if you make bomb ass pancakes, you are an option for my life partner. i wish i were joking, but i'm just not.

 

Musings for a New Year.

On Wednesday, I leave Baltimore. Of course, I have left Baltimore before. School, vacation, and other trips have drawn me away many times. I’ve never left Baltimore like this, though. I’ve never left it not knowing if it’s going to be my last time living here permanently, not knowing if I will have anything to come back to when I return. I feel like a bit of my soul lives here, and I’m thankful for that because so many people I know don’t feel any genuine attachment to their hometown. At the same time, I wish I just didn’t give a shit because that would make some of the decisions I know are coming up in the next year a little bit easier. Chances are I will have to move to California or New York for at least the early years of my professional life, and assuming I am successful at my career that move might be permanent. And considering I have about a 95% chance of finding employment directly following graduation, the long lazy summer days in Baltimore that I love so much will probably be few and far between. Finding that perfect bench on Federal Hill where the breeze and shade are just right and sitting for hours staring out at the harbor, window shopping at the funny stores in Hampden, driving around the Reservoir and smoking with my windows down and music playing much louder than necessary. Not to mention things like Artscape and outdoor movies at Hopkins and general goings-on with my high school friends (wallflower though I am). It breaks my heart to know that these things might not be a part of my life, not only this summer, but ever again. This is what they can’t teach you in college, or anywhere really. How to literally tear your roots from the ground and plant them somewhere else. How do you do that without feeling uprooted forever? How will I ever find a place that I hold as close to me as I do Baltimore?

In any case, I am thrilled about how my 2013 is looking. I get to spend 5 months living in the UK and basically traveling around Europe as I please. Then I’ll have my two-ish weeks back home before jetting off to San Francisco for an incredible internship opportunity where I will get a taste of what my career could look like, apartment living and paycheck included. Then I get to start my senior year of college (wtf… already?) which will hopefully blow the other 2.5 years out of the water. I am so excited for all the growing I know I’ll do and all the people I’ll get to meet and places I’ll get to go. It’s very likely that 2013 will be one of the best years of my life, and I will take full advantage of it.

Baltimore, I love you. And life, I love you too. Change is scary, but change makes life spicy. I’m ready to go.

I don’t even care right now

Got a motherfucking 97% on my final exam for computer science. Chew on that Becky Wells. I did only get a 40% on the last lab and a 58% on the second to last lab, so that’s gonna screw things up for me a little. But I still have a 85% lab average, a 90% homework average, and now a 97% exam average. This has turned out far better than I expected. Sucks that I did fairly poorly on all my other exams. Ah well, I’ll settle for one victory this semester.

I am going to hate Professor Wells forever for making me hate computer science.

I seriously have negative passion for my major right now and it’s really frustrating me. I have this lab due tomorrow that I literally haven’t started. I have no idea how to approach it and I’m tired of staring at it. If anything, I’ve gotten worse at CS this semester. I certainly don’t enjoy it anymore. I used to enjoy it. A lot. I used to spend hours perfecting my labs. Now I put them off until the last minute, literally dreading the time I have to dedicate to my code to even get it mildly working. I hate Dickinson for not investing in my education, and I hate that everyone who told me they didn’t think I was really passionate about computer science and that I probably shouldn’t have gone into it might have been right.

In other news, if anyone wants to give me some guidance about implementing a MultiMap from scratch, without using any pre-existing Java classes, I would be grateful.

College is a waste of time.

This 19 year old boy dropped out of college during his first year claiming it was not a place of collaboration, a place of self motivation, or a place of true learning. He is now leading an entire movement called “UnCollege” which is essentially meant to deter youth from higher education.

First, let me just say: liberal arts.

Now, I know that liberal arts institutions such as my own are not in reach for everyone because of cost… I’m lucky enough to have a great financial aid package that allows me to attend for about the same cost as it would be for me to attend University of Maryland. However, many states HAVE public liberal arts colleges. St. Mary’s College of Maryland is one. The College of Charleston in South Carolina is one. These colleges are better options for students not wanting a factory approach to education, students wanting to truly learn.

Second, this kid claims to be self-motivated, an entrepreneur. If that’s the case, then he could have gotten MUCH more out of college. Any decent college will have a library with thousands of resources at its students’ disposal. You can learn whatever you want whenever you want. Sounds like a better deal than the generally questionable resources you can find on the internet.

