Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thoughts on the semester

I decided it is finally time for a decent post. I did promise my grandmother to keep updating the blog.

The school year has begun in full. I am nearly finished with all of the administrative stuff that is required to come back from study abroad. I am back on my bike, training 6 days a week. I am creating my own training plan.

This is the first time in my life that I am taking 5 courses that I really enjoy (read: French requirement, done!). As much as I complained about having to take PE, I am really enjoying squash. See above: training 6 days a week still doesn't qualify to get out of PE because my sport is designated "club." Though, to be fair, most club sports have a drinking:training ratio that is quite a bit higher than the cycling team. So I am taking squash, which is an hour twice a week with the tennis coach, getting sweaty in a little white box. The first day that we played I went diving for balls and got really competitive. I then ended up ramming myself into the side walls and could barely walk for the next three days. I have since learned to control myself and sometimes just let the point go.

I am also taking the history of western music, which is one of my last core requirements; my professor is great and it's virtually the same material from the music appreciation class I took at VC during high school. Then there is the science for sustainable development. Climate and carbon and global systems, oh my! My two favorite classes are Law, Science, and Society as well as a seminar on the first amendement and censorship.

However, the best thing about this semester so far is quitting Spectator. I no longer have to be cooped up in the Spec office 4 nights a week dealing with difficult writers, attempting to make witty headlines, and worrying about how to make our page sound at least half-way intelligent. My last obligation to Spec for now is finishing an article that will be running in tomorrow's magazine. It has been my nightmare for the last three weeks. I learned something in writing it, though. I learned who really has the power at a volunteer organization. And it isn't the people who spend their nights slaving away to put out the paper. When I was one of those people, I didn't want to see it. I spent hours upon hours coming up with ways to better organize the paper, to train writers, to attempt to get something more out of the institution. But now that the tables have turned and I am just some writer, I realize why all of the planning is more or less fruitless. When you require work from dozens of volunteers every day to turn out content, you have to work on their schedule. You can try to impose requirements. You can ask. But the volunteer editors have absolutely no leverage over the volunteer writers.

It is sad, but totally true.

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