Friday, October 17, 2003

I’ve murdered Professor Kyburg a dozen times in my mind over the past few days, to the point where I said that I’d drop the class if I get a bad grade on the test. Well, I probably did get a bad grade, but I might see the class through after all. I still don’t think any of him as a teacher or anything… but I should be harder on myself as well. I should have made – make – more of an effort to learn the material than I did. I mean, I’ve looked at the formulas enough to realize they are complicated and I’ve tried to memorize various formulas and definitions by rote, when I should have been putting all my energies into understanding the concepts. What does convexity actually mean? I now fully appreciate how to find plausibility, I think, and I know why ~X is not always the same as 1-X, and… well, the difference between a necessary and sufficient condition was easy to understand in the first place. But if I had known all that memorizable stuff going in to the test - the open book test - then I could have spent more time going through the book and my notes for point-for-point parallels to the problems on the test. If I had done that, it would have been far easier.

I don’t want to get a bad grade on a class I need for a cluster, especially not as late as my junior year. If that seems inevitable I might bow to necessity – no need to slit my own throat just to prove I’m capable of it and all that, self-punishment is no substitute for doing better next time – and drop the class as I’ve said. But I also don’t want to fail, be a loser, whatever. I mean, so what if math and that general style of thinking isn’t my thing – I want to have the strength of will and well-rounded, adaptable intellectual muscle to be able to scrape together a “B” in it.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’d be perfectly okay with dropping the class just because the teacher sucks, but not because I’m not gifted at the subject.

And as a quick aside, if I do as well as I do in “my” classes (languages) with as little effort as I put into everything, then damn, I must be some kind of genius! Well… not really, since teachers take into account that stuff is subjective and after all I haven’t done so outstanding in all my language classes – I was mediocre in American Romantics. But still. I will work harder in all my classes now, most especially Uncertain Inference. And Applied Data Analysis too, now that I think of it, since my performance there hasn’t been stellar either. But Uncertain Inference especially. It’s time to challenge myself! Yay! Go me!

In a related story, I’ve uninstalled Warcraft III and Neverwinter Nights. And… you know, I think I just might destroy the disks. It won’t put out the fire of procrastination. But at least now, procrastination will have to get by with the maple wood of online games and maybe even the pine wood of message boards and Usenet instead of the gas can of immersive and absorbing games, to stretch the metaphor.

If Samuel Vimes can stay on the wagon, so can I. :)

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