Thursday, January 20, 2022

January 20, 2022

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I’m trying the idea of morning pages, where I write three pages in the morning of whatever’s on my mind. It’s mostly for me, but I’m publishing them too because why not.

Good morning! It's 7:18am and I’m sitting in bed.

Remember what happened at the Capitol?

It’s one year from the inauguration, and that made me think of the U.S. Capitol attack a bit over a year ago.

The day after, I wrote in a homework assignment to my U.S. Government teacher that I thought we’d all start to forget about this pretty soon.

Kinda like that asian doctor they dragged off the United flight a few years ago. For a little while, I couldn't imagine ever flying United again. But not a year later, I did, without thinking twice. Or at least I think I did — it probably says something that I can’t even remember whether the plane I took was operated by United.

In any case, hasn’t your bubbling hatred over the U.S. Capitol attack died down a lot over the past year? Do you still think about it with the same vitriol that you thought you always would? I know I don’t.

Our collective attention moves fast, even though we think the world will always be as it is right now.

I don’t this this is necessarily a bad thing (it’s probably a necessary evolution for survival). Just something interesting to think about.

Parkinson’s Law

In sophomore year of high school, I half-jokingly coined the Borgers Law of Expansion. It described how work expands to fill the time that is allotted to it — like if you had two hours for a homework assignment that would usually just take one hour, this time it would take two hours.

A while later I discovered that Cyril Northcote Parkinson had published his own competing law in 1955:

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

In that moment, it was clear to me that Parkinson had stolen my idea.

In any case, whether you call this law by Parkinson’s or its more up-to-date name, I think I’m in danger of running up against it in the upcoming semester.

I was able to drop one class this semester, so I’m only taking four classes instead of last semester's five. And my schedule for the upcoming semester looks lighter, but I wonder if it’ll feel that way.

I feel like I rarely operate at the limits of my productivity. There are times when I get quite stressed, but that’s usually a feeling that isn’t accompanied by a real crisis. I’m never actually in danger of dropping something or simply not having time to do it.

So I wonder whether this new four-class workload will simply expand to take the same amount of space in my life as the old five-class workload will. I wonder whether any workload would expand to take the same amount of space in my life. Perhaps it’s about the part of my brain that this occupies, not the part of my day. I remember being stressed even over last summer, when I quite clearly had practically nothing I had to do.

As my roommate and I said last night about our respective selves, “maybe the problem is me.”

woo-hoo! new semester!

I’m gonna be very honest about something: I’m not excited about my classes.

The roster for this semester:

  • Data Structures (it’s computer science, so I’m interested, but I’m not particularly interested in data structures)
  • Bridge to Higher Mathematics (probably wouldn’t be terrible, but I can’t say I’m particularly attracted to proof-writing)
  • Chinese 4 (I’m conflicted about this one. I like the idea of being able to speak Chinese. But do I enjoy the class itself? Not particularly, I think)
  • Intro to World Music (to be utterly honest, this class seemed like a relatively interesting and painless way to get an Arts distribution requirement and the World Civilizations requirement under my belt)

Is that a bad thing? Does that make me a bad person? I’m genuinely not sure.

It’s not like I’m going to be unhappy in the upcoming semester — I’ll probably have a great time, because the periphery of college (the personal autonomy, living on a campus, with friends, with access to Boston and other friends there) is quite enjoyable. But that enjoyment won’t be from the classes, it’ll be despite them.

Does that make me a bad person? I don't know. Quite possibly, I should choose my classes better. And quite possibly, the future Computer Science classes that these intro classes unlock will be really interesting to me.

But for now, I should be honest with myself. I don’t hate these classes, but I don’t love ‘em either. They aren’t moldy grapes, but they aren’t crisp and chilled grapes either. They’re just soft, lukewarm grapes.

Addendum

I’ve finished writing this at 7:39am! It took only 21 minutes, all-inclusive, to write this. Although I will pull back the curtain a bit and admit that the first section, about the U.S. Capitol, came to me yesterday and I pre-wrote it. But! Improvement is improvement.