating. Astronomy is SO COOL. It probably helps that my parents are doctors, so my sister and I got a lot of weird biology talk (and a lot of big words) and a pretty good grasp on some areas of science when we were young. BUT, my gradeschool had a completely awful science teacher for 6th/7th/8th grades (shared teacher), so that wasn't great either. Although our books were at least better, more diagrams, more straightforward, so I could at least self-educate to some degree. Now, another topic for another day, our lack of good science communication is evident in science fairs in gradeschool and highschool, because my version of "original experiments" were never quite on par with what they wanted. I still don't understand what they wanted. Because it wasn't a demonstration of a principle, but my ideas were more often too strange to be taken seriously, it seemed.

My science fair projects throughout the years: whether people could actually tell the difference between cola brands, whether kids carried too much in their backpacks, whether cat saliva prevented germ growth (e-coli or streptococcus? or both? can't remember], whether edible fauna (a.k.a. pansies) contains vitamin C, and whether fake or real wine corks do a better job of preventing germ spoiling of wine. I'm missing seventh grade's project... I don't recall at all, really. At any rate, these projects were all off the wall because everything else I had come up with would have "been done before" (meaning my teacher didn't really want me to do that specific project, although they never really gave much advice as to what exactly I could do to improve it) so my methods were always slightly bizarre, and my data was never quite clean enough, and other than the science geniuses who managed to do amazing things (these are the people who make it to international science fairs, I mean) A LOT OF PEOPLE BULLSHITTED THEIR DATA. And got better grades because of it, because their presentations were easier when they didn't have to answer difficult questions about their data's subtleties. So basically despite the fact that "the data you get doesn't have an effect on your final grade", meaning, let science do it's job and don't force a proof of your hypothesis, I generally got fucked over by being honest. Yes, I'm still bitter about this. WHY? Because ethics are important to me. Because human treachery starts early. Because I get punished for being honest. Because my generation clearly doesn't have a problem with cheating and lying to get themselves out of a challenge. FUCK IT ALL I'M SO GODDAMN BITTER ABOUT THIS SHIT.

Sorry to give this a turn for the sad for a moment, but I really don't tend to trust a lot of people my age, and this shit is why. (On the other side, I trust them more on the technical side than I trust myself because, unless I feel I can do something perfectly, I feel very unsure of myself and second-guess myself to no end.) Same kind of shit even happened on retreats! One of my many disillusionments with faith--all the people who act like their religiosity made them so much better than everyone else, when they couldn't even set aside their phones and cd players and everything else for our week of poverty. (To the point that there were prank calls and a string of tampons and pads let down from our room to the guys' quarters. Complete bullshit for a whole week.)

ANYWAY I LOVE LEARNING BUT DON'T TRUST PEOPLE MY AGE. They are not above buying their way out of things. =/

I kind of want to do an anonymous study of gradeschoolers and see how many bullshit their data now. Ugh.

(This is why I've started to think I don't really want kids--I look at adorable babies and toddlers and think, "some day you are going to be an asshole.")

I may or may not be a horrible person.

BUT I LOVE LEARNING :D

Oh, I guess, in terms of "favorite subject", specifically, I guess I could say marching. Because drum corps is my life, and I don't know what I'm going to do without being able to do it any more. (Teaching is definitely not the same and I don't necessarily have the desire to be a music teacher. Although I could do visual, but it's still not the same as competitive marching.)

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