Just Another Snarky Student Blog

November 3, 2007

Getting to class: is there one fastest way?

Filed under: bikers,classtime,hella slow walker,late,school,slow walkers,students,time,walking — justanothersnarkystudentblog @ 4:26 am

Paths, walkways, bridges, courtyards, circles, streets, construction detours, diagonals, bike lanes… ..which combination is the most direct route?!

Once on campus, I’m constantly calculating and recalculating what would be the fastest, most efficient way of getting from point A, my entry point, to point B, my destination point.

I enter somewhere along the south side of campus. Nearly all my classes are on the northeast side of campus. Usually I walk at a diagonal vaguely in the direction of my destination.

Sometimes I’ll alter my usual route by taking a slight right instead of the straight path, or cutting through a field instead of walking around, or going directly up a hill and along the top instead of entering a building and taking the stairs.

All these minor changes mean nothing without constant time-checks. I’m noting as the minutes tick away, calculating how far I have yet to walk, how long it should reasonably take to get to class, and how much time I have until I’m officially late.

It sums up neatly like this:

cT= Current Time ToL= Time until I’m officially late Tst= How long it should take to get to class

ToL-cT/Tst = How fast I need to walk

The rate at which I walk is directly effected by cT, ToL and Tst

So, sometimes I get to poke around at a stroll, stopping, pausing, getting things in and out of my bag and listening to calming music that I sometimes sing along with under my breath. Other times I simply must book it – resisting answering my ringing phone ’cause it’ll only slow me down, and selecting super-fast working out music on my iPod.

There is a certain synchronicity with my walking speed, the music on my iPod, and my ToL-cT/Tst ratio.

UC Berkeley paths, walkways and routes


September 27, 2007

Bus versus Car — one student’s struggle to get to class on time

Filed under: bus,car,classtime,college,commute,late,school,students,time lapsing,transportation,UC Berkeley — justanothersnarkystudentblog @ 12:39 am

As some of you know, I’m a student at the dreaded UC Berkeley. As a student at this proper institution, my tuition includes a semester long bus pass for the East Bay’s bus system, AC Transit. Thankfully, I have a Rapid Bus Line, specifically the “1R”, only three long blocks from my apartment. Directly in front of my apartment is a regular “1” bus line stop. I also have a car that is available to me.

Every day, I spend time debating, deciding and finally using one of my three options for getting to –and from– school.

So, the times it can take to get to school using three transportation types:

1R: Walk 3 blocks to bus stop. Once on the “1R” bus, it only takes 5 minutes to get to school. Exit bus at Telegraph and Bancroft, and walk to class for 7 minutes. Arrive feeling warm.

1: Walk 20 feet to bus stop. Once on the “1” bus, it only takes 10-12 minutes to get to school. Exit bus at Telegraph and Bancroft, and walk to class for 7 minutes. Arrive feeling slightly less warm.

Car: Walk 20 feet to car. Once in car, it only takes 7 minutes to get as close to school as possible. Park. Walk from car to school for 17 minutes. Arrive feeling very overheated.
Here’s the dilemma, as I’m sure you’ve gathered..

Is it better to walk the three blocks to the 1R stop, risking missing the 1 bus between stops?

Is it better to walk 20 feet to the 1 stop, and take longer to get to school?

Is it better to drive part way to school, park, and walk the rest of the distance?

There are several factors to consider in this bus-car-dilemma;

            *TIME — The bus is faster, but involves waiting and/or missing a bus by thirty seconds

            *MONEY — The bus is free. Gas costs money.

            *CONVENIENCE — The car is available for driving on my schedule.

            *GETTING VERY OVERHEATED — By walking quickly to class, body temperature inevitably rises.

            *LAZINESS — Driving initially takes less effort, but then longer walks to class takes more energy. Plus, books are                                             heavy.

So which is it?! Which factor ends up deciding my transportation path, each and every day?!

Well, I’ll tell ya.. it depends. ..and mostly on time:
If I’m running early (which happens, maybe, twice a week), I walk over to the 1R.

If I’m right on time (again, once a week), I walk right up to the 1 stop.

If I’m running late –or miss the bus– (which happens, easily, twice a week), then I hop in the car.

