As the end of the semester draws nearer and homework&practicing begin to pile up so deep I’m not sure I’ll ever find my way out, my itch to write and blog and do all sorts of non-school related things increases. … Continue reading
I found this on the floor as I left one of my classes last week, and after a brief chuckle, it got me thinking. What exactly would I tell freshman to help them be successful during their college career? Well, perhaps they’re not quite as helpful as the list above, but here are the top 5 things I want to tell college freshman, and I’m pretty sure many other seniors would agree.
- Don’t wear your lanyard around your neck. While it’s good to keep track of your keys so you don’t have to annoy your roommate every time you go back to your dorm, wearing your lanyard around your neck at all times is like a big, blinking marquee that you’re a freshman. Put your keys in your backpack. That’s what it’s there for.
- Don’t update your social media accounts every time you do homework. We know it’s exciting being a real college student (and it feels fun to gripe about the “real world” of college homework to all your friends who are still in high school), but it’s another blinking marquee of freshman-dom. If we were to tweet every time we were doing homework, our feeds would be the most boring, tedious, endless flow of tweets ever. You’re in college, which means you have homework. It’s sort of a given. So no need to tell the world.
- Don’t wear heels to class. Ladies, it’s just not worth it. Carrying a thirty pound backpack completely defeats the whole purpose of wearing heels anyway– no one is going to appear graceful or sexy under the weight of a rectangle-shaped boulder. The only exceptions to this rule are heeled boots and/or presentation/recital clothing.
- Don’t be afraid to ask directions. Listen, we can tell you’re completely lost. It’s written all over your face. And you know what? That’s okay. You’ll learn your way around quicker than you think. In the meantime, just ask us where your next class is. Chances are we’ll know exactly where to direct you, and might even give you some helpful advice on where the closest Starbucks is or the best place to study or what bathrooms to avoid.
- Don’t call us old. Seriously. We may look like we have it all together because we have this college things down, but we’re literally only four years ahead of you. In three years time you’ll be right where we are– wishing people would stop calling you old at 21 and coming up with your own lists to tell freshmen.
What advice do you have for freshmen? Or what things do you wish you’d known?
If you’re in any way connected to the internet, you’ve probably heard of Flappy Bird– an addictive, ridiculously difficult (and pointless) game that’s frustrating innocents everywhere. I was curious and downloaded the app. It is as difficult and annoying as everyone says.
In my confusion as to why the game is so popular, however, it occurred to me: Flappy Bird brought out in me freakishly similar emotions and ideals as does practicing piano.
After I’d dealt with a brief existential crisis of realizing my profession is essentially the same thing as playing a superficial and annoyingly “fad-y” game, I was able to step back and look at it for what it really is– a dumb metaphor for my life.
Basically, practicing piano is like playing Flappy Bird. Tedious, difficult, and extremely frustrating, but somehow weirdly satisfying. Flappy Bird is piano playing on a smaller scope– you work really hard and it feels like you’re getting nowhere, but in the end you get six points instead of one and that’s something to be excited about. You rejoice small victories (e.g. memorizing that one pesky measure). You get frustrated at the small failures (e.g. ramming your bird into the ground before the first pipe even shows on the screen). Your own personal ambitions and need to be better than your past self help you go further.
I suppose that these things apply to any hard thing worth doing. And, to be fair, there are probably more dissimilarities than similarities between playing keys and running a bird into a pipe. But there, in my practice room, as I cried over a 4 point average on Flappy Bird and a particularly difficult passage in a Chopin etude I’m working on, they seemed awfully similar. Perhaps even one and the same.
I guess piano does have an end reward or two going for it, but take it from one who knows: there are few things in life as satisfying as making that stupid little bird go through those ridiculous pipes. And playing the piano. I guess.
P.s. Boasting a proud high score of 12, I think it’s time for me to make room for others to soar (read: smash their bird into pipes and throw their phone across the room). Goodbye, Flappy Bird, and good riddance.
Just for the record, if you type in “old rugged safari guy” into google images, this is what you will see.
If you follow my terribly boring twitter adventures, you know that this semester I am taking my last science requirement in the form of Environmental Biology. Nothing could be a greater joy to my soul than sitting for two hours every Monday and Wednesday in a mildly stuffy classroom learning about how the hole in the atmosphere over the polar ice cap is going to destroy life as we know it (or perhaps life at all) within the next fifty years. Literally there is no greater joy. Except maybe for the fact that in order to get credit for attending class you must always have your severely outdated response clicker that in reality only serves the purpose of draining your wallet of a good 100+ bucks. That just really thrills my heart.
Except, of course, on days (such as yesterday) when after having to wash my backpack with Lysol to rid it of a lovely present left by my cat, Gus, I forget my over-priced clicker in the laundry basket and merrily bebop to class only to realize that it is almost entirely useless that I am there because I have forgotten my clicker. I say almost entirely, because even though I was counted absent, I did get a fascinating explanation of how global and local mainstream economists are killing every animal in the world in passionate, pitch-fork ridden droves, and everyone who doesn’t personally own a fish hatchery is probably busy scheming their plot to finish wiping out albatrosses in the Pacific before May of 2015 instead of tenderly raising their bluefin tuna in peaceful solidity.
Well. I didn’t learn exactly that, but my version is way better. Trust me.
On the bright side, my professor is quite an interesting guy– or rather, a “nice, gentle chap!” in his own, sarcastic words– and if nothing else I get to spend the class chuckling to myself about his failed attempts at sarcasm and haphazardly receding hair line, which he attempts to cover with wild mops of graying hair. To be fair, his humor is quite entertaining, but unfortunate for him I seem to be the only individual under the age of forty in the classroom who seems to even pick up on his subtle (and not-so-subtle) quips. And by everyone under the age of forty in the classroom I mean everyone… except for him. But, I digress.
He also hails from South Africa, which brings it’s own set of amusements– a quirky accent, an inability to convert kilometers to miles, and a whole host of other odd idiosyncrasies that are no doubt rooted in his homeland’s culture. To be fair, my knowledge of South Africa is rather limited… Nelson Mandela, the 2010 FIFA World Cup (it’s 2014 and I still haven’t gotten the buzz of those dang vuvuzelas out of my head), apartheid, and lots of white people. So perhaps this will serve as a South African culture class as well. Although I’m not sure my attributing his strangeness to all South Africans is really that fair. Unless, of course, they are all Australian-obsessed beer drinkers who love eating kangaroo and enjoy making weird metaphors involving whales to further their environmental agendas while failing at both pop culture references and getting people to answer questions in class. Because if that is so, after only two weeks of class I already have an inclusive understanding of South African culture! Hoorah!
But to be honest, he does have a certain endearing ruggedness about him. Perhaps it is his obsession with Australia that gives me the weird feeling that at any moment he might mount a random kangaroo and ride off into the sunset to save the world from unrecycled plastics. At first it’d probably be confusing as to where he’d gotten the kangaroo, but then I’d just sit back and chuckle with a knowing head nod while the rest of the class would begin murmuring in shocked confusion. Ever since he walked into class with a washed-out, pale burgundy Steve Irwin-esque shirt unbuttoned a little too far down I’ve been expecting this to happen. It’s only a matter of time.
Anyway, I’m counting my blessings. Despite my skepticism that I will learn anything useful in this class, at least I have an interesting fellow to tweet about for four hours a week. Who could ask for more?
If you’d like to keep following my adventures with said professor and explore some of his finer moments/quotes, check out my twitter here!