Friday, January 3, 2014

Recap of the Fall Quarter

December 11- 13, 2013
*Warning: INCREDIBLY long post about each of my classes this past quarter. You have been warned
First off, I want to greet you all with a happy new year! Sorry for the lack of posting during this winter vacation! Surprisingly, I had an incredibly busy start to my vacation, and then when the holidays and new year came around, there seemed to be no space for buckling down to catch up on blog posts. But here I am, finally getting to it.

Plus, I will be going back to my apartment at school this Sunday before the winter quarter officially starts on Monday. Goodbye sweet, lazy vacation, I will be back in March. 

(And thus begins the onslaught of outdated pictures and blog posts about the past two weeks. Please bear with me).
 This quarter, I had my three finals occur at the end of finals week, one Thursday and two Friday (I did well in my Psychology class and aced it, so I didn't have to take the final! One less test I had to worry about). 

Pros of having all your finals at the end of the week during finals week when there are no more classes: -not having to endure the ice cold mornings to get to school
-sleeping in
-lounging around in PJs all day
-five day weekend (Saturday - Wednesday)

-Didn't see sunlight for three straight days (but eventually stepped outside Wednesday and Thursday night). 
-couldn't go home until the end of the week
-constantly worried about my grades during my free time
-didn't use my time as well as I would have liked during ALL that free time
-unwisely spent my nights staying up with Netflix instead of flashcards
-got jealous seeing Facebook and Instagram posts of other people already at home enjoying their vacation
-spent more hours on said social networks than I usually did during regular school hours

Yup. The Cons outweigh the Pros. Naturally.
Day 1, Thursday December 11, 2013: History of Interior Architecture
My first final was for my History of Interior Architecture class (which I used flashcards to study for. Things I learned in elementary, middle, and high school are actually handy). It's also the class I had to bundle myself up for in the above photo.

As a Design student who wants to focus on Visual Communication, I was hesitant on taking this class. However, my major is incredibly impacted, so classes fill up quickly and I needed to take classes for my major just to get requirements checked off my list. I've been keeping an open mind with classes I take, because I know I won't be able to get all the classes I want. Fortunately, this turned out to be a good quarter. Possibly the best one yet. 

This class opened up my eyes and gave me a newfound appreciation for the world of architecture. Now, whenever I encounter a new city, an unfamiliar setting, or just get hit by realization of a familiar building's features, I take time to observe and appreciate the little features and the design process that went into creating the building. I never had a care for buildings or architecture, but now, those skyscrapers, homes, classroom buildings, offices, and other spaces hold so much beauty and wonder in my eyes I never saw before. I learned so much from such a great professor who obviously has a passion for the Design world, that I know I can apply everything I learned into whatever career I choose. 

And that night, two of my housemates got sugar withdrawals, so we went on an impromptu frozen yogurt run. I felt daring and instead of getting my usual fruity flavors and toppings, I went with sweets and chocolatey goodness. The chocolate covered espresso beans probably helped me stay up to study for my last two finals the next day.
            Day 2, Friday December 12, 2013: Sustainable Design, and Introduction to Writing
Friday morning I had to make sure I got up in time for my 8am final for Sustainable Design. I had to make sure I had my tea to keep me caffeinated long enough to stay conscious to take my test. 

I am incredibly blessed to have taken this class. I got so much out of this class, I hope I continue to live by what I learned and share with others the chaos that is our society. The gross, ignorant lives we pursue harm our world, natural resources, and our future generations. The constant waste and trash we produce are never priorities in our minds, but they must. They just have to. Otherwise, we will be living in our own filth in the very near future. Just picture WALL-E's world, but sooner. Like possibly our generation sooner if we do not change our ways. 

