3 March 2005 - Thursday

Squirming in paradise

I am developing a love-hate relationship with my schoolwork this semester. On the one hand, I have a light workload and adore all of my classes but one--and that exception is a very easy course. On the other hand, because I am actually getting to dig more deeply into the humanities than ever before, I resent the workload I do have; sometimes, my schoolwork takes me away from my learning. Even so, I find that my assignments--even the most annoying ones--are consistently leaving me satisfied with my learning afterwards.

The previous paragraph may not make any sense. I shall try to explain my meaning with a specific example.

I made a presentation in International Business on Tuesday. I presented a case study on the rapid depreciation of the baht (Thai currency) against the US dollar in 1997. The case study was a lot of work; it even showed up in my dreams. By the time I stood up in class, however, I knew I had mastered the topic. I was euphoric by the end of the class period. My grade on the case was 105.

I recount all of this because International Business is exactly the sort of course that I should and sometimes do love. Most of the time, however, I feel that I am not learning much. Ironically, this is partly due to the course's heavy reliance on student presentations; I am not an auditory learner at all, so the only presentations that do me any good are the ones I make myself. This is frustrating. Why must the methodology be so inconvenient and my learning so spotty?

I have extremely easy weeks, and I have extremely busy weeks. So far, I have not discovered a practical way to even out the workload; a substantial portion of it cannot be predicted more than a few days in advance. This week was busy. Last week was light.

The reader should not imagine that I am having a difficult semester. I am taking only 16 hours; 9 of those hours are from literature courses, all of which are excellent. At the same time, I am working in three sections of English Review as a tutor, and I occasionally get work from the history/political science department as well. My c.v. is expanding very nicely. I've even made some new friends along the way.

Right now, I am sitting all alone in my apartment, listening to Arvo Pärt's Passio. I am still warm with the afterglow of this afternoon's succesful presentation on D. H. Lawrence in Modern & Contemporary Poetry. Do I really need anything else? What cause have I to be dissatisfied, with myself or with anyone else?

This is a long way of saying that I want for nothing except sleep. In fact, I'm even getting a good deal of that this semester.

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