Thursday, September 02, 2004

Et. al.

Yesterday was a pretty busy day. I went to school relatively early and finished my group project in my non-credit research class. Yeah baby. After that, I went to the Post Office and mailed some things that I had literally not been able to afford to mail out given my cash crunch.

In the afternoon, I spent about 5 hours studying in the library. Two of my classmates showed up so we all sat around a table reading various parts of the course books. I'm actually really perturbed with my Intro class.

First, it's a survey course, which by definition totally suck ass. You end up having lengthy, yet meaningless conversations about how states came into being and if there is a status quo.

But more problematic is that I think my professor is out of it on what we need to be studying. A survey course in International Relations, at a minimum, should cover all the basic theoretical underpinnings of how nation states interact (Realism, Liberalism, et. al.). Instead, we're reading sections from books that describe the historical development of those theories, skipping the chapters that explain those theories, and then reading chapters that explain how those theories are used. I'm sure you can see how that is problematic.

For me, it's not a huge deal. I had Intro to International Relations in college and I remember the basics, and I'm aware enough of what I need to know to do the extra reading to ensure i'm on top of all the derivative theories (neo-liberalism, neo-realism, etc). But after talking to two of my classmates yesterday, well, they didn't take any IR classes in undergrad so this is all new to them. They need the theory more than I do. Which, of course, leaves me in a precarious situation. I don't want to suggest to the Prof that we're missing out on some important reading because I don't want to offend him and I don't want to get more reading assigned to the class. It's very delicate, but I may just end up showing him what he's assigned and then asking if there is other reading we can do about the theoretical background.

At any rate, after many hours of studying and discussing this with my two classmates, we decided it would be prudent to go to the school pub and have a few beers. Kenya and Nicole are their names and they're pretty cool. It didn't take long for Kenya to utter the words "You're more black than I am!". My life is now complete.

Kenya is someone who I think is really going to annoy me in class but is a good person overall. She just has that whole, "I've already started on my research paper, want to see?" thing going on. Normally my reaction is, yeah I have too, bitch. But instead I bite my tongue (as I have been taught to do) and applaud her effort. I guess I'm just past the stage in my life where I feel it necessary to get affirmation about things like that. Actually, I don't know if I ever had that stage.

Nicole is very quiet and I worry about her. I think she may be in over her head with this MA program. It's not that it's oh so difficult. But it does take a lot of work and commitment and I'm not convinced she's really into the work that much. I don't really know her that well yet, but she seems to be coasting (and as someone who has coasted for virtually my entire undergraduate academic career I know what that looks like and what types of grades that brings). I am also trying to get her out of her shell a bit.

At any rate, we had a good time at the pub. They have a happy hour there that's pretty cheap. Afterwards, I took the bus home, had some dinner, and taught my Spanish friend how to curse like an American. It's important lessons like that that he's just not getting in his English school.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we stop spending money on all of these beverages that end up in the sewer? No job, no future incoming cash.... no more pints for crying out loud. Is water free? Drink that. Do you have to pay to get into the pubs and clubs? Drink water in the park, get some vitamin D, it can prevent prostate cancer.... save your money for food....

8:59 PM  

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