This is how it goes;

  1. Start getting ready for school
  2. Check time and bus schedule online (NextBus has GPS systems on buses to give accurate arrival times)
  3. Do mental calculation to when the next bus arrives minus how long it takes to walk to the bus stop
  4. Rush getting ready for school
  5. Check time and bus schedule again
  6. Feel panic start to rise as mental calculations show that you must be out the door in less than five minutes
  7. Throw last couple items together
  8. Put on shoes, check bag for phone, wallet, bus pass, school stuff and grab keys.
  9. Go to the bathroom, one last time
  10. Hear “hhhssshhhhch” of bus pulling up directly outside of building
  11. Curse self while still on toilet
  12. Re-check time and online bus schedule
  13. Note that the next bus doesn’t come for 15 minutes
  14. Say “screw it” to yourself, and take the car
  15. Drive.
  16. Park.
  17. Walk super-fast to school, swerving around pedestrians that get in the way
  18. Arrive to class incredibly overheated and barely on time

(Repeat the very next day.. and next day… and next… with minor variations.. )


If only I could park near a busline, then all my problems would be solved.

Oh wait, no they wouldn’t. That’s just one more set of mental calculations before my caffeine fix.




September 18, 2007

Reading for Fun: How to experience time lapsing without hallucinogins

Filed under: college,distraction,fun reading,guilt,reading,school,students,summer reading,time lapsing,unassigned reading — justanothersnarkystudentblog @ 4:10 pm

Girl reading a book under the covers

Do you remember the days of summer reading time? Endless library trips? Feeling like summer lasted years?

With all my college school work building up, I’ve been reminiscing about those long sunny days. At any given time, a kid could pick up a book, thumb through it for a couple of hours, and feel a sense of peace. Even though some precious summer time was dedicated to reading, it didn’t feel wasted. Quite the contrary – a bit of reading helped to magnify the greatness of every other summer activity: swimming, hikes, playing with friends and siblings, and simply being outdoors… under the expansive blue sky.

No More.

Ever since entering into college, my “fun reading time” has suffered unimaginably. Just the other day, I could not stand to read about “Literacy in the early 1900s” anymore, and “The development of gendered toys” was making me crazy. I could not stand to read about another GI Joe or dollhouse, and I rolled my eyes at the discussion of how slavery in the south allowed white children more leisure time (don’t get me wrong, all very interesting, but I needed a freakin’ break!).

So I did it.

I picked up an old favorite book I’d been eyeing on my shelf – The Running Man by Stephen King , and settled down to do some –much needed — fun reading. With no one else home, I stretched out on the couch and let myself become immersed in the story.

Before I knew it, hours had passed, and I had read 70 pages! Holy shit! 70 pages?! I need to do that much more homework reading for tomorrow! Ahhh crap.

This is how it goes:

  1. Do homework.
  2. You really want to take a break.
  3. Do more homework.
  4. Decide to take a break before your brain implodes.
  5. Look around your space – what else is there to distract yourself from homework?
  6. Identify fun book or magazine you’ve been putting off.
  7. Consciously say to yourself, “I should really be doing homework, not reading for fun.”
  8. Consciously say to yourself, “Fuckit. I NEED a break… I won’t let myself get distracted for long.”
  9. Read for fun.
  10. Somehow, a time lapse occurs and hours pass, unnoticed.
  11. Need to pee (or get thirsty, or the phone rings).
  12. Note the time.
  13. Consciously say to yourself, “whaa? How did that happen?! I thought I was only reading for a little while.. It’s been.. 2+ hours?! How is that possible?! Oh no! I need to get back to homework!!”
  14. Do homework.

This isn’t like some of the other college student cycles we’ve been through – because it won’t repeat right away. You’ll do homework until you feel like your brain will implode and you’ll allow yourself to be distracted by something else – the internet, a phone call, TV, but you won’t get back to that book. Somewhere in your mind, you are vaguely frightened that it stole so much of your time, without you even noticing. You may even shun the book, hurling it across the room (as I did, just the other day). But don’t fret. Soon you’ll forget… and pick it up again over the weekend.

THEN you’ll repeat.

70 pages of fun reading?

Dang, I coulda finished my homework in that amount of time.. and more!.. Stupid brain, needing a break. Gah!


September 14, 2007

Slow Walkers: Get out th’ way!

Filed under: classtime,college,hella slow walker,late,repetition,school,slow walkers — justanothersnarkystudentblog @ 3:34 am

   Hurry up, jerk! 


