Friday, 11 October 2013

The horror of independent study

I've been pushed into this by my ex-girlfriend, which is a weird thing by itself, but let's get cracking.

This week has been interesting. I've taken a cut in hours at the bar, because I'm hoping that tutoring will start to pick up - but so far, nothing. I'm starting to worry I've made a huge judgement error, so I'll give it another fortnight. Fingers crossed there really are kids out there who need tutoring.

I feel a trifle bad for essentially hoping that some children are being failed by our education system, but come on - a man's got to eat. In addition, I'm doing a couple of hours for a website called; basically a student-led, student-oriented accommodation website. It's pretty self-explanatory, and I'm writing content for their blog. When I have time.

ie: Never.

Classes are ticking along nicely, and I managed to make enemies in my atheism class already - one who resents that I speak a lot (but doesn't speak herself) and one who disagrees diametrically with everything I say on Christianity, because she is a Christian and knows God exists.

Quite what she's doing in an atheism course is beyond me. Employing a "know your enemy" strategy? Who can tell. I've also had great discussions with other atheists, and another believer whom I would class more as a Spinozan pantheist - but of course, this is all deeply uninteresting to anyone who hasn't spent their life dissecting the minute differences in atheistic and theistic thought. Moving on.

My science in society course also cracks along at a good pace. We've been divided into groups and are working out which assessment to write about; personally I'm keen on Tesla vs Edison or homeopathy, because both are things I can get passionately, ink-spillingly furious about. The other members of my group are a mixed bunch; a chemist and a geographer and someone else who's completely absent. This will make his contribution trickier to track, I confess, but a three-person group has a nice sense of unity.

French in the Middle Ages is getting meatier as we move into actual texts. The weird thing is that they bear a certain resemblance to modern day text language - who in French is qui, but youngsters with their textophones often shorten that to ki - a phonetic spelling. So too, apparently, did monks in 12th century France. Weird, but as they say, plus ça change...

It's only week two in French language and I've an English to French translation to do, which is going to be so much fun I think I might explode. We had a lot of interesting discussions in class over our French to English, including one or two where I'd completely missed the point. Let me demonstrate.

That was me.

Finally, French emblems become more and more complex all the time, but hopefully with the introductory lecture out of the way we can more into the actual "stuff" of the course. A vast history with hundreds of names and dates is absolutely not my idea of fun.

My friends are getting stuck into classes too, and I'm making interesting friends (whose names are starting to blur. I need to start carrying around a Polaroid camera.) on the same courses. Freshers are still approaching me and calling me by my name, which I find bizarrely cheering - am I really so impactful in the lives of others?

The thing is - and I realised this only recently - I am. I mean not just me, obviously; my planet-sized ego is not sufficiently large that I think all interaction revolves around me. But everyone. Everyone is bouncing around like ping-pong balls and deflecting off each other. Our paths are continually altered by others, who are only brought into our paths because theirs were altered earlier on.

It's just interesting. We're not really in charge of ourselves. But we do affect lives, all the time, even in tiny ways. When you think about that....well. It's a bit scary.

Halloween's coming up. Maybe I could go to a party as the terrifying odds of non-existence, and give everyone a sense of joy in their lives. It'd be meta. Right?