Tag: Lecture

Burnout

I’m sure a small number of you out there read the title of this blog post and got very excited that I was finally going to talk about the hit series of demolition racing games that have (apparently) been released on just about every console since 2001.

Well… I’m not going to. Right now anyway.

I do actually have some fond memories of playing Burnout games on the PlayStation 2 with my dad that I could probably talk about some day.

That’s just not my plan for right now.

No, instead I just wanted to briefly touch on a more depressing, real-world form of burnout: School burnout.

The end of this semester is kind of killing me with stress right now, guys.

We only have two weeks of regular classes left at this point, and after that there are three days worth of final exams I’ll have to take. So we’re hitting the last stretch of fall 2018.

That means all of my teachers are stepping up their games with a number of incoming deadlines and attempts to squeeze in as much information as possible in a short amount of time.

Obviously this post is just here for me to vent on everything I have going on that’s contributing to stress, so let’s lay it all out.

  • In the next week or so I have two major papers due, as well as a couple of smaller two-page papers to write.
    • One of those major papers is almost done, but the other one I haven’t really started on… Yikes.
  • At least one more quiz tomorrow in my Sensation and Perception class, though probably another one coming next week if I’m being honest.
    • By the way, last week the professor of that class introduced at least six more lecture PowerPoints online to fit into only four more lecture sessions AND let us know his cumulative final will not be curved — nice guy.
  • Whatever other homework I need to get done that will be assigned in the next two weeks.
  • Three exam finals, one of which being a cumulative test as I mentioned, as well as a fourth exam that’s a case study analysis for my Mass Media Ethics class.

But let’s not forget about all the other responsibilities I have lining up!

  • I’ve scheduled out at least three interviews for Gladeo in the near future to focus work on.
  • A potential sit-down with a family friend about a new potential job opportunity that I could take on. Not yet scheduled.
  • My friend Tiana wants me to help her edit another one of her papers, which I’m more than happy to do but don’t know if I have the cycles free — and the thought of turning her down due to time management almost stresses me out as much as adding helping her onto my workload…
  • Wanting to fit in continual trips to the gym into my schedule so I don’t fall off that commitment, especially after moving boxes the other day made me feel less confident about the progress I’ve made thus far.
  • Trying to keep up writing a blog post a day.
    • Yeah this blog does stress me out, in a similar way to going to the gym. It has become an obligation for me that I feel terrible about skipping, especially after things like my dad complimenting my commitment to writing during lunch with a family friend yesterday.
  • Just generally thinking about girls and wanting a relationship but feeling like I don’t know if I have the time to commit to one (more of a deeply personal grievance).
  • Plus a couple new video games I own thanks to Hanukkah that I have not gotten the chance to start yet.
    • Probably the lowest rung on my priority list, but it’s there.

Like I said, I actually feel really bad when I have to miss writing something. Yesterday I was simply too buried in a small mountain of homework to get around to writing anything, unfortunately.

So I wanted to write something up today for the ten of you or so who read this stuff regularly. Even if it just amounted to me barfing up all the obligations that are stressing me out for the next couple weeks.

If I’m going anywhere with this post besides making it a ventilation system for my stress, I suppose the through line is my asking for forgiveness ahead of time if I don’t get to writing as often over the next couple weeks.

… Though knowing the way my brain works, I’ll wind up writing a lot here anyway in place of taking extra time to study. Because it’s a decent stress reliever and my priorities are weird.

Also because I love you all. Especially when you stick with me for things like this.

Networking Matters

It’s the cliché you’ve heard a million times when it comes to breaking into whatever industry you want to break into.

I know I’ve heard it more than my share of times, especially considering the extra emphasis journalism places on not just networking for jobs, but networking for sources.

Usually I’ll just roll my eyes when I hear someone say it. Because everyone says it, despite the fact that it’s intrinsically simple and somewhat obvious advice.

But that advice played a big hand in two things that were relevant for my work today.

So I figured I should throw my hat in the ring just this once and remind you all that if you aren’t networking often, you should be.

The first case comes out of an earlier adventure. Remember when I went with my friend Mimi to see the Blizzard employees speak at the Fullerton Public Library?

While I was there I passed my business card along to one of the presenters, who said he would get it to someone in the HR Department.

Lo and behold, just a few days later a Blizzard Entertainment/Activision employee had signed up to be a Gladeo interviewee. Not the same person, granted, but still. I was highly appreciative.

Thus in the not-so-distant future I will be doing a profile of someone at Blizzard. Which is pretty awesome not just in terms of someone being interested in the work I’ve been doing, but also because I love video games. So who knows, if that goes well perhaps I’ll get access to more Blizzard employees and I can say I’ve gotten a wider breadth of understanding about the company under my belt.

