Author Topic: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@  (Read 7528 times)

Zalo

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Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« on: September 09, 2013, 01:49:14 PM »
So far I've signed up for Comp Sci 111, Music 111, Encounters with Nature, & Cityscapes.

I like the first two, and I might major in those fields (since I'd actually learn to program and compose/play music...as opposed to writing papers only a handful of people can actually understand or appreciate).

Speaking of which, the latter two classes have an inordinate amount of pretentious, jargon-full readings.

e.g.

"Succession and uniformity of parts are what constitute the artificial infinite. 1. Succession;
which is requisite that the parts may be continued so long and in such a direction, as by their
frequent impulses on the sense to impress the imagination with an idea of their progress
beyond their actual limits. 2. Uniformity; because if the figures of the parts should be changed,
the imagination at every change finds a check; you are presented at every alteration with the
termination of one idea, and the beginning of another; by which means it becomes
impossible to continue that uninterrupted progression, which alone can stamp on bounded
objects the character of infinity."


The whole point of writing is to clearly convey a message; is the verbosity above really necessary?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 03:46:59 PM by Zalo »

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2013, 02:03:34 PM »
College is a good intro to life. You have to go through a lot of bullsh*t to achieve something and then you question whether that achievement was even worth it?

What are you trying to get a degree in?

Zalo

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2013, 02:12:23 PM »
College is a good intro to life. You have to go through a lot of bullsh*t to achieve something and then you question whether that achievement was even worth it?

What are you trying to get a degree in?

At the moment I'm enjoying my computer science and music classes, so I am considering getting a degree in both of these subjects; it's highly doable, in less than four years too (if I take one or two extra classes a semester).
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 02:15:08 PM by Zalo »

Another Reader

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2013, 02:24:16 PM »
Don't they have curriculum requirements and counselors at these high falutin' liberal arts colleges any more?  They certainly had them when I went to college.....

rocklebock

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2013, 03:21:03 PM »
Everyone who gets a liberal arts education reads Edmund Burke. It's part of the canon. Wait till you get to post-structuralism.

Noodle

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2013, 10:27:31 PM »
For something written in 1757, that IS pretty clear and concise. You should read some of the stuff that isn't.

Welcome to college. You're reading original texts instead of textbook paraphrases. If you have a good prof, Burke is pretty interesting, especially if he/she talks about how the 18th century tried to apply scientific reasoning to everything, including art.

Yes, there are a lot of challenging texts in college, and frankly in some fields a lot of academese. But if you pay attention there are some interesting ideas buried in there...

gooki

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2013, 01:03:50 AM »
And the trick is not to end up like those authors.

fiveoclockshadow

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2013, 05:51:29 AM »
When there is no content or value to the writing the author is only left with verbosity and jargon. Usually when you see this you know you are wasting your time and should choose something else to read or study. There are certainly exceptions, but in general it is a sign to walk the other way quickly!

oldtoyota

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2013, 08:03:27 AM »
College is a good intro to life. You have to go through a lot of bullsh*t to achieve something and then you question whether that achievement was even worth it?

What are you trying to get a degree in?

At the moment I'm enjoying my computer science and music classes, so I am considering getting a degree in both of these subjects; it's highly doable, in less than four years too (if I take one or two extra classes a semester).

Sounds like Oberlin to me.

teen persuasion

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2013, 09:56:54 AM »
College is a good intro to life. You have to go through a lot of bullsh*t to achieve something and then you question whether that achievement was even worth it?

What are you trying to get a degree in?

At the moment I'm enjoying my computer science and music classes, so I am considering getting a degree in both of these subjects; it's highly doable, in less than four years too (if I take one or two extra classes a semester).

CSC must be different at your college than the one I attended.  Where is your Calc I & Physics I?  I know I needed both of those my first semester to stay on track.  What is your school's "normal" class load per semester?  I'm more accustomed to 5 classes per semester.  Or are you on a trimester system?

GuitarStv

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2013, 10:02:15 AM »
I ran into this problem in some of my electives as well.  Particularly in classes related to philosophy . . . it seemed that due to the imprecision of language, it was vitally important to construct an argument in such a way that it's meaning was precise.  This requires a certain level of verbosity.  It made sense, but wasn't something that interested me much.