You know when you’re rushing to class along a main pedestrian thoroughfare at school, you speed up your step once you realize you are running late, only to nearly bump into a person walking hella slow in front of you?!   Slow person usually has their head slightly down, either listening to their effin’ ipods or on the phone, or both, completely oblivious to the fact that they are causing a bottleneck in the flow of the main thoroughfare. They don’t even realize that their hella slow walking caused you to slow down, which slowed down the person behind you, and so on. It is truly the hella slow walkers that cause major pedestrian congestion, which is the cause of everyone else being late.


I can’t help but wonder how these people get to class on time, EVER..

Then again,  I can’t help but wonder why I haven’t booted any slow walker yet… or led a herd of them off to a holding pen.




It goes like this:

  1. Note how much time until you are officially “late” for your next class
  2. Start walking towards class location
  3. Step up the pace, again, noting the time
  4. Come up behind a hella-slow-walker
  5. Swerve slightly to the left, trying to go around hella-slow-walker
  6. Swerve slightly to the right, trying to get around again
  7. Say “ugh!” slightly under your breath
  8. Swerve back to the left, nearly running into oncoming pedestrian traffic
  9. Twist body at weird angle to avoid walking face-first into oncoming pedestrian traffic
  10. Swerve back in front of hella-slow-walker
  11. Note how much time until you are officially “late” for your next class

Repeat. …and REPEAT.. and REPEATagain, and again…


It’s a wonder I get anywhere on time..

[maybe I should just start going around school with a flame thrower to clear my path]



September 10, 2007

You Can’t Text Message [during] Classtime!

Filed under: classtime,college,distraction,school,text messages — justanothersnarkystudentblog @ 2:27 am

Text McTextington

Class starts. Students across the room shuffle papers, accumulate pens, click open laptops, silence cell phones and begin their finger exercises for another hour-and-a-half stretch of work.

Oh, did I say work? I meant text messaging.

That’s right, text messaging.

There are plenty of inevitable events during each lecture or section: a student asks a question directly covered in the reading, another student (always in the middle seat of a middle row) decides to shuffle out for a bathroom break soon after the entire row gets settled, someone will startle their neighbors by forgetting to turn the volume down on their phone or computer, but more so, there are inevitably students who focus all their attention to text messaging.

…Inevitably: tap, tap, tap, tap

…Inevitably: beep, beep, beep, beep

…Inevitably: click, click, click, click

…Inevitably: flip open, flip closed, flip open, flip closed

It really amazes me that so many students send texts so absolutely consistently during class. Some of my peers actually just leave their phones open on their desks, staring down at the text message menu, desperately awaiting a response from their equally distracted friends.

Worse so, it is frightfully obvious what the students are doing. Some attempt to remedy this by holding the phones in their laps, but that just creates the illusion from the Professor’s perspective that a student is having an interaction with his crotch area and needs both hands to contain the situation.

To keep myself mildly entertained (..and yes, more than mildly distracted), I keep tally marks in my notebooks. One of my favorite tallies to keep is a “text message distraction” list that gets a tick every time a student who was actually taking notes and gets distracted by a text message. I only give a tick when students neglect class and focus their attention on the texting emergency.

This is how it goes:

  1. Student writes notes as Professor reviews concepts from last night’s readings
  2. Student hears buzz of cell phone indicating incoming text message
  3. Student drops pen, flusters those around her to shuffle bag and desk, gaining access to phone
  4. Student flips open cell phone, smirks, then looks around suspiciously
  5. Student begins madly responding to text via thumbs
  6. Student flips closed cell phone, drops it into bag
  7. Student looks around briefly, as if just noting that she is in class
  8. Student writes notes as Professor reviews concepts from last night’s readings

    ..and then? REPEAT… and then? REPEAT …and then?? REPEAT!

R U sick of click-click-click, 2?

Wut R U Doin?


Save your thumbs and just don’t come to class, okay?


September 9, 2007

Homework Guilt: Endlessly Interfering with Procrastination

Filed under: guilt,reading,school,writing — justanothersnarkystudentblog @ 12:24 am




Grade A Guilt  Neverending

Not even a mother instills guilt in the way that a big stack of unread reading does.

Those of us who have endless reading (and reading and reading) know the feeling…

You know the one.. it can only be said in French? Deja Vu.

(Here we go again… )

It creeps up on you, at first just a tickle in the back of your mind, then a minor distraction to your procrastination, then a full-body infliction: Homework GUILT.

You should be doing your reading (..and reading and reading)

You should be doing your writing (..and writing and writing)

..but sometimes you really, really, need a break, damnit!

