Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Reading Challenge 2017 Pt. 3

I know the year isn't quite over, but I am so happy to have time to read, to finish things I started. Here we are:
I read "Blink" for a speed reading class outside of school but at school. Not a fan of the book. Maybe someone else will like it, but I thought it and the class were tedious. Maybe I read faster at the end of class, but it was some valuable time I lost over two weekends. I think something like this is better in the Summer when you don't have classes or deadlines.

I read "Ishi's Brain" for my "Intro to History" class. I have a lot of thoughts on this book, this class, and the experience for another time but the book was frustrating. It did more to make me not trust historians than anything else I've read. You can easily blow off old writers as colonizers or people from an old school of thought, but when history does damage to a people, why do we keep that stuff in print? If the writer has some kind of personal angle, not an academic one, can you take them seriously? Should you consider it a legitimate work? I dunno. I'm being a bit vague, but I'm going to keep thinking about it.

I finally finished "The Heyday of Malcolm Margolin" which was a relief and happiness. It's one of these books I picked up and set down twice or so because I had other things and school to distract me. But I finished. It made me think about what good it does to work for a good company: a place where you get along with most everyone, that you are happy with your work and you look forward to the projects you get to do. I can only hope to find work like that one day again. Anyway, it's cool. It's good to have good work and I appreciated reading all the great stories that Heyday folks shared. I loved the stories Malcolm shared about his life in the Bay Area and in publishing. It was a good book. A keeper, (especially if you love books, the making of books.. or even California... or outdoors.. or...)

Of school things, I want to say "Colony in a Nation" and also "The New Jim Crow" (which I have yet to finish) was the best. "Colony in a Nation" reads super fast. It kind of compares the situation in Ferguson, MO. (and the rest of the country) to in the pre-American Revolutionary experience. There's a couple nice Franz Fanon quotes too. It was used for the Philosophy class I took but would have fit in any most any other class: American History, Political Theory, African American Studies (of course,) and others I guess. It's about Democracy and how there are two systems of justice. It talks about colonialism but it's also very relevant and current. There's a final chapter on campus policing which I thought was kind of out of place, but it too has a point to be made. The book is worth reading by everyone. It's written in a conversational style that is very approachable, so no deep academic rambling or words to look up. It won't change your life or make you lose 20 pounds, but it's cool. It'll give you some thinks to think on, maybe.

Monday, December 11, 2017

What's the Point

...of blogs?

I haven't updated since before Fall Quarter started. So busy! My first Quarter at the new school and it took some getting used to. I was worried I wouldn't get any books read, but I did. I didn't bother with #NaNoWriMo though. I can't imagine trying to write a poem every day in November when the papers and finals were coming up!

Now that the Quarter is over I have some time to settle and ponder this new college experience.

1. I miss the Semesters schedule, that's the first thing. How I feel about the new school is something I'm still working on.

2. I'm not crazy about the commute. I hate the commute. It's 3 hrs out of my life there & back.I know for many people it's much worse. Folks coming from Stockton or San Jose! Suffice to say when you have to go in for nothing other than office hours or worse: a night class where you aren't actually learning anything, it gives you pause. I'm grateful when the instructors give you a heads up early in the day when they decide they are too sick or need to cancel.

3. Social aspect: it's a commuter school, so again like IUPUI I'm not meeting a lot of people, and a lot of the people I'm meeting so far aren't especially keen to form study groups or hang around campus to socialize. I don't blame them. If I don't need to be there, I'm not. However, if I have classes, I am pretty much stuck on campus all afternoon until my night class. Bonus study time, which isn't bad at all.

4... to be continued.


Re the commute: I'm going to work hard so I can get into CAL for grad school. I imagine (& I may be wrong) people take history a bit more serious there, (so not just because going to city college had me spoiled to come home for naps!) Too many people going through the motions of learning right now at the new college. I was told that's a city college attribute, but it's more of the same at the upper levels, which I find kind of disappointing. I thought when you become a Junior you find classes with people who love history, love learning. I have my doubts.

But I'll be starting a new quarter in 3 weeks, so it'll be another chance to experience new things and new people. I'm finally getting to take some California stuff as well. I'll be taking a Native California Anthropology class for my "D6" (I think?) one of the random upper levels they require; so I chose that. Also, I am (IMHO) 'retaking'' History of California. I took History 19 with the most amazing prof. back in Spring 2014 but the new school doesn't consider it an upper level, so... *shrug* California (& the West) is my major so why not look at it as a way to have some fun? I may pick up something new?

I have 2 other history classes I am taking as well... No Geography, unfortunately! Hopefully, I will get to take some in the Spring, (I added it as a minor, so I certainly hope so!) The plan is a BA in History, Geography Minor and a Ph.D. in History (and a side MLS/MLIS) if I'm not dead by then. LOLz (Old lady Student joke, there...)

I am enjoying the learning, despite how long I waited to go back. Tip: if you get GI Bill money & quit, don't let it run out on you. Also, the longer you wait to go back, the more culture shock you get. At City Collge, you are more likely to run into people in their 30s and up. Not so much at the commuter campus, (during the day anyway.) I have days where I'm physically exhausted... the commute takes a lot more out of me for some reason.

Like at the City College, I get sad some days because I think I'm the only one excited about learning, and on many days, feel like a fool. I get tired of raising my hand. I get tired of participating. I also get the impression some of the profs hate being there as much as my classmates, which is also depressing. I have days when I don't want to go back, so I have to find the enthusiasm and energy in myself to do it. When I'm there it's the people that still seem happy to share knowledge that get me enthusiastic and motivated. Those people I am so very grateful for and excited to spend my time learning from.