Isn't this typical? Worrying
about an unknown effect of some noise while participating in the KNOWN danger of smoking.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
7:23 pm edt
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Advice for a college student
When I was in the military, I learned a saying. "Never run when you can walk. Never walk
when you can stand, never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down." I am reminded of this saying
because of my son's recent college experiences in his freshman year. He is being appropriately stressed. Although
I DO want him to work hard and learn lots, I want him to sleep when he can. The thing about college is that
it REQUIRES a lot of running (in an academic sense). I pray as specifically as I can based on his schedule
and any added information helps me be even SPECIFICER. Labs are almost always stressful and time consuming.
I pray that he does well and learns from them and enjoy as much as he can. Calculus is one of his bugaboos
just as it was for me. I thought I would present some advice to a college boy so any of you can pass it on to others
6:21 pm edt
There is just no two ways about it. Calculus
is tough! Sometimes I wished I could've strangled Descartes (a founder of calculus). Practice tests are a
good way to study. Sometimes I would get 4-5 yrs of practice tests to review (from folks that had the class before).
The tests are never the same but do show what the professor feels is important and it helps make sure you know the likely
concepts they will be testing on. If you understand something, it is always good to help someone else, even if it keeps
you up late. That can pay dividends later on.
As far as time savings. Let me fill you in on a few secrets. One method is the Bohemian method. I must admit that
it never appealed to me. The bohemian method includes never taking the time to bathe and usually eating AND studying
while on the toilet (so you don't have to take time to go). Even if the B.O. and scruffy appearance didn't warn
you, you could tell a bohemian studier from the way they walked after long "leg numbing" study sessions. That
was how they rated their study sessions ("That chapter was so hard I had three pizzas and my legs were
numb for two days after I figured out the problems"or, "Yep that problem set was a leg number fer shore")
Sorry. Just not my style. I did stop shaving and grew long hair and a beard to see if that would save time but it was
too much trouble to comb and/or keep pushing it out of my eyes. The only benefit was that if I were hungry/thirsty, I could
pick a few crumbs out of the beard or squeeze out some "beard juice" (depending on lunch, water fountain availability, and
ice cream socials, could have various combinations of water, soft drinks, ice cream topping and watermelon juice).
I found it much easier to go the "NORTONIZED" method. Norton was the Davidson town barber and he was famous
for scalping folks. I would get scalped, and then no matter how short he cut it, insist it was too long and make him
do it over. That way I only had to get maybe two haircuts/year. Aaaand hair THAT short requires no care so I saved
valuable time from combing (not to mention saving on shampoo). Of course, I always studied in a carrel beside Rocky
"The Troll" who went bohemian (with the hair only....well mostly). He usually fell asleep in his carrel
at about 11 pm -just about the time I needed beard crumbs or beard juice (so I didn't have to rely on my own snack
supply). Fortunately he had similar tastes to my own in snacks except he was a little heavier on
the butterscotch at ice cream socials (however a sticky beard DOES retain more crumbs). He would wake up at midnight
for another study session and seemed disappointed that his snack supply was lower than he thought. He never figured
it out though.
I also used to squeeze toothpaste into
my scrambled eggs. That way I could eat breakfast and brush my teeth at the same time. When exam time approached
I ate the mixture while showering to multitask even further. I saved time in dressing by rarely wearing shoes and socks.
Whenever the weather permitted (and sometimes when it didn't), I was barefoot. Reasonable in the sunny South.
Good luck with that in winter with a foot of Pennsylvania snow. I also saved time by not yawning. It is usually
no problem to find a non-science major (so they have a LOT more time) and pay them to do your yawning for you. Spanish
majors have it easier than just about anyone so they have the best rates. Near exam time, I got less sleep than normal
so I needed a lot more yawning done. It DID get expensive but that was a sacrifice I had to make to get into medical school. I
also everted my eyelids and wrote notes there (remember to write backwards). That way whenever I had to blink,
I could face a strong light and continue to study. It was also useful to study through the eyelids when my
eyes were dry. It is amazing how easily folks were fooled into thinking I was sleeping in class or in the library.
