not a quick study…

I’m taking a break from battering my brain with a poem. Yes, you heard that right. A poem. I have my first major essay due for my English Literature (20th to 21st Century) class, next week, and I think I might just be starting to get somewhere with it. The key word being “might”.

Just for the record, my ability to write fairly quickly does not really equip me with the ability to dissect literature and poetry, looking for themes and metaphors. In fact, I don’t generally care why the author wrote it, or why he used that particular descriptive device. I’m just looking for a satisfying story, and then I’m good to go. But this time, I have a poem to dissect, in order to UNDERSTAND it, and be able to write not just a thesis statement, but an entire paper. Blech.

If you’ve been waiting for me to update you on school, there are days when I feel like writing about something, but by the time I get home, I’ve forgotten what it was, or lost interest. But overall, the semester’s going well, thus far.

Despite plenty of studying, I’m not feeling to great about my Chemistry test, which I took today. The quizzes have been group efforts, where we would get an idea of what a test would be like, and then we could study from the quiz, afterwards. Which I did plenty of. But overall, the class doesn’t seem to be too hard, and though it’s full of “green” mumbo-jumbo, I’m usually ok with the science-related stuff. It’s some of the math that throws me the most, but I come home and go over it again, after I get my scores back. If I get a lower score on this one, it’ll be the first I’ve had in the class.

The lab is another story, but at least I’m not alone in my confusion, when we’re asked to brainstorm how to do something. Until this week, it was writing the lab summaries that was driving me up the wall. Was I doing them right? Was I flunking them, and not going to know it for another month? We finally got them back, and I’m doing fine with those, too. So, now I just have to start sweating over putting together a portfolio of what I’ve “learned” in that lab.  : )  But that’s for after my English essay is finished.

Taking German is rather fun, and I’m doing well on all the schoolwork. So much so that I get rather bent out of shape when I do something silly on a quiz, and lose a few points. Influences from my life (my dad is Pennsylvania Dutch), familiarity with German composers and music, and having family and friends visit/live in Germany… these all make me FEEL like I understand the sounds and pronunciations better than some. I’m not perfect, of course, but it is VERY hard to not squirm when a classmate pronounces something really badly.  ; )

My history courses are coming along, both Western Civ and Modern Military History. It didn’t take me very long to figure out what my professors’ biases are, and the Western Civ class can be rather hard. He has a very hard view of patriotic Americans, especially Southerners. But I’m still learning a lot, and using that knowledge to supplement some of what I already know about world history. When I can’t stand it anymore, I continue reading my personal copy of A Patriot’s History of the United States, by Larry Schweikart and Michael Patrick Allen. Now THAT is good reading.

My Military History class can be quite fun, though I admit to not knowing as much about battle tactics as some of the guys in my class. But the Civil War chapter was torture to sit through, as he gave some pretty ridiculous reasons for why the Southerners went to war, and why they continued to fight until the bitter end. I won’t go into it, because it gets my brother and I both rather upset.

But he’s a good teacher, and for the most part, I enjoy that class. I try hard to remember enough about the battles we discuss, in order to give good answers on our essay tests. Not always the easiest to do, even for a writer and a history lover, like I am.

Yesterday, we had an interesting break, though. My ADVISOR, who I only knew by name before this, was subbing in for my Military History Prof, who was out of town. So, he covered the section on WWI and the campaigns for Flanders, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, etc… and it was fascinating to listen to. He’s also a Marine, whose area of expertise is the history of the South. Yes, there are classes on that, and I can’t wait to take them. I was rather worried that someone like my Western Civ prof would be teaching those. But my very own advisor is a Marine (sounds like a Southern boy, too) who teaches it. That’s all I need to know.

And now that I’ve give you an idea of what I’m up to, I’ve got to get back to either reading up on the first day of the Somme campaign, or back to my English essay. Don’t you wish you were me? Yeah, I know. Savor the fact that you don’t have any papers to write, today. It should brighten up your day, considerably.  : )

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