That said . . . classes with names like 'Encounters with Nature' and 'Cityscapes' . . . those may be valid fields of study, but just going by the name, they sound like they've got a core of valueless fluff.  Your excerpt seems to be inline with that assumption.

brand new stash

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2013, 10:14:34 AM »
I'd highly recommend that if you are torn between music and computer science that you major in computer science...even if you continue to take several music classes.  It is just a much more marketable degree, but also won't hamper you from working in music in the future.

livetogive

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2013, 12:17:23 PM »
I felt the EXACT same way when I read papers like that. I still pisses me off to no end.

The only thing I take solace in is in the military, the biggest ninjas I ever worked with never had to tell me they were ninjas.  In school and the civilian world, the smartest people I've ever met never had to tell me they were smart.

So when someone writes like that, i interpret it as them trying to tell me they are smart and therefore they probably aren't.

historienne

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2013, 01:21:10 PM »
Yes, the quote is unwieldy.  Because it was written 250ish years ago, and writing styles have changed since then.  But part of getting an education is figuring out how to read and get useful ideas and information out of a range of materials, including older texts.

Frankly, you sound like you think you are smarter than Edmund Burke.  That's not a productive attitude to take into your education.  Maybe consider that there's a reason people are still reading and thinking about Burke's writings more than two centuries later, and make a sincere effort to find the value in them. 

Jamesqf

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2013, 01:28:52 PM »
I ran into this problem in some of my electives as well.  Particularly in classes related to philosophy . . . it seemed that due to the imprecision of language, it was vitally important to construct an argument in such a way that it's meaning was precise.  This requires a certain level of verbosity.  It made sense, but wasn't something that interested me much.

There is some of that, but it isn't the whole truth.  The sad fact is that a lot of it, particularly in areas like philosophy & literary criticism, IS BS.  Or, as Sir Peter Medawar put it in reviewing Teilhard de Chardin's "The Phenomenon of Man":
Quote
Yet the greater part of it, I shall show, is nonsense, tricked out with a variety of metaphysical conceits, and its author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself.

But of course, if you want to get a passing grade in these courses, you must obey the precautionary moral of "The Emperor's New Clothes", and never, ever suggest to the instructor or fellow students that it is BS.  Instead, visit a local farm and collect a good helping of fresh BS to serve them :-)

olivia

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2013, 01:33:47 PM »
Yes, the quote is unwieldy.  Because it was written 250ish years ago, and writing styles have changed since then.  But part of getting an education is figuring out how to read and get useful ideas and information out of a range of materials, including older texts.

Frankly, you sound like you think you are smarter than Edmund Burke.  That's not a productive attitude to take into your education.  Maybe consider that there's a reason people are still reading and thinking about Burke's writings more than two centuries later, and make a sincere effort to find the value in them.

Ditto this.  You're in college to learn, so learn.  Try being open to new subjects and experiences.  I know it's hard to believe, but you actually don't know everything at age 19!

RMD

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2013, 01:55:42 PM »
I will add, in some instances it is not so far removed from the business world.

I have a coworker in India who is a gem.  She and I communicate very well over IM. When she writes an email that may be for a larger audience she goes uber formal and I have to break it down section by section in order to understand what she means.  Meaning you very well may have to communicate with someone who has a *very* different writing (or general communication) style than your own.

And lastly...if you want to win, you have to play the game, even if the game is stupid.

Victorious Secret

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2013, 02:03:53 PM »
Yes, the quote is unwieldy.  Because it was written 250ish years ago, and writing styles have changed since then.  But part of getting an education is figuring out how to read and get useful ideas and information out of a range of materials, including older texts.

Frankly, you sound like you think you are smarter than Edmund Burke.  That's not a productive attitude to take into your education.  Maybe consider that there's a reason people are still reading and thinking about Burke's writings more than two centuries later, and make a sincere effort to find the value in them.

Ditto this.  You're in college to learn, so learn.  Try being open to new subjects and experiences.  I know it's hard to believe, but you actually don't know everything anything at age 19!

Fixed ;)

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2013, 02:12:20 PM »
And lastly...if you want to win, you have to play the game, even if the game is stupid.

Or you just withdraw your consent and create your own game for people to play. That is a win.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 02:59:59 PM by Mr.Macinstache »

RMD

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2013, 02:24:39 PM »
And lastly...if you want to win, you have to play the game, even if the game is stupid.

