November 15, 2008
If this is you, you're not alone...it's a very common occurrence, especially when important or frustrating work needs to be done to take "a minute" to surf around that turns into visiting a random string of websites that leads to a lot of time being wasted on a diversion from the original distraction from being productive. We'd like to think that technology makes us more effective or efficient...but that not always the case.
This second comic from xkcd is also an interesting commentary on our new, technology fueled existence. It won't come as a surprise to anybody who uses Facebook that the internet has created a new artificial, almost anti-social definition of 'friend'. I know that I and many of my friends are 'facebook-friends' with dozens of people I don't know well, haven't spoken to in years, or are simply acquaintances with. In some cases the internet makes social interaction easier, especially when bridging the gap between close friends living far away, but in that you can interact with someone online on a regular basis who you would have very little to do with without the internet. It's interesting to think about how Facebook contributes to communication but also makes us dependent on it, for instance, for the validation of relationships. I know some people who have said they would have to be less confident in their relationship if their partner would not make their status public. As a side note: there have even been serious University studies into the social impacts of Facebook.
Before to Mount Allison I chatted with a few upperclassmen and other incoming frosh, and even added them as 'facebook-friends' months before I would actually meet them. At the time it was a little comforting that there were people I 'knew', that I could at least recognize, before I came here...but with few exceptions there's really no way to really know someone until you spend time with them face to face. It has been almost three months now, and at this point it's almost only the people I initially communicated with to face to face that I'm closest to. So dispite its usefulness, the internet cannot replace real-life, person to person communication.
November 14, 2008
was convinced to go to a corny but fun "Junior Prom" fundraiser
and went on a tour of Mount Allison's underground tunnel system (pretty cool...but not somewhere I would want to be if the lights go out).
This weekend I'll be working on an essay about Science Fiction and Fantasy themes in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, a history essay on why Nova Scotia did not join the 13 colonies in the American Revolution, an article on Barack Obama, and article reviews from New Scientist. It'll be a lot of work but it is doable. Depending on your program and your work habits in high school you'll transition quite well or have a make some major changes to stay above water.
One thing that's pretty consistent is that there is almost no 'homework', but instead long-term essays and reading that you'll regret not working on regularly. For instance I'm halfway through an eight-page essay due next Friday, while I know more than a few people who will attempt to finish it on Thursday night. By November study habits have more or less stuck and you'll be either fine working steadily or rushing to make up a semester's worth of reading and writing. Sometimes the workload seems a bit overwhelming...but there's always someone to work on it with you or someone to distract you from it. There are three weeks of class, five exams, and then I'm going back home (currently Boston) for the first time since August. The first few months have seemed to fly by, and I'm looking forward to the next three and a half years at Mount Allison.
November 10, 2008
I don't think that many people will be making a joke out of the youth vote after what happened on November 4th.
Kal Penn illustrates the potential of the collective American youth on the day of the election: