First off, my neighbor isn't that upset at me anymore. So that's good. I kinda returned the favor though; I busted my ass to get back home ASAP, and even got my surly friend to drive me home - and he was kinda bitchy about it! So don't you be guilt-tripping me, kid! >:C
Aside from that, everything's been very good, if a little too busy. I'm hoping Christmas hurries along, because I could do with a bit of a break - which is to say a break with my college studies. I've got a very light study load, but certain events over the last month or two have made things very complicated.
For one thing, I hadn't been to a class for the entire duration of a topic. The lecturer was understanding, and now I only need to do the final assignment.
However, the assignment had multiple topics, and the lecturer was supposed to pick one for us. So she totally picked the "hardest" topic of them all for me - knowing I was busy with work and other obligations. God dammit!
I'm not sure if she did it to spite me or because she felt I needed a challenge. I'm really not sure.
Either way, I have the hardest "version" of the assignment, for no extra benefit. Luckily, it's just writing. I enjoy that. It's not a hard topic, and despite the intention I don't need to research anything, I know all of this. I just need to find the time - and tomorrow I won't be having any freakin' time. Ugh.
On that note though, something recently happened in another of my classes that made me flip out - quietly, though. I didn't make a scene, no. I just simmered with roiling fury for several hours.
We had a practical exam in a class (the best kind of exam!). It was pretty basic stuff, and it involved performing a few basic system administration tasks on a Windows 7 virtual machine.
I booted my VM up and got started. I noticed it didn't have internet, and correctly assumed it was the proxy settings. So I set those, got a new IP lease and just moved on. Maybe 20 seconds of my time.
Part of me can't help but feel this is a sort of test in itself.
About an hour later into the activity, one of the teenagers next to me freaks out. "Oh shit, I can't get internet! What's goin' on?! Can you help me?"
I blink. Hang on, didn't these kids just get here from a class on networking?
Within a few seconds, about 5 others go "Oh noes, me too!" ... and they turn straight to me. Like puppy-dogs expecting dinner.
Are you serious!?!?
One of them, a really nice kid who has Asperger's, proudly declared: "I know what the problem is! It can't find the DNS!" Which was what Windows was outright telling him. I mean, I could read it on his screen...
I wanted to say: "Well, since you know what the problem is, you don't need my help, do you?"
I'm not a dickhead, however.
Luckily there's actually no rule against someone helping you in some practical tests here, those are considered more learning experiences than proper tests - however, if you can't pass a written exam for this course by yourself, you're fucked, so you still need to know the subject material. Which brings me to my next point...
So I tell them: "It's the proxy settings, that's all. Just set them, then reset the adapter if you're impatient."
Blank stare. From all six of them. What the hell?!
The lecturer actually saw me get up and set everything for these guys. As I said, this is the easiest shit on the planet. Some of the savvier students looked at me with an expression that said, "Geez man, just let 'em suffer."
(Note: this was not an age-related issue, not exactly. Many of the teenagers in my class are more knowledgeable than me on this topic.)
However, I have no problem with helping people. This stuff is way too easy, I should probably be in the next course. No, what I have a problem with is that there are clearly students struggling in this class and they're not getting any real help. They're just being allowed to fail, fail and fail until the end of the course.
For motivated students, tertiary education is fantastic. For youngsters still reeling from 12 years of shitty schooling, it's more of the same, even if it isn't. The lecturers operate on a different level once you enter college/university. If you fail, that's no skin off their nose. It's all about you and your motivation, and if you're not ready for it, you're just going to piss your money away.
Case in point, the guy with Asperger's. I had to confront a lecturer after class about how she was dealing with him, and I discovered his parents hadn't even alerted the institution about this. The fuck? Now I have to do it, you irresponsible fucks. I have to go up to the staff and inform them your son has special needs and ask them to change their approach. Not that I can achieve anything official, because I am not his god-damn parent!
I don't even know if he should be there. Poor guy. :S
Seeing these people, mostly youngsters who really want to be elsewhere, scrape by or fail horribly is getting annoying. Because I know they want this, they can do this, and they WILL do this if they do it when they're mentally prepared.
If there's one piece of advice I think people need to tell their kids, it's this: you don't need to go straight into university, college or any sort of further education. In fact, you probably shouldn't. You need time to recover and understand why you're there - and if you're in uni/college and doing poorly, that's usually a sign that you DEFINITELY need to give yourself time to break away from the attitudes of high school. Get a job and earn some money, you'll love it."
I've lost track of the number of people I've met in tertiary education who were only there because, deep down, they were scared to enter the workforce. Scared to leave what they know behind.
But they continue with the attitudes and habits of high school. (Technical) College/university is NOT the same thing, and going directly there from "Forced Education" is a big, big mistake; unless you're able to rally yourself in time. The first year of university is going to shock the living daylights out of you if you approach it as an unprepared/motivated high school student. It's the Culling Time, and universities know it.
Some of the younger folk in my course are very intelligent. Very interested in the topic. But they still treat classwork as if someone's forcing them to do pointless busywork - even if, actually, they'd learn a lot from doing what they're told. They show up to classes but don't do the work; I don't show up to classes, but sign in remotely and do the work anyway.
Tertiary education is not high school's natural continuation. It's a different beast.
And if you aren't there because you want that qualification and/or the training and education it provides, you're there for the wrong reason. I know all about this, I've been there. I know many "students" fucking around in universities, changing degrees like changing hats, motivated less than drunken sloths... hey, I think I just described myself...
Seriously though, this is aimed at the few university students I know will read this who are struggling: you may just need to break away from schooling for a little while and regroup, or restructure your courses to be less intense if you can.
Americans especially, I know it costs you an arm and a leg to be in college, but you'll waste a lot more money by failing your ass off because you went into tertiary study when you weren't ready. Just consider whether or not the best move for you is to delay further study for a little while, and try to break out of the schooling rut. If not, kick your own ass into readiness.
Because nobody is going to do it for you, not even your teachers.
If you'll excuse me, I need to do this assignment... and also write furry porn. Did I mention I'm averaging 4 hours sleep a night? Yeah. I am. Hi.