||[Jan. 22nd, 2013|10:39 am]
I really disliked my last semester. My three online classes are kind of a blur -- one was 'computers in business' which was a really rudimentary course that taught basic IT and the teacher didn't know how to type words, one was microeconomics where you tried to measure things that cannot be feasibly measured, and one was payroll accounting which was pretty all right. But most of my time was absorbed by a physical-presence class that was supposed to cover basic income tax preparation, and that class sucked ass. The teacher is a nice person and cared for her students, and it was clear she knew a lot about tax preparation. But she didn't know how to teach us that information. The class was so disorganized, with over half of the documents unchanged from when they pertained to 2010 taxes instead of 2011, the syllabus was never correct, the assigned reading could sometimes be over 200 pages for one week, and the tests/assignments rarely covered the basic fundamentals; rather, they focused on trick questions. Now it's good to be prepared for these when taking a formal exam to get your license, but this is BASIC tax prep, and we just weren't learning the basics. It was confusing and frustrating, it was an 8-credit course, and I got a freaking C in it.|
This brings me to this semester. This is semester 4 out of 5, and it's the first semester where I get to take 18 credits instead of 19. It doesn't actually make any difference, because five classes is five classes. If anything, this is the most time-consuming semester I've had, because the homework and study for principles of accounting is BRUTAL. I don't mean it's difficult, although it is because you only get two shots at the homework which you can't check for accuracy so it's more like an untimed test, but because there's so much of it. I literally spent one entire day (late morning to near midnight) working through all of the videos and quizzes and interactive learning. Stacked with a part-time job, I've been insanely busy, as you might imagine.
However, I don't feel like any of what I'm learning this time is just busy-work. I'm actually LEARNING. That accounting class is hard, but at least the concepts are being thoroughly drilled into my head, so it's unlikely that I'll forget. Macroeconomics is far better than microeconomics (so far anyway) because it really goes into depth about inflation, recession, unemployment rates and how they're measured, and things I never really understood beyond the fact that we don't want that stuff. Fundamentals of investing is also interesting, and it's also a really good thing to know if you want to retire someday or even just make a little extra money with smart investing.
I didn't think business law would be very fun; in fact, I thought it would be the most dry, painful, and boring class I'd ever take. But it's not. While I don't really enjoy learning about the judicial system much, the class focuses more on just the cut and dry statistics. In the last module, we read a letter written by Martin Luther King Jr. from the Birmingham jail. It was nine pages long, and I was thoroughly absorbed. It was so heart-wrenching and kind and loving. I'd never read anything by King before, and everything I knew about the civil rights was pretty much glossed over and summarized in history classes. We also got to read newspaper articles covering the protests at the time; even then the media was heavily biased, so at least I can take comfort in knowing that today's media manipulations aren't exactly new -- I'm just old enough to recognize it now. The discussion for the week involved remarks on unjust laws of the past, and what we consider an unjust law in effect today. The class is full of very intelligent people who don't flail their arms and scream passionately about their political agenda. Instead, nearly every post I read was eloquent and logically stated, where I could read it and, while not necessarily agreeing, I could at least understand that person's point of view and why they believed as they did. If all politics were handled so calmly and professionally, I wouldn't hate politics and debates as much as I do.
To be honest, I was dreading my writing class. English has always been an extreme subject for me, where I either totally get it and have an amazing and inspiring teacher, or where it's complete garbage and the teacher hates everything I do. It's never in-between. The last writing class I took was really frustrating, and all I can remember was that the teacher hated it whenever I used an ellipsis to emphasize a pause. I guess I was overusing them at the time, but I don't think they were all that abused. This class is unusual -- it focuses on 'fear'. I've never had a general writing class with a more specific topic, but I think it actually helps me narrow my own focus into something that isn't so broad. The teacher provides fantastic feedback. Right off the bat, we have to write an essay about a time in our lives where we felt fear. If you've known me over the past four years or so, you can probably guess what I chose. After finishing the essay, I saw that there was an upcoming part of the essay-refining process with a peer review. I was kind of uneasy about that; what happened to me still makes me a little anxious to talk about with another person. I was even kind of jittery about submitting it to the instructor. What if I got paired up with someone who had one of those goofy little kid fear scenarios?
Today I received the essay of another one of my classmates, and it started off talking about Saturday morning cartoons and washing dishes with her sister. I thought what I feared was true, and that my horror experience would seem too intimate and uncomfortable. But as I read on, I saw that the fear wasn't concentrated on the dark when the two accidentally broke the light. Instead, it was on the father who came home, threatened them, and hit them severely with his belt. It made me want to cry, and just swoop up the writer in a big hug. That must have been so hard for her to write. It also increases my admiration and respect for the teacher to match the two of us up, since it's easier to share a hard moment in your life with someone who's also been through something no one else ever deserves.
I'm getting teary-eyed just thinking about it, really.
Anyway, so that's my schooling experience thus far. It's tough, but it's also challenging and I feel like it's really beneficial instead of just a bunch of hoops to jump through for a degree and a job.