Previously, in the SOC… (Fall 2011: Day 3)

Posted: August 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s really strange when you starting thinking of everything as a potential blog.  This used to happen to me when I was attending the University of Tampa a couple of years ago. I would sit in my Government and World Affairs class and scribble notes about what I was going to blog instead of listening to the scores of freshmen around me, the results of which can be seen in those blog issues from that time period if you are so inclined to look back. Some of those posts still make me laugh and remember all the fun (like Ogre of 4D, for example).

I’d love to say that the campus of USF is teeming with interesting stories and potential blogs, and it probably is. The truth is, I rarely pay as much attention to those in my classes as I used to.  Being a senior, I find that the average age has increased rather drastically from previous years.  I’m no longer the oldest person in my classes, which is kinda cool.  We have a woman in her early sixties in my Theories of Culture class, a man in his forties in the Caribbean, and I think a majority of Museum Informatics is actually older than I am.

Speaking of age…I’ll be 35 this week. I’m not really sure how I feel about that. In my mind, I think I’m still early twenties but with a thirty five year old dose of responsibility.  If only I’d have had that in my twenties! I might have done something with myself long before now instead of stumbling through life doing this and that.  Not that I’m complaining, mind you. We are all the summation of our past experiences. Without it, I wouldn’t be who I am today, nor do I think I’d be as driven to get things done.

It still makes me laugh when people ask me what I do and I tell them I’m a student. Their reactions are amusing.  My doctor is very fond of the phrase “some people grow up later than others” which I suppose is true, especially in the digital era that we live in.   This isn’t a case of that though. This is a case of me not figuring out what to do with my life until I was thirty one already. Anyway, the point I’m making is that it is never ever too late to go back to school to do something you love. Yes, it’s difficult and a shit-ton of work. It is still worth it, though. Who cares what other people think, really.

While I was taking a smoke break between classes yesterday, I kept thinking how USF would make a great reality tv show.  Now, I really hate those shows, and make it a point to never watch that garbage, but the university would be quite funny as a reality show I think. As I sat on the bench, I kept thinking “Previously, in the SOC…” and laughing to myself.  Here’s the pitch: A 35 year old man goes back to college to get his degree.  Watch as he battles parking, children and malignant professors to achieve his goals. It’s rather simple in concept, but I’ve seen worse shit on TV (cough *Jersey Shore* cough). Imagine the tension as he prepares for exams, papers and finals. What a great finale it would be to make a spectacle out of the graduation ceremony. Not to mention all the interesting people who could make appearances throughout the season.  Come on, you know you’d watch.

I usually write about how class has gone this semester, but there really isn’t a ton to report.  My first two classes of the day were an info dump, in which the professor in ToC hammered us with five theorists right off the bat. It got worse in Caribbean when he condensed 200 years of Caribbean history into one hour and fifteen minutes.  My pen could not keep up with the amount of information he was shoving at us, so eventually, I quit taking notes and just concentrated on listening.  I have a plan to deal with that: it’s called the livescribe pen. He doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to use technology to defeat these info-heavy courses. In fact, I might look for that today while I’m out running errands. It would certainly come in handy during these sessions of information transmission.

Speaking of tech:  for those of you unfamiliar with the awesome powers a livescribe pen will grant a student, I strongly urge you to check into one.  I sound like a product placement ad, but whatever: Please visit and check them out. Not only is this extremely useful for linking live audio recordings directly to your notes during class, but it has myriad outside “real world” applications. For example, as an anthropologist, I do a lot of interviewing and note taking. Being able to directly index your notes to exactly what the person you are interviewing said can be VERY helpful indeed in analyzing context and linguistic significance. I often find myself taking notes while the person is talking, so being able to simply tap the paper and know exactly what I was referring to by hearing it from the person makes the notes make more sense. For anyone who takes copious notes, I recommend at least checking this tool out.  Sometimes, I really DO love technology.  (/product placement – too bad they don’t pay me.)

And that is a good thing, I guess. If I want to get a job in a museum in the 21st century, I need to be extremely well versed in technology. I’m very glad I chose to take this museum informatics class, it has opened my eyes to all the things I don’t know but will need to in order to be more effective at my chosen job. I’m still marveling (and it probably shows my age) at 3D printing and 3D pdf technology.  I’ll admit, some of this stuff is very complicated to learn, but if this is what I want, then I better know what I’m doing.

A thought to close us out today:  People 100 years ago would think that how we live today among all this technology is sorcery.  Pens that record voices? Flat boxes that tell you anything you want to  know? Machines that create exact copies of things?  It does sound a lot like sorcery to me, too.  Just a little perspective in how far we have come as a society from 1911, when people didn’t even own a  television, much less wifi, ipads and cars with computers in them.



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