So yeah. Going to random events just to network was a successful strategy for me.

My other more recent example is a bit esoteric, so stay with me.

When I was in elementary school, I spent a lot of time playing chess. Which sounds like I’m just inviting my own eminent torment and bullying I know, but it’s true. I was part of the chess club and everything.

Wasn’t too bad at it either, considering I won a number of trophies in little competitions. #HumbleBrag

One of the reasons I was so good at it was because I learned from a guy named Chessmaster Steve. He was, needless to say, the best.

Though I haven’t really thought about or heard from him since all those years ago.

Until today, if the obvious build-up to a point wasn’t obvious enough.

See when Chessmaster Steve was not teaching elementary school kids chess (even if I had assumed at the time that was all he did), he was apparently a trained physical therapist. One who now works for the Office of Veterans Affairs.

As it turns out, one of the Gladeo League reporters has been having trouble finding a physical therapist to talk to for a profile they’re working on.

So, long story short, my mom has kept in touch with Steve for all these years, and I was able to make contact with him so we can try to have the reporter set-up an interview.

Apparently I was playing the long-game when it comes to networking as well, because that’s a connection that I never in a thousand years would have imagined might become relevant.

That’s essentially my elevator pitch. Like I said I’m usually the person who rolls his eyes when someone says it, but networking and making solid connections is super important.

So make sure you get on doing that ASAP for whatever job it is you might be after.

Lecture over. Hope you all took notes because this is 100 percent going to be on the exam.

Teaching Styles

As most students will tell you, over the years you begin to notice patterns in how some teachers decide to present their material.

Obviously some will be more lax while others are more strict just in general, but there are deeper distinctions when it comes to specific aspects of teaching that everyone approaches differently — especially at the college level.

For instance, one professor may only do the bare minimum of testing requirements to supplement one’s grades. Only a midterm exam, a final exam and a written paper (which is required for just about all undergrad classes in the CSU system at least).

Meanwhile, another teacher will inflate grades by doing something like scheduling a smaller quiz on material every week.

It all depends, and while there’s likely some answer to be drawn from somewhere on which method is more effective in hammering in material, it’s kind of just a subjective what one person prefers sort of deal.

All of that said, I wanted to write this quick blog post today before diving into this 13-page piece I have to read to talk about a decision in how to teach that I’ve discovered I really don’t enjoy.

Not involving that class with the 13-page reading assignment though. I’m probably going to keep these more annoyance-centric school blog posts anonymous.

Just in case.

This semester, one of my professors encouraged us to print out each chapter’s PowerPoint so we can follow along with it during lectures.

I’m not personally a fan of doing that sort of thing. I find that I retain more information when I’m writing everything down myself (something that I believe does have some precedent in research studies), so if I just have a print-out describing everything in the lecture it seems less effective.

So I decided to skip out on printing the PowerPoint and instead relied on good-old-fashioned note taking as usual.

Except apparently that suggestion to print out PowerPoints for each chapter was more of an expectation that we would be doing it.

Because this professor apparently zooms through his lecture so fast that I now have to go back and copy everything down off of the PowerPoint online so I can fill all the gaps I left before our quiz on Thursday.

Don’t get me wrong, especially in an upper level major course, I understand the desire to let students be somewhat self-reliant and go quickly through a lecture so that there’s time at the end to do other things.

We did get out of class at least a half an hour early as a result of going through things that fast. I won’t necessarily complain about that.

But to be completely honest, I would have preferred to get out of that class on-time if it meant going through the lecture at a slower pace so everyone could understand it better, regardless of how they take notes.

Yet in the end I suppose that’s a personal preference, so I’ll just leave it at that. It’s simply a form of teaching that I don’t really enjoy, but that doesn’t mean I won’t figure out how to adapt.

I’ll probably just print the PowerPoints from here on out.

To end this off, I figure I’ll throw this general topic out to you all in the audience. Have you encountered any teaching practices that you don’t enjoy? Or maybe the opposite, any teaching practices you really enjoy?

Let me know about them in the comments! I’m interested to hear about some preferences today

Fall 2018 First Impressions

I may have another day of travel to Fullerton tomorrow, but as of 6:00 p.m. today I have officially experienced all my new classes for the semester. So, as promised, I’m going to take my blog post today to run through my first impressions of all five courses I’m taking.

You know, outside of the general little factoids that are just a part of every new semester.

Like parking being garbage.

Or the fact that I’ve probably spent more on gas this week than I did over the entirety of the summer.

