Archive for May, 2012

Spring 2012 in review.

Graduate reception prep on memorial glade.

A college semester is an interesting period. It sort of defines the experience of time for most college students. What classes are you taking this semester? What classes are you taking next semester? How has your semester been? I’m so glad this semester is over! Next semester is going to be awesome. And so on and so forth. I suppose for some they would be quarters instead of semesters, but similar logic applies.

I think that I will write a review of each semester. A semester is a good chunk of time to review, not only because I can look at the classes I’ve taken, but also because it’s just a very nice time scale for personal analysis and critique. Too short of a time scale and there is not much to look at. Too long of a scale and you forget a lot of things by the end of it. So I think I will keep up a tradition of writing one of these at the close of each semester. I only have a couple left, anyways!

This semester was a great one for me in many ways. I’ve also failed in a lot of ways, and hopefully I can look back and learn from it. All the better if I can document my failure here! I won’t bore you with the details of my failure, but I will tell you the things I learned.

THE THINGS ALEX LEARNED:

1) Do not rely on people who are unreliable. This one seems obvious, but it’s a hard one for me to accept. I like to believe that people can change easily, that if I observe someone failing, the next time they might not. However I realize that people do not change so easily. There were multiple times this past semester that I relied upon someone, that I linked my success to their ability to stick to a plan, and in the end I fail because of it. I need to learn to take matters into my own hands when necessary, or to find new people to work with when necessary. I don’t blame those that I’ve worked with, I blame myself for not learning quickly enough. I can’t get mad at others for not changing if I don’t myself.

2) Do not turn assignments in late. Again this seems like a no-brainer, but this keeps biting me in the ass. I don’t have a powerful sense of urgency when working on assignments. Somehow I need to fix this.

3) Commitment often has more advantages and fewer disadvantages than it might seem. I often fear commitment, not just in relationships, but in all my decisions. I don’t like the idea of being “tied down”, the idea that in the future, I won’t have as many possible choices that I do now. This is partially an illusion. I waste so much time thinking about what I might do, or waiting to make a decision or commitment, that I end up squandering so many resources that it would have been more efficient to make a poor decision right away, suffer the consequences, and learn from it. A friend gave me this advice: “fail early, fail often”. Making a bad decision quickly is often better than taking a long time to make a good decision. Sometimes it is worth it to think long and hard about something, but often it is actually not. Indecision can be a silent killer.

4) Fear idleness more than busyness. I don’t mind being busy all of the time. I mind being idle. Being idle means I will be even more busy in the future, but with a smaller output than if I was just busy the entire time. I need to not be afraid of putting responsibility on myself; of eliminating idleness.

5) Exercise is not a waste of time. I can’t overstate this. It’s easy to say things like “but I have homework due tomorrow” or “I need to study” or “I want to hang out with my friends” as excuses to not exercise. None of them are valid. There is always an hour or two each day to exercise, and I never use it. Somehow I need to get myself to do this. It is not a waste of time.

Apart from the things I sucked at and need to learn from, a lot of very good things happened this semester. I got better grades than I was expecting. I made a lot of new and wonderful friends. I completed my Dominion set. I worked through some personal emotional issues. I have a more clearly defined goal for self-improvement than I’ve ever had before. Right now my work is cut out for me. I know what I need to do to get good grades and to make the most out of my classes. I know what I need to do and what to eat in order to stay healthy. I know how to make friends and keep them. I know how to love someone as a friend and as a girlfriend, and how to tell the difference between the two.

I’m still working on learning not to be an asshole.

On a side note, I’ve recently become obsessed with a certain show…

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