Just Another Snarky Student Blog

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 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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