And honestly, the problem is less with colleges than it is with how our entire society views education. It is a means to an end rather than an enriching part of life. To know things and understand the way things actually work through in-depth study is probably one of the more fulfilling things I’ve felt in my life, and I’ve only been in college for a year. Our country instead views education as just something you have to do to get a high paying job. While this is the case, education is so much more than that, so much more exciting. Yet from the time kids start school in kindergarten, education is a chore. Going to school is a nuisance. The love of learning is lost on the United States.

I’m not suggesting that college is for everyone. Trade school might be the best option for some, apprenticeship for others, and entrepreneurial business ventures might suit a small fraction. Ultimately, however, I believe that with the right outlook, a college education at a college that allows you to study in many areas can benefit anyone.

asianssleepinginthelibrary.tumblr.com

This is what I do instead of studying or researching or doing any type of productive activity.

I just randomly came across a particularly relevant newspaper column I wrote during high school.

    I glanced over at the clock. It stared back at me, its neon orange digits reading “11:11 p.m.”
    11:11. It is the magical minute, the only time when a number is repeated four times in the 12-hour time clock.
    For those of you who are unfamiliar with the phenomenon of 11:11, it is the wishing well of times. The clock strikes 11:11, and you are free to make a wish about anything you so desire, whether it be to find the love of your life or to ace tomorrow’s English test.
    At this particular moment, I wished that my calculus homework would magically vaporize. I stared fiercely down at my paper, but no matter how hard I wished, my homework simply refused to disappear.
    So, in the spirit of anti-procrastination, I trucked on, working through formulas and concepts that I didn’t understand in the slightest.
    It is then that I began to think about the concept of time.
    Despite the fact that the length of a minute or a second never changes, time is a fickle thing. When we are having fun, time zooms by swiftly, leaving us with only fleeting memories. When we are doing our calculus homework, apparently, time strolls along, completely disregarding the fact that we have other things we would rather be doing.
    Haven’t we all had moments where everything is just so perfect that we wish time would just stop? Or uncomfortable moments where the clock seemingly does stop, and we long for time to speed up?
    Time is something that is so normal to us, that we sometimes forget it is even there. We waste time as if we have access to some infinite bank of minutes, as if time never runs out.
    For example, how often in your life have you said something like “I wish I were older,” or “I wish I could just go to college already,”? I know I’ve said some variation of this sentiment hundreds of times.
    But by the time we reach “older,” we always regret having frittered away the precious moments of childhood. Our list of responsibilities grows with each passing hour, and the carefree days of our youth become increasingly appealing.
    Childhood is filled with exploration, curiosity, and enthusiastic discovery. We could spend hours talking about something good that happened, and dismiss the bad things in a matter of seconds. However as we get older, the amount of time we concentrate on good and bad seems to reverse.
    I’d estimate, for example, that a typical student spends an average of an hour per day complaining about their classes, teachers, and homework. That’s an outstanding 1,064 hours over the course of high school, and that’s just for complaints about school.
    People don’t realize how much time they waste on negativity. 1,064 hours is approximately 7.1% of your waking high school hours. Wouldn’t you rather spend this 7.1% doing something positive with the people you love?
    My point here is that these minutes that we waste on things that don’t matter or things that upset us are irreplaceable. We can’t make up for lost time.
    As I sat there doing my calculus homework, I watched with dismay as the clock changed from 11:11 to 11:12. That particular 11:11 was gone forever, and I had wasted it with my inane wishes to zap my calculus homework into oblivion.
    Time is meant to be appreciated, because sooner or later, all of our time runs out. So whether it’s 11:11 or 4:36, don’t let it pass without making it count.

So I guess as much as I wish this year were over and it would be summer, I shouldn’t take my time in college for granted. It’s probably the last free years of my life.

In Comp Sci…

We’re learning how to make Graphical User Interfaces, which is basically how to make buttons and windows and things of that nature. Like when a dialog box pops up in your window and you click it and it does things. I’m really nerdily excited to go to class tomorrow. We started on Friday and it totally re-excited me about computer science. You don’t have to tell me I’m awesome, because I’m already aware.