In the day

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Post  #2688.   Lordy .. has it been that long? The word "allele" popped into my head today, leading me to yet another advice column: How to go to College. Now, at one time, I knew all about alleles and also glacial moraines, neurasthenia, pinnate venation, 1812, gerunds, anomie, x y and z; even, really, hujambo bibi vezuri sana? I knew the ins and outs of all that stuff for exactly one hour. The thing is, unless you're attending college for some actual reason, like pre-med or bizness, don't take it too seriously. My advice would be to pay attention in your first English class to pick up a little grammer and comp, but other than that just enjoy the rest of the classes like you would a movie or play. And for pete's sake, don't study to learn! Studying is for passing tests. Either way, you won't remember anything but the gist of the class later. Test-taking is the most valuable lesson to come away from college with. That, and how to compose a sentence not ending with a preposition. As you know by now, there are two kinds of prof philosophies on tests. The first wants to know what you got out of the course and will be more essay-oriented. Give the prof back all his emphasized points, but in your own words. Write enthusiastically, like you got really inspired. The other type of talker just wants volumes of facts, more likely to be multiple-choice and T/F. This takes more cramming. Do some research on the prof. Find out if he's the kind of prick who does questions on captions under pictures in the text. Also, does he test on notes, the book, or both? If you have a little time before an exam, don't cram up to the last minute. Bad move. Ready or not, close your books an hour or two before and do something else. Write as legibly as you can. Take a moment to organize your answer in your head before you start writing. On multiple choice, try and get inside the head of the T.A. who wrote it. Chances are, he will have avoided C,C,C,C,C. By the third C it has to be something else. If it looks like a trick-question, go with your first impulse. The second one is designed to put doubts in your head. Above all, be confident. You know it, and if you don't know it you're smart enough to fake it. Believe that. Panic is the enemy.

I would advise not to cut class often. Even if it's crap, it's crap you're paying for. Besides, one trick they use is to slip in something innocuous that doesn't make it into anyone's notes (that you borrow later) but which does make it on the exam. I had an Econ prof who did that on a 25% essay question on the final. It had come from a poorly-attended Friday class before break.

A note on a previous subject: people who have cable on all day vs. people who don't. Remember that flight attendant who thwarted the shoe-bomber, Richard Reeves? Well, the first video of her was taken as she got out of an aid car after what must have been hours of debriefing. She took a few steps, then she reached in her pocket, retrieved and lit a cigarette and took a good long toke. Ahhhhhh. I saw that, but you didn't. All the subsequent reruns of that sequence are cut just before she reaches into her pocket. Those are the kinds of things where you see an editor's heavy hand. "This woman is a hero. We can't show her smoking!" I see a lot of stuff like that.

I was thinking about the 70's last night and this morning. It may go down in history as the most fun decade in U.S. history, but almost no one remembers anything about it! Relatively speaking, nothing exceedingly bad happened (well, you had Watergate and the Oil Shock - seem bland now). Everyone was into that magical confluence at the apex of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll. Par-deee! I will confess to my loyal readers that I did a little of one of those and a lot of the other two. OK, so the clothes and hair are a big yuk now, but it was very serious business at the time. I didn't go with the hair, though. Glad about that since there aren't any embarrassing pictures to live down. Rick Macherat Rick M. In the day.

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