Some of my opinions here may seem more aggressive or more mundane than I’ll actually feel by the end of the semester, but that’s just the nature of first impressions isn’t it? Being probably a little too far on either end of the spectrum?

Frankly I’m not even sure why I’m giving this long disclaimer. It’s a personal opinion post on my personal blog that may or may not be played more for comedic value if anything else.

That’s basically what America was founded to facilitate.

So yeah let’s get into it.


Mass Media Ethics

I decided to go in order of major classes, minor classes then honors classes for this small listing even though it isn’t the order I actually have those classes throughout the week.

Thus we begin with my first Comm class, Mass Media Ethics. It’s a bit strange starting with my two classes that are one-day-a-week, three-hour blocks… But that’s just how things wound up this semester.

Despite those seemingly long, arduous class periods, I think these two Comm courses are probably toward the top of my positive first impressions. Mass Media Ethics specifically started off in a good place because it was my first class this semester where I had a friend.

Tim, who was a social media assistant on the Titan last semester, is in that class with me on Tuesday. Funny enough Chelsea, the other social media assistant last semester, is in my Visual Comm class on Wednesdays.

But that’s a topic for later obviously.

Mass Media Ethics was also interesting in that it presented me with the first time a professor knew who I was before I knew who she was. The professor was an ex-Daily Titan advisor, so we already had some common ground, but it also turned out that she knew my name from an SPJ newsletter announcing my having won that scholarship this summer.

I don’t exactly have too much to say about the class itself since we mostly utilized our time to get to know one another and read out the syllabus. But just based on that alone, the air of support and camaraderie amongst those of us in that small room was already pretty great.

Plus, the one actual ethics thing we started to look at was a debate about publishing the name/picture of a mass shooter from around the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting a few years back. So there’s definitely some interesting stuff coming down that pipeline.

Yet. The most interesting thing about that class, hands down, is the fact that it isn’t in the basement.

I know that sounds like a joke, but literally every class I’ve had in the Comm building before now has been in the basement and this one wasn’t. So it’s already an exciting change of pace.


Visual Communication

I’m fresh off of this class, given the fact that it’s my 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Wednesday night course. Honestly the only thing separating me from writing it on-the-spot is my hour-long drive home.

Even if I had a little more time before writing this, I’d still say the first impression for this class was strong.

My professor here seems far more energetic than just about anyone else I have even in the face of a 230-person lecture.

Oh and I mean 230 people. Because he took attendance for every single one of them today. All 14 pages of his roll sheet.

Granted from here on out he said he’ll just be utilizing a sheet we’ll pass around, but it was still interesting watching that whole experience happen.

Especially since we also talked about the syllabus right after that, so probably close to the whole first hour of the three-hour course was just introductory stuff!

But like I said, he was so energetic and fun about it that that wasn’t even a problem.

Then our first broach into the subject included, amongst other things, discussions about Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code, Ridley Scott and Blade Runner, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle and other various and sundry movie-and-pop-culture-stuffs.

So, as I said in a tweet during the break we took:

Well said, me.

Also every exam is online only. ‘Nuff said.


Learning and Memory

Alright, these next two classes are my Psychology minor block. Learning and Memory specifically is actually the first class I took this semester since it’s my earliest Monday/Wednesday session.

It’s also probably the class I’m most divided on now that I’ve had my first two days of it.

On the one hand, my professor seems like a nice, old man. Which isn’t just a derogatory ‘lol he’s old,’ I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised to find out he’s one of the oldest members of the department.

It’s great in my opinion. More experience = more knowledge to impart and all that jazz.

Though an unfortunate side-effect of it is the fact that his voice doesn’t travel very far. So it’s a little harder to fully gather everything he’s saying in what is already a quickly escalating lecture course.

Also there are certain ways the class is constructed that baffles me and that I will openly complain about regardless of who may see this.

Like every other class, we’re required to write a paper sometime during the semester. For this class, it’s going to be a paper analyzing the similarities between what studies have found regarding operant conditioning practices in animals and in humans.

Pretty interesting stuff, in my opinion.

The problem is… According to our syllabus and his discussion of the paper…

We’re not allowed to quote or paraphrase anything in the paper we right.

So.

We have an analytical research-driven report that requires us to discuss specific experiments that have been conducted in the past using very specific detail to demonstrate various given vocabulary words.

But we can’t actually directly reference any of the experiments we’re utilizing within the text of the essay.

This and a few other things scattered throughout the course bewilder me in how nonsensical they seem to be. I suppose I’ll just have to see how it all turns out.


Sensation and Perception

Out of all the classes I’m taking, I probably have the least to say about this one. Which is ironic considering it’s the subject I’d argue I’m the most excited to learn about coming in.