Are you just withdraw your consent and create your own game for people to play. That is a win.

True.  Just be prepared in case no one wants to play your game.  I tried it and no one wanted to play my game.  I tried a couple different games.  Finally determined that it wasn't much fun playing by myself, so I had to suck it up and jump through the hoops.  I wouldn't trade the experiences for anything...but I'd be much farther along my FI journey had I just done what I was too stubborn to do int he first place.

beltim

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2013, 02:31:19 PM »
Yes, the quote is unwieldy.  Because it was written 250ish years ago, and writing styles have changed since then.  But part of getting an education is figuring out how to read and get useful ideas and information out of a range of materials, including older texts.

Frankly, you sound like you think you are smarter than Edmund Burke.  That's not a productive attitude to take into your education.  Maybe consider that there's a reason people are still reading and thinking about Burke's writings more than two centuries later, and make a sincere effort to find the value in them.

I'm not surprised the author of this comment is "historienne," and I agree with it completely.  Part of a good education is reading original materials rather than regurgitated (or worse, slanted) summaries. 

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2013, 03:03:36 PM »
And lastly...if you want to win, you have to play the game, even if the game is stupid.

Are you just withdraw your consent and create your own game for people to play. That is a win.

True.  Just be prepared in case no one wants to play your game.  I tried it and no one wanted to play my game.  I tried a couple different games.  Finally determined that it wasn't much fun playing by myself, so I had to suck it up and jump through the hoops.  I wouldn't trade the experiences for anything...but I'd be much farther along my FI journey had I just done what I was too stubborn to do int he first place.

Success is not a fork in the road...its a series of failures. Maybe I got lucky, but I was determined. I played, got my degree and it has been a great investment. But mine was more of a trade learned, vs a piece of paper upon graduation.

Jamesqf

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2013, 12:25:25 AM »
Frankly, you sound like you think you are smarter than Edmund Burke.  That's not a productive attitude to take into your education.  Maybe consider that there's a reason people are still reading and thinking about Burke's writings more than two centuries later, and make a sincere effort to find the value in them.

Ditto this.  You're in college to learn, so learn.  Try being open to new subjects and experiences.  I know it's hard to believe, but you actually don't know everything anything at age 19!

Fixed ;)

Ironic, seeing that Burke wrote "On the Sublime and Beautiful" before he was 19 (per Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Burke )

rubybeth

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Re: Liberal Arts College Update/Academic Papers Seem Like Bull%#$@
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2013, 10:09:04 AM »
I like the first two, and I might major in those fields (since I'd actually learn to program and compose/play music...as opposed to writing papers only a handful of people can actually understand or appreciate).


The whole point of writing is to clearly convey a message; is the verbosity above really necessary?

I was an English major and currently work in a library, and would argue that there is no one single reason for writing. Sometimes it is to clearly convey a message, but sometimes it's just to make you think about or feel something (see: novels and poetry). Philosophy is similar, I think, in that you will read things you disagree with, it will challenge your notions, and you'll question yourself and the writings, which will make you a better critical thinker. There are many other reasons to write, of course, which I won't even try to list out for you, but think about your notion that writing is only to convey a message clearly.

I would also argue that you need to get all the practice you can get at writing well and clearly, using a professional and well-developed vocabulary (tip: reading helps develop that vocabulary, and not just reading stuff on the internet, but reading Burke and other stuff from hundreds of years ago, and especially reading stuff you wouldn't pick up on your own). I had very good writing training during high school, and so when I got to college, writing papers was a breeze. Sure, there were a few literary analysis type papers where I didn't really care much for what I'd read, but I was able to find value in them and write the papers, anyway. It seems I had to write a paper for just about every single class from geology to women's studies to history to music appreciation. All that practice has come in handy my entire life. I only had one test in the whole of graduate school, the rest was projects and papers. And in your working career, regardless of what job you end up with, you'll likely have to write all kinds of things that only one or two people will read, but it will be critical that your message is clear and that you can convey yourself well. I can't tell you how many supposedly "professionals" I work with who have trouble writing clear e-mails/memos. Seriously, it's shocking to me and completely abhorrent, but there it is.

Pro tip: visit your school's library and get help on projects/papers from the librarians there. Seriously.