Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Second Thoughts of the Tired Plagiarist

I couldn’t do it. There was this gleaming solution to my troublesome equation, and I couldn’t do it. Two hours I spent deconstructing a nice article about the similarities between modern America and Ancient Rome. I poured over my thesaurus, changing every word I could. Re-worked sentences till they sounded more like what I would write. Mathematically, all I have to do is turn in something…anything with seemingly five paragraphs and I win the hand, with a pair of aces for the semester. Then I thought about two things. Columbia, that shining safe haven in the grittiest and greatest city in the world, and a woman named Furry. The former I had met for only a few spare minutes, but her funny name weighed heavily with my own anxieties about her power. Why did I ever walk into that office. Why, indeed, did I hand her a piece of paper saying I wanted to be something more; why did I ever tip her off that I have potential? People knowing that little tidbit, has been more trouble than it’s worth, though most ensure it’s a blessing to be nurtured. This is typically said mere moments before the very drive they speak of is indelibly crushed and aberrated, left only to crawl back to the deepest cerebral recesses like a beaten child who’s finally learned to stay quiet. That may sound jaded, cynical even but, has not everyone at one point or another had something expected of them. Some range of normality, that never quite fit. I imagine, in the masses of the roving six billion, that someone is a pure submissive and has simply always been OK with the standards everyone involved in their upbringing has set for them. By that very nature, I imagine that rare few to be either extremely boorish or exceedingly easy.

Then there was that invitation. Glossy, embossed, tattered and hopeful: what would the lovely people there think about such a despicable act? Again, two roads diverge, perhaps it’s best to think nobly of the baby blue lions and assume that with such strenuous standards, the mere thought of it would disrupt an entire campus, offend alumni, and destabilize the boosters, God forbid. On the other hand, playing the odds: how much high achievement is really performed by all those selects? I’d bet decent money, that at some point in their post secondary career, at least a handful of CU students have thought about it. Maybe, like me, even drafted one. Maybe, just maybe, submitted something that wasn’t wholly original or cited. Now, reading this you may argue “She’s a cheat! She deserves expulsion!...or worse! The fact that she would even consider pulling a swindle like that undermines the strict ethical code of…of…at least telling others you didn’t write something by citing it in one of the valid APA, ALA, or Chicago formats.

So that’s my soapbox. A quarter till midnight. In twelve hours, I’ll be peddling rump parking for Kathy Griffin and enthralling people with the tale of Lady Antebellum’s hour and forty-five minute sell out. Sometime within the six hours following that, I’ll be working at work and trying to find a minute to submit the paper that will make or break the little machinations I started going by visiting Furry, and thinking I could ever pull this great escape off. I want so badly to be able to write one of those miracle stories, where a sudden break of lucidity comes to enlighten and unblock my mind in literally, the eleventh hour. In all honesty though, I could very easily go climb in bed and pray to be up uncommonly early to get it done in the morning. In my exhausted stupor I make finger puppets to kill the time…I’m still here tip-tapping away, wishing desperately for greatness and my mind’s already on that pillow, my body left to run on auto-pilot with the sentence structure of a fourth grader. There in lies, perchance, the ultimate proof: a Columbia-worthy would be able to pull this off…like butta. And me? I’ve already sub-consciously given up. I’m trying to think of a serious thought and my eyes cross and I feel the tiredness. I should just go, be defeated and be up bright and early for some cinnamon toast crunch and aqueducts, big Roman one’s. Something says to fight through it though, “Don’t let yourself off easy like you have every other night…wuss.”

“Excuse me?” I frantically wonder.

“You heard me, slacker, you pulled the same crap for Intro to Theater, stayed up all night doing everything besides the paper. Yeah that Justin Timberlake video remix has gotten twenty thousands hits, but you never did get that assignment done. Don’t think I don’t remember…oh I remember! Ever since, you’ve been cutting yourself slack, procrastinating, missing deadlines and for what!? So that you won’t get anywhere? Well that ship has sailed sweetheart, your into high expectations whether you like it or not, or even if your not sure.”
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's Time For a Few Small Repairs, she said...

I've added a few things to the blog here. First is a GPA Watch/Clock that I'll update whenever changes occur. The second addition is an official academic goal list. I'm a beleiver in the old "fail to plan or plan to fail" addage. Finally, a little later today I'll add an updateable course listing with an "on-deck" feature, so anyone who is interested can see what I'm taking and what I've got coming up.

And now for a little news. The check list already has something checked off! Yesterday I applied for the Honors Institute. The short unscheduled meet and greet with Honors Coordinator Lauren Furry and Honors Assistant Erin Steele, went rather well and they both seemed extremely receptive and excited. Just befor submiting, I emailed past professor Brooke Quinlan, to request a letter of reccomendation, to which she replied yes! Seems like things are coming together fairly quickly with this. :)

That's it for now. I've got one more paper, a discussion post, and one timed writing assignment away from that 3.5...with my nose to the grind stone and fingers to the keyboar, I can nearly taste it!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You've Come A Long Way Baby...

I graduated from high school with the minimum 2.0 GPA required.

Upon entering college I took a full course load while working full time and ended up failing two classes, withdrawing one and passing the fourth with a B. My college GPA after one semester was 1.0.

