02 April 2011

Slipping again

Takes one night in of music and eating junk to turn me back in on myself. Not pleased, not pleased at all.

I need to kick my deleterious habits which I seem to have adapted prior to exam season. I now have nothing left but them, so it makes them seem closer.

If my right calf is OK tomorrow I'll run. Otherwise, the walk to the Library will have to do.

01 April 2011

Retroactive: Friendship freedom?

In primary school, you were not able to control who your friends were. This decreased towards the end of your tenure. Friends were decided by two factors: (limited) personal preference and (unlimited) parental control. Personal preference refers to the actual interests of the child in question. Parental control is the deciding factor, however. They can create an environment where a child is taught to like other children from a certain class, cultural or status background. In my case, I went to a middle class school in a middle class area of suburbia. I have no non-White friends to this day and am somewhat intolerant of working class difficulties.

In secondary school, there is even less freedom to manoeuvre. By the end of primary school you are part of an In-Group or an Out-Group. You are also shunted into a class which doesn't change at all until the end of Junior Certificate, on other words three years. Being key formative years, it can be extremely difficult to conform with the In-Group by the end of the three years. The classes become divided within themselves as In and Out and between themselves as In and Out. The various In-Groups gel together well while the Out-Groups find it difficult to do the same, possibly due to a desire to Out the Out-Groups to please the In-Groups. There is greater exposure to class, status and cultural differences - in my case, I was in a room of farmers and immigrants. There was still a solid core of middle class whites that I identified better with. There was a lot of racism present but also victimised reactions which made things hazy. I do not defend the actions of anyone, but it became harder to know who was right and wrong over time.

Beyond secondary and primary, one is allowed to revolutionise their friendships. My retroactive perspective is probably completely wrong, but I'll follow this up with a post about College.

Last lecture done; study until exams!

Had my last lecture there - it was Modern Political Thought, or as I like to call it, Political Philosophy. The lecturer, Pete Morriss, deserves the applause he got, it was a very nice end lecture. Full of laughs!

I have 5 exams between April 20th and May 18th. I am well on my way to being set for 2 of them, both in Sociology & Political Science. The third module in that subject is the first exam I have and have already passed by virtue of work done during the year. In History, I have two written exams: Irish History and British History. I am not prepared for these at all but with over a month until they start I think I can push myself up to C territory.

Political Philosophy is taught in two parts; Social Contract and Utilitarianism. We learned about Hobbes and Locke in the first part followed by Bentham and Mill in the latter part. I really liked the first part as it made a lot of sense to me and I plan on writing primarily on Hobbes but we'll see how my studies go. I've already written an essay on Hobbes for this module and got an A for it, so that's a decent percentage already in the bag. Utilitarianism is quite easy to get understand too and I'll probably write on both of the main thinkers for the exam. Finally, there is a third part in the exam which has three questions. Two on the main topics studied - I have no idea what these could be - and a third question on Republicanism, which formed an unofficial third part to the lecture series. I'll probably answer on Republicanism, but I'll be able to fall back on the other two. The exam is apparently very straightforward with very basic questions, so I look forward to it.

Political Sociology is my favourite subject. It came in ten parts and as such will have ten questions on the exam - answer any three! This is perfect as I love the first few lectures which were 1. Traditional, Early Modern and Modern Societies; 2. Social Stratification and Violence and 3. War and Modernity. If these prove too close together, I will fall back on other topics like Ideology, Legitimacy and the State. I loved all the different parts of the lecture series and the lecturer really knew his stuff. I hope to get an A in this exam as I already got an A in the essay and feel I really deserve it!

Methods in Social & Political Science is the last module in this subject. It was difficult as it was divided in half, Quantitative and Qualitative. I knew from the outset I wouldn't enjoy it too much, as the former proved to be all Maths and Statistics. The Qualitative section was poorly taught but supremely interesting. Ethnography was of particular interest to me and reminded me of role-playing games. For the Quantitative section, there was a number of labs we had to attend, culminating in a lab exam. I did OK in the coursework and attended all the labs but didn't do well in the lab exam. It should be OK though! I wrote an essay on Access in Ethnography which should ease the pain of the exam.

The History of Ireland 1698-1801 was an incredibly well-taught series of lectures given by Padraig Lenihan. It was immensely interesting to see this relatively quiet period of Irish history taught with such enthusiasm and clarity. I have the lecture notes summarised for this exam, all I need to do is summarise them again and I should do OK. I wrote an OK essay for mid-term but I didn't attend many tutorials because they clashed with another module.

The Making of Britain 1750 - 1900 was a very good module with a primarily non-Irish audience. Most of the students were Americans and other visiting students, but I ain't complaining. Most of the Irish students went to the Rise of Modern America lecture instead. That was my first choice but it clashed with another module. I wrote a good essay which gave me a B+ and I attended most of the tutorials and participated actively in them. These alone should clock up some marks, so the exam just requires me to write some notes and focus!

Finally to complete the History side of things is the Medieval Europe 400 - 800 module. An absolutely wonderful lecture and an awesome lecturer to boot, this module was great fun. I'm not a fan of that era but I was glad to see it had something to offer. To get a mark for this module, one must write an extended essay of between 2000 and 3500 words and hand it in by May, same time as exams are on. I have my subject approved so I can start soon on my Euric the Goth essay.

That sums up my lecture modules; most of them were excellent and indeed I preferred this semester to last semester by a margin of 5/6 good modules to 4/5* modules! I highly recommend these courses to anyone and I hope I do well in my exams now! For Finland!

Love/Hate #26 Part 2: Final Fantasy XIII Redeux Electric Boogaloo (or how I learned to love the reset button)

Good gods. 10 years or so after I first played the game, apparently on a disc I borrowed. Then I went and bought the game myself. Then I got...