Several appalling facts I've learned and have been made more aware of:
-appalling usage and waste of plastic bags and plastic water bottles
-harmful chemicals people consume from using plastic water bottles (so use reusable, BPA-free containers)!
-four ocean gyres exist, which circulate and breakdown a vast amount of plastics that filter through the aquatic food chain (and eventually to us humans)
-the largest concentration of BPA (an endocrine disruptor that causes obesity, heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and others) can be found in cash register receipts
-the plastic bag return containers in front of Safeway and other grocery stores do NOT actually recycle them; they don't get funded to do so, but only get funded to hold such containers outside their stores

And several inspiring, hopeful design innovations and ideas to hopefully lessen our global environmental problems:
-biodegradable packaging, to lessen the 10-second use of plastic packaging and prevent unnecessary waste
-biodegradable utensils, instead of plastic utensils
-energy and resource efficient textile production processes, such as ones that use less water
-increased awareness of upcycling (reusing materials and turning them into other products that actually have better quality than the original)
-we must design products and processes that create a closed loop system, meaning we need to be able to produce "waste" that can be returned to the earth to enrich it, not destroy it; basically Waste = Food

If you are interested in learning more about sustainability and ways we can redesign our world to help the earth instead of deplete it of its resources, I highly recommend the book Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. 
My second test that day, and last one of the quarter, wasn't until 3:30pm. So after I finished my Sustainable Design final around 9:30am, I headed over to my campus' coffee house and studied for my last test for my Intro to Writing. I ordered myself an early lunch (nachos), because waking up at 6:30am, instead of my usual 8am, my eating schedule shifted to much earlier times that day. 

My Intro to Writing class was necessary to be able to take another writing class I need for my Design major. I had mixed feelings entering the class. I knew I needed to take it, but I haven't felt as motivated or passionate in my writing as I was in high school. However, I looked forward to what I could learn in this class to help me improve. I definitely learned a lot about the process of writing, editing, and revising. I also learned different writing tools, terms, and techniques, such as being aware of genre, your audience, the ideas of pathos, logos, and ethos, and rhetorical analysis. Somehow I ended up with an A- in the class (I was just hoping to be able to pass), but despite the good grade, I know I have so much more to learn and so much more room for improvement. 
Even though I didn't have to take my Introduction to Psychology final, I have a need to express how much I appreciated the class. Because of this class, I am now more amazed by the complexity of the human being than ever before. I never realized, but I have always been intrigued by the way humans worked and the "why's" of our being. Several concepts, ideas, and myths have been explained, demystified, and debunked about the human being that I feel I have a stronger understanding of people than before. Of course, I am no Psychology major, but this one class has given me a lot of insight about why we are the way we are and why we think, act, and behave the way we do. 

All my energy, efforts, time, studying, and focus on my classes were all worth it. I felt more focused than ever this past quarter. I knew what to expect and had game plans to succeed. There was always room for improvement, but eventually ended up with three A-'s and an A+. Hopefully I can continue this trend for several more quarters. If not, I just hope I continue to gain immense amounts of valuable knowledge and experience that I can apply to my future career. 

If you have made it this far in this blog post, I commend you on your adventurous journey through my life during finals week. I just want to let you know, if you are still reading, that education, whether you are still in high school or considering a higher education, is extremely important and valuable. I never cared for school, and saw high school as this institution that made me trained to get into a good college so I could go to the next step of being able to obtain a steady job. However, it was in college that I realized that now that I am paying for my education, I should be able to study what I want. And fortunately, I am. 

In college, I came to realize and appreciate how learning and knowledge is incredible and a privilege that I must not take for granted. The amount of knowledge I have gained due to actually wanting to learn in this field I have chosen, has helped me grow so much as a person. I have been able to become a better, more responsible student, a more independent young womyn, and a more open-minded person. I hope to continue to grow through the classes I take, activities I join, experiences I encounter, and friends I cherish. I really hope and want the younger generations to realize that elementary, middle, or high school may not seem so great now, but endure whatever obstacles you may be facing. Because if you can get into the college you worked hard for, you will be able to learn and experience so much more that you will continue to change, grow, and evolve into a whole new person that you've been dreaming of becoming. Trust me.
Oh, and my early lunch on my last day of finals. NACHOS.

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