I lost my financial aid and left college for a year and a semester to work full time in a lucrative casino customer service gig. While there a coworker urged me to get back and finish at least my associates degree. So I returned in the summer of 2008, and paid for a single remedial math class, required by placement testing. I aced it, and the subsequent, requisite College Algebra. My last single class and last math req: Pre-Calculus Algebra, I earned a "C" (Spring 2009). This brought my GPA to a cumulative 2.6. That February I was laid off from that casino job and the money I had been paying out of pocket, dried up. I remained jobless and thus school-less, until spring of 2010 when I finally qualified for finacial aid again.

I registered for a General Psychology and English Comp I, retakes of that ill fated '06 first semester, to take advantage of my community college's grade forgiveness policy.

I'm happy to say that as the Summer 2010 semester comes to a close, I'm projecting "A's" for both classes. So my GPA is effectively 3.5 unweighted.

I now qualify and will be applying for HCC's Honors program.

Who'd had ever guessed that I'd go from graduating high school with a rounded up 2.0 to a solid 3.5 in college.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

First Update...

That was quick...
So, as I mentioned, I'm taking Intro to Psychology and College English I. this summer. My professors are great. In fact I've already registered to take E2 with the same professor next semester. I only feel as if it's a bit easy...we're mostly doing all five paragraph essays. After this semester my GPA will qualify with honors institute and you can bet I will take full advantage of the harder classes to prove myself.

Anyway, as for my grade in those two classes: fairly well. With only 3 weeks left, I'm acing Intro to Psych. I only have to get a 30/50 on the next test to be guaranteed it mathematically. My average for the first two test already taken has been 47.5. My paper for it went really well. If you want to call it a paper. The assignment was a summation of book and research article material on any psychological topic of choice. The catch being you could only pick one article. I chose music's effect on autobiographical memory recall in Alzheimer's patients and a correlating article by Irish ET AL, 2006. I outlined and fleshed out and ended up with a rough draft of five pages, while the requirement called for only 2-3. I pared it down, leaving out methodology points and the like, to four pages and received 100/100.

Eng I is going fairly well too, as I'm on course to finish with at least a strong B. I'm a bit miffed at this, I really could have put a bit more effort into the four grammar quizzes I averaged 84.6 on. The 4 major papers (all five paragraph lazy bits), I've done well on, garnering a 76, 94, and 98. Being an online class, theres also a timed writing assignment and disscussion participation grade, which of course is still in progress. I feel good about it though, over all and want to get to a bit more meaty writing.

That's all for now loves.

My First Post...what this is all about.

I've blogged before, but for the most part it has been a journal, a storage space for my stream of conciousness and episodic memory. Never have I blogged on one particular subject or theme, so I'm a bit worried about the mortality rate of this. It's entirely possible that in a year this will be the first and only post I've made. So we shall see.

I am essentially writing this to chronical my journey of attaining a Community College Associates Degree and with a lot of work and luck, the attempt to transfer to Columbia Univeristy. It's a long shot but something says: fight for it.

So a little background info then?

I'm 24, went to work straight out of highschool full time, and started Hillsborough Community College in the fall of 2005 full time. I did horribly, got my financial aid revoked and decided to go back to just working. In 2008, I returned part-time, and fully out of pocket at the urging of a friend and academic mentor. I hammered out 3 semeseters of my worst subject: math, completeing through Pre-Calculus Algebra. In the process, I restored my GPA from a 1.0 to 2.6 and got my financial aid back.

I'm now moving up from one class at a time, taking Intro to Psychology and English I, to fulfill a social science and communications degree requisite. Over the next year and a half I have a couple of goals I wish to fulfill:
  • I plan to up this to three classes (9 credit hours) in the fall '10 semester and eventually take on 4-5 classes (12-15 crdit hours).

  • Apply for Honors Institute

  • In addition to working 25-30 hours a week for a major entertainment venue, and getting what sparse acting jobs I can, I will seek out and find a volunteer oppurtunity to get and stay involved with.

So here I go to get my dream.
They say to go big or go my case it's go big or stay home.
I fell quite in like with Columbia University a few months ago. I had requested information from every major school in New York City that had a theatre program and when I received an envelope, white and glossy with letteringin that famous baby blue hue, I admitedly felt like Harry Potter with his first letter from Hogwarts or like Charlie with his golden ticket. I gingerly skimmed the look book and obsessivly read and reread the semi-mass produced letter from Dean Marinaccio. Even now it seems...too good. As if I'm not quite ready to accept that I'm good enough for it, and of course reading the above stats many would assume I'm not and not be far from correct.

So why do this? Why punish myself with overscheduling and mainlines of caffiene, when perfectly good schools are here in Florida? Frankly, it's just not the right city. Eight million people live in NYC and most will tell you its the best place in the world, and yet everyone who doesn't live there seems to tell me I'm nuts for wanting to pack up everything I own and ship it to a dorm in midtown. Putting it simply, I'm inexplicably drawn to that city. Living there, if only for a couple of years to finish school is something I feel I must do inately. I'm no turnip-truck jumper, I know it can be a seedy, shady place with horrible weather. I'm not expecting the Emerald City...just a place that I can walk to a coffeeshop for breakfast then a few blocks and a train ride to classes, another train ride and few blocks to an internship and then home in a bustle that makes up the center of the free world. The "bright lights" and landmarks are icing.

I know that this is an intrepid endeavor....that it may not pay off. But there is a possibilty. A sliver of optimisim of about 5.7%. All I can do is work for this, all I plan to do is work for this.