That’s one of the endless troubles of being a student: when you’re not doing homework, you start to feel guilty.


This is how it goes:

1. Do homework.

2. Need momentary break.

3. Get distracted on break.

4. Feel guilty about taking break (and not doing homework).

5. Eventually get back to homework, if only to stop the overwhelming sense of self-destruction and criticism that comes with homework-guilt.


Sure, you’re only running down the hall to go pee (..but then you run into a friend and start chatting)

Sure, you’re only grabbing lunch a couple blocks over (..but then you remember you need new sunglasses)

Sure, you’re only taking a much-needed-break (..which turns into a marathon of seemingly welcome distractions: laundry, phone and the internet only being the start)


So, you ask, what is the single best way to eliminate homework guilt?

Never. Stop. Homeworking.

(Hey, I didn’t say you’d like it!)


The life of a college student: Your “free time” is never your own..

(..and I should get back to work!)



September 8, 2007

Reading, Redundancy & Repetition

Filed under: classtime,college,professors,reading,redundancy,repetition,school,UC Berkeley — justanothersnarkystudentblog @ 1:27 am

Let’s talk a little about the classes themselves.

Since it’s Cal, most of the professors are pretty damn smart. They’ve written in articles, books, academic journals, been featured in magazines, television and sometimes even movies. If you’re ever in a class here, be assured that you will hear the phrase “..and in my [book/article/journal] I argued..” because, well, they wrote it. …and you’re in their class on some related topic. But after some point, they’ve got to pretend to get over themselves. “Sure, I had dinner with Emeril last week, but I truly am glad to meet you”.

Don’t get me wrong — being taught by some of the brightest bulbs doesn’t turn me off, it’s the redundancy that gets my panties in a bunch.

This is how it goes:

  1. Read article written by Professor.
  2. Write reading synopsis for homework.
  3. Attend lecture focussed on same topic as homework article.
  4. Hear Professor use the phrase “.. and if you’ll recall from the [book/article] you read, I argued….”
  5. Start a tally of how many times the Professor says it again.

In the past weeks, I kind of get the feeling that being in class is less productive than sitting in a comfy chair and reading (and reading and reading and reading…. and reading) since about 2/3 of what my professors say is covered in their articles that we read for that week’s reading.

What is the point of me being caught up in my reading if they are just going to REPEAT what I just read and then turned my reading synopsis in on those very articles? Do the professors not realize that the assignment was to read and write about those very articles? THEIR articles? It is tempting to try to catch up on other class reading while the professor repeats what she had written.. that I already… read.. and wrote.. about….


Does anyone else’s head hurt from the redundancy, repetition, and.. redundancy? Wait, I think I’ve heard that from somewhere before..

Let me check my notes.


September 7, 2007

The Student is Mightier than the Sword.. or at least Sharper!

Filed under: reading,redundancy,repetition,school,UC Berkeley,writing — justanothersnarkystudentblog @ 8:31 pm

Here’s the reading for TOMORROW…

As I take a breather from my flood of reading that drowns me during my first week of my senior year at UC Berkeley, I thought, hey, what BETTER way to take a break, but to WRITE about the massive amount of reading I am subjected to on a daily basis. Gee, how refreshing. Writing… about reading.

I do get a massive kick out of stacking my books up in the center of my living room to see the physical girth that I will attempt to squish into my head – only, you know, hundreds and hundreds of pages. This week. Then I spread the books out in a horizontal line to see how far they stretch out- a nice visual to the way my head feels right now – absolutely stretched thin. …and it’s only week two. Go Cal!

To give you an idea of how much reading we’re talking about, here’s a couple pictures I uploaded from my camera phone:

Vertical hell o’ books and Horizontal hell o’ books

This is a little scary since I’m only taking four classes this semester, “only” being a laughable term because each class expects an unmanageable amount of work on its own, let alone the whole lot of them together.

And naturally, I can’t include pictures of the readings that are housed online. Oooh, don’t even get me started on that! Why would you do that to my eyes, Professor? Don’t you realize that I ALREADY WEAR READING GLASSES? Are you going to make me pay for my chiropractor, now, too? Ahhh! I do not want to lose my sight by reading a mass of online journals. I’d rather strain my eyes looking at porn, or, at the very least, online comics (xkcd, QC). Then I’d at least go blind while smiling..


Enjoy your eyes while they last.



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