Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Case of Academically Induced Schizophrenia

Part I

So a week ago on a Monday morning I woke up to my alarm after about 8.5 hours of sleep. Should be more than enough. I got out of bed, put on my running clothes, and then promptly crawled back into bed. I woke up again nearly two hours later. Then I looked at the clock and realized that I had exactly one hour and fifteen minutes before I was supposed to be teaching a class at Westminster College. I knew I wouldn't be able to fit my entire morning routine into that amount of time. So I went for an hour run, made my lunch, and made it to class. Great morning. You see, one of the benefits of winter running is that you just don't sweat much. It's probably the first time I've taught all semester without wet hair. Sometimes skipping a shower is like a little secret that you carry around with yourself and laugh at all day long. Except that now I've told everyone.

Part II

As I was sitting in class today listening to the economics professor talk I realized a nasty trick of academia. Allow me to demonstrate:
When I say "literature" what comes to mind? Shakespeare and Dickens? Even Tolkien and Harry Potter? That is not what professors mean. "Literature" refers to that massive body of knowledge/research about a given subject (such as whether or not race and crime are related). The trick is that academic "literature" is not interesting at all. It is a series of articles and books filled with numbers, statistical analysis, and citations of the previous "literature". I have a big exam in March to test my comprehensive knowledge of this so-called literature regarding population and health. But for some reason when I look at the 21 page reading list I can't seem to find Homer or Dante anywhere!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The products of a wasted hour online...

I've never blogged before. In fact, I've made fun of it. Same this with text messaging. Except that lately I've found myself reading what my friends and family write. I see an insight into a moment of their day that I wouldn't have caught given the space and time differences between us. And sometimes they are witty or profound. I don't claim to be either, but since I've wasted enough precious homework time reading other people's blogs I have concluded "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Do I have anything to say? In the past hour since class got out I have written e-mails from all three of my e-mail accounts (one for me, one for the U, and one for Westminster). I could spend my life checking those three accounts. I've priced plane tickets to several major US cities, just in case I decide I can't stay in Utah for Thanksgiving after all. I've looked at recipes. Wrote a few notes on an environmental justice paper. And last, but not least, signed up for my very own blog. At least I got something done. The internet is amazing! Next time you're bored google the phrase "What should I do with my life?" It is like one of those magic 8 balls, the answer is unique and useless every single time. I love it. And now ladies and gentleman, my books are calling to me so you'll have to excuse me.