Sensation and perception was actually a large part of the reason I fell in love with Psychology back in high school.

Just based off our first class session, it promises to deliver on the cool brain stuff. We’ve already discussed why everything tastes like chicken, for example!

The professor is also pretty chill and prides himself on a sarcastic sense of humor. Yet that sarcasm isn’t so pervasive that it overshadows moments when he comes to the front of the room to tell a story, or when he asked me to stay back after hearing I’m just a Psych minor to make sure I felt okay with the style of essay we’d be writing coming in.

That’s all pretty sweet.

I just don’t have a lot to talk about beyond that really. Seems like it’ll be a good time.

Actually, if I did have one more thing to discuss — what is it with upper-division Psychology classes this semester asking me to present evidence that I’ve passed the prerequisites?

Both my Learning/Memory and Sensation/Perception teacher made out first assignments presenting some kind of proof that we meet the requirements to be there. To which I say… Wouldn’t the computerized system prevent us from taking this upper-division class if we didn’t pass its prerequisites?

I would think so.

But oh well, it’s easy points for me in the end.


Evolution and Creation

My only honors class this semester, given the fact that I didn’t finish with my Honors Project proposal last semester, is Evolution and Creation. An examination of the two differing world views on how we got here.

It’s actually a course that I’ve been looking to take for years now. It always sounded like a fascinating subject to examine, but my schedule has never allowed for it. That’s just life when you have four nights of newspaper production a week.

But this semester I don’t have four nights of newspaper production a week, so I actually had the opportunity to take this class I’ve always wanted to take!

As an added bonus, it’s a class being taught by a professor who I’ve had a couple of classes with in the past, so I already know I like the guy.

The only thing I can really think to complain about in that perfect storm… Are the chairs in the room.

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For some reason. This tiny ass room in the bottom of the education building. Is the one place I’ve ever seen these bizarre alien chairs.

Not only are they on wheels and roll around like bumper cars, but the chair piece and the desk piece both independently swivel above the black piece.

It’s honestly like sitting in a chair meant to distract anyone with a semblance of ADHD.

No idea how anyone can learn in them, but I suppose I’ll have to figure it out.

On the bright side, they’re easy to move around the room. So we’ll be able to gather in circles for all of the discussion-oriented portions of the semester.


That just about wraps up my first impressions of my classes this semester. For the most part I have a lot more positives than negatives, and the extra time I’ve built for myself really opens up more work opportunities and the option to keep up with my time in the gym.

So if anything, I think this might just be one of my better, healthier semesters overall.

That said, how are all of you faring if you’ve just started school again for the year/semester? Let me know all about it in the comments down below!

March 14, 2017 Article Published

Happy pi day everybody!  As somebody who had one of the punniest math teachers ever for Precalculus/Trigonometry in high school (thank you for the silly turtle drawing that will never let me forget what a sinusoidal line is, Mr. Baumgartner), I feel like this is the kind of fake holiday I can get behind.

However, that’s not why we’ve gathered here today.  No, we’ve gathered here because I’m ready to self-promote myself once again, this time for an article covering an event I attended yesterday.

To be completely honest, if there’s any article I’ve written that deserves a little bit of praise, it would be this one.  I don’t usually like to toot my own horn or anything, but covering this as a whole was one of the hardest journalism experiences I’ve had in the six years I’ve worked as a student journalist.  Not only was the subject matter fairly heavy, being a lecture about human trafficking, but also…

The entire lecture was given in Spanish.

Yeah, as someone who lives in Southern California you’d think I would be at least semi-knowledgable in the romance language nearest and dearest to us… But no, I’m the kid that decided to take three years of Chinese in high school instead.

I don’t regret that decision by any means, even if I still wouldn’t call myself fluent in the language, but it did make things substantially more difficult for me in this particular instance.

Now, just how did I get myself into a situation where I was covering an event in a language I don’t know?  It’s a long story, but to put it simply a poster for the event landed in my lap at just the right moment when we needed extra content for a floundering page, and none of the promotional materials suggested it was going to be given in an entirely Spanish-speaking course.

Luckily I have some amazing friends in the newsroom that were able to help me out.  In particular, our copy editor Aaron was able to swoop in and not only understand what was going on, but also help me break through a sudden bout of paralysis I had when doing interviews for the story after the lecture ended.

Seriously, without him I would’ve been screwed, and I couldn’t be happier that he was around to help and not over in New York at a conference getting buried in snow.

Plus he helped me pull the story together pretty late, and it looks way better with his contributions than it would have otherwise.

If you want to check out the article in its entirety, you can see it here.  You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!