I was actually just referring to my notes. It helps to breathe deeply and rhythmically while drooling to study that
way. Don't ask me why. However, it IS important to erase your inner eyelids before test time so as not to cheat
(I would never advocate cheating). Alcohol or nail polish remover works to remove the notes (sandpaper will do in a
People also just do not realize how
much time is lost due to blowing your nose when you get a cold. Blowing your nose entails looking for a tissue/handkerchief
and freeing a hand. Learn to SNIFF really really hard instead. It also makes you feel less hungry so you don't
have to break for meal time. And remember, hiccups are for losers. If you have time to hiccup, you have too much time.
Everyone needs to relax but you have to do it in concentrated form. Does music
relax you? Instead of listening to one song, listen to 4-5 simultaneously.
son also asked about my college kidnapping experience that he had heard of. It was late into my freshman year.
I REALLY did have a set schedule of being at the library when it opened, and being there until it closed with very brief breaks
for meals (often missed) and classes. I had just finished a major tough exam and my friends were surprised that I was
BACK in the library working on a biology paper not due for a month (and it was a Friday). So, they kidnapped me. Complete
with blindfold. The culprits were Eddie Aziz, Neal Biggers and Sally Robinson. They put me in a car and drove me to
Lake Tillary where Neal's family owned a vacation home. They put me in a boat late at night. It was so dark
on the lake that you couldn't see where the horizon began and the lake ended. With almost NO manmade
light pollution, the sky was filled with millions of stars which reflected on the water. The Hallelujah chorus
was booming out of the tape player (Neal was a music major) and it looked just like the boat was thrumming through the water
and into the sky. I had not yet learned the military saying "Don't run when you can walk etc.... It actually
was difficult for me to learn to relax but I had a nice weekend with friends and somehow STILL managed to make it into medical
YOU can do ALL things
through Christ, which strengtheneth YOU (modified from Phillipians 4:13)
Empty Nest syndrome
5:55 pm edt
Empty nest syndrome hit hard and unexpectedly.
I remember when my son, Ryan was little, he hit a real dinosaur loving stage at around 3. One day he became
very frustrated that he couldn't remember the name of a dinosaur and said in a very sad voice, "Maybe it's
because I NEVER went to college" (as if he had already missed out on that stage of life). Well, that day finally
arrived on August 23, 2007. It was a 15 hour drive to Grove City College PA and I felt like Sydney Carton mounting
the tumbril the entire time.
I am not TOO worried about Ryan. Ryan is getting to know a lot of new people and getting excited about his classes.
It is too early for him to be overwhelmed so I am sure he is reveling in all the social activities. I think Diana and
I are much harder hit. I had no idea what our parents went through when they sent us to college. Of course
at least with four kids they had it happen gradually. Also since Ryan was homeschooled, we ARE more used to having him
home than most parents are. When you have spent the last 18 years with a primary role of "Dad," it is hard
to give it up. I feel a bit like I did when mom died. It is rather like a death isn't it? At least
it feels that way. I know from my OWN experience, that once you go off to college, you never come back so much as a
family member but rather as a guest. Ryan and I have been so close for so long that it is really tough. I still
have a lump in my throat the size of a bowling ball (several people have thought it was a goiter). I will admit that
a few tears squeezed through my steel-clad eyelids (I hope they don't rust), but actually we did quite
well. I was pretty tough. We made very good time on the way back. Cars just pulled over to the side and
let us pass pretty much through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia. It really wasn't until Winston-Salem
that my voice started to give out and people stopped mistaking my wailing for a siren.
I recognize that God really just lent Ryan to us. A parent's job is to raise their child and educate them so they
can live a life of character and support their own family. We would not be obeying God if we did NOT send him to college.
Still, it is much more hurtful than I could have imagined. Of course, I try to look on the bright side. Perhaps he will flunk
out and come back home. Either that or he will learn the names of all the dinosaurs.
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