A Philosophical Friday Five

A philosophical Friday Five:

1. What is your opinion on karma? I believe in karma to a degree. In many cases, I’ve done something spiteful and then had something happen to me right away, like laughing at someone who’s gotten hurt and then tripping myself. As my mom puts it, “God doesn’t like ugly.” The feeling that my good deeds will not go unnoticed keeps me doing them. I’m not saying that people should only do good things because they’ll get something in the end, but it is an incentive.
2. If anything, do you think attitude makes any difference? If you believe the world and life are good, will good things radiate toward you? If you believe otherwise, will it all be a self fulfilling prophecy? Attitude affects everything. When you “wake up on the wrong side of the bed” and start the day in a bad mood, it seems like everything is negative, like the whole world’s against you. If you try to keep a positive attitude even when crap happens, things won’t seems quite as bad.
3. How has luck/chance/facts-of-life/God/karma/nature treated you so far? Last year? Like crap. This year? Not so bad. I started out in a woe-is-me, my-life-sucks mood, but gradually I got over it. I still don’t feel quite assimilated, but I’m much better than I was before.
4. What is your opinion of the concept of destinies? I believe God has a path for all of us to follow. Sometimes the path gets very, very steep, but it’s never steeper than you can climb. And once you’ve gotten past that hill, you’re stronger for having climbed it. We aren’t meant to know what the path looks like, but we’re going to be on it until we die, and maybe after.
5. Are both bad and good things needed in order to truly live life? Can you have the bad without the good? The good without the bad? I fully believe in Taoism (Daoism), and the concept of the yin and yang. The world is a combination of opposites: man and woman, night and day, good and evil. Without one, we’d have no perception of the other. How would we know it was dark if we’d never seen light? How do you know something is hot if you’ve never felt cold? There’s no basis for comparison. The eternal balance and struggle of opposites make the world go ’round.

Yesterday was the First Look Fair on McKeldin Mall. It’s like a club fair, basically. I had to walk through it the first time, on my way to math class, but then I went back for a good look. I saw a lot of Bible study groups. I ran into BG again, at the NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) table. If I was still interested in engineering at all, I’d have signed up for the listserv. As it was, I only signed up for America Reads/ America Counts, the Sign Language Club, and the Maryland Academic Quiz Team (MAQT). Sign Language Club sounds really interesting. The idea of a language communicated using body movement exclusively is fascinating. It brings a whole new meaning to “body language”. The girl at the table told me that they take trips to Galludet (the university for the deaf in DC) and go out to have “silent dinners”. It’d be weird to have a whole dinner conversation without saying a word. I saw a man signing on the Metro a few weeks ago. I’ve always wanted to learn to sign properly. I use my hands a lot when I talk anyway; sign language would just put them to good use.

MAQT scares me. The girl at the table seemed very nice. She said they’re always looking for girls, and their vice president (or maybe it was the president) is actually taping the Jeopardy! College Championship next month. MAQT could be my ticket in! Despite the sparse table decorations, I signed up for the listserv, took a flier, and went on my way. Once I read the flier and checked out their site, I was totally intimidated.

If you are not familiar with [academic] competitions, imagine Jeopardy! with harder questions, more players, and the ability to buzz in and make Alex shut his hole in the middle of the question.

I like Alex.

I told Greg about my considering joining MAQT last night. “They all seem so much smarter than me,” I said. He doesn’t think I’ll like it. I’m willing to give it a shot. I was a bit intimidated when I first started playing It’s Ac, too. Sure, I’m not great at it, but we did take second on tv last year. And, as usual, there’ll be other people to pick up my slack, if you think of it like that. They practice twice a week (another similarity to It’s Ac), so I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle the commitment, but I’m willing to try. I haven’t even been watching Jeopardy! lately. I miss my show. I think Ken’s still around, though. It was news when he hit the million mark; it’ll be news when someone finally beats him. The giant-killer. I would love to be that person. Ken, you’re great, but go home. Please.

I got my psyc exam back: I got a 94! Yay! Sure, that was 89 plus 3 extra credit points and a slight curve, but who cares? It says “A”, so I’m happy. My professor wondered if she made the exam too easy, or if we just studied well, or if she’s just a good teacher. I think it was about right. Not too hard, not really too easy. But it doesn’t matter, ’cause I got an A! (Feel the non-sarcastic excitement.) For my first college exam ever, that’s very supportive. I have a math exam Monday, so I’ll get a feel for how my grades should really look, but still. That made me very happy. And my cold is basically gone. More yay!

Geography sucks. We discussed waves in lecture yesterday, which was nice because I knew what he was talking about. I must have retained more info from Witko than I thought. Today in discussion, though, we had a quiz. I’ve been doing the reading. Or rather, I’ve been reading. It’s mind-blowingly dry. How can anyone expect college undergrads to absorb twenty pages on estuaries? When we went over the second article in class, I got a feeling for what the main concepts are, what we were supposed to learn. (Doesn’t mean I learned it, though.) For the third article, three students gave a presentation on the article, which I tuned out just like while I’m reading them. I can’t help it. You’d space out, too. It’s so boring, I can read the same paragraph three times (in mid-afternoon, so I’m not drowsy) and still feel like I’m not getting it. I was lost on most of the quiz, unfortunately. There was a lot of uncharacteristic guessing going on. It hurt to think “that sounds about right” instead of “I remember that” when I chose an answer, but that’s how it was. I hope I didn’t fail. I haven’t failed anything in a long, long time.

I managed to socialize a bit this week. Monday night, I went to dinner after my HH seminar with Hana, Rebecca, and Megha, some girls from my floor. I had fun. Megha talked about being a “crazy Indian vegetarian,” reminding me of someone I know and heart. Wednesday, I had lunch with Anita and Chris M. after geography lecture. It was nice to not eat alone. Last night, I went to watch Paycheck with some people in Adrienne and Danielle’s room. The movie was pretty good. Lots of action. I liked being around people, even though it started to smell after a while. I didn’t really notice it, but the fans weren’t on and the door was closed. Another girl showed up about halfway through the movie and started coughing when she stepped in, so she doused us all with air freshener. It smelled much better after that.

I came back and watched the season premiere of ER after Paycheck. There was not enough Shane West, and he grew out his hair. I preferred it short, a la Landon in A Walk to Remember. I still identify with Neela.

Greg’s coming over later. I’m not sure what we’re going to do. I had the urge to be outside today, so in my two-hour break between classes, I sat on the mall and read. It was nice. These four walls are starting to drive me crazy. That never happened at home, but then again, I spent the majority of my time in school, rather than holed up in my room dozing off over geography.

I’ve gotten two telemarketer calls on my dorm phone line. How did they get that number?



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