Sunday, August 31, 2014

Not a first Draft - Communique from College of Wooster

Hello Sir,

I hope you are in good health. I regret not emailing you earlier but I voluntarily decided not to. Not that there was scarcity of work- first week of college and I spent two entire night working. My course load this semester has hit maximum that the college allows, and I can see why load beyond this is only permitted by Dean's consent. I wanted to have – ah, well, more material – as it comes to my mind – to write to you. 

The courses I will have this semester are 1) Calculus Physics I; 2) Calculus and Analytic Geometry I; 3) Philosophy: Ethics, Justice and Society; 4) First Year Seminar (FYS): How to Crush college; and 5) Global Engagement Seminar (an interdepartmental 8 week course). From the sight and value of it, this is indeed a diverse academic engagement for me. My FYS advisor- who is also going to be my academic advisor till I declare a major- is a neuroscientist and so in this course I will be learning about effective learning strategies and their relation to response and the changes of brain functions. So basically I will learn the art of learning. This is indeed very instrumental for my overall learning process, rather than just a course in college. The classes are engaging, and it is amazing to see how much the class content and discussion are propelled by student discussion and interaction- of course this is not the case for Physics and Math- where there are not things to "argue" about at this stage. But within the first week of the philosophy class we have covered Plato's Republic, Feinberg's take on Psychological egoism, Benedict's Moral Relativism, and the most recent one is Mackie's The Argument for Queerness. My roommate is also taking the same philosophy course with a different professor; it is surprising to see how different professors have included different philosophers for the perspective for ethics and society. However, Aristotle, John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx are quite omnipresent- Karl Marx kind of being the topic by which all teachers will end this semesters. The Global Engagement Seminar Class actually has no book- just online reading and class discussions. Sometimes there will be presentations of authors of books, attending which will be a part of our course- and this year the general theme is on China. 

At this point, it may seem weird for a prospective Math and Physics major to be talking of only courses that are so different in the nature of their disciplines - but I guess technical subjects demand more time to be actually more inclusive of "our wisdom". However, the start has been rough, but not at all dull. One thing I have found out that it is hard to be inclusive of both the empirical and non-empirical mode of thinking and be a friend of both. At this point I do not know if I can pursue both- but liberal arts do allow the flexibility to choose, which I am glad of.  

One thing I would regret is to not making a writing graded paper or research paper, cause the emphasis that they put on writing is beyond imagination. My first two Math assignments have been ESSAYS! Thus, the experiences of Anglophiles remain treasured, and I never realized till now, how much I would be willing to sacrifice at this point for someone to scream "Rejected", cause now it is quite upon me to realize what to reject, although the support systems in the college is great. Yet, it is more official rather than the intimate aura of the Anglophiles class. Nostalgia has never served me well, so this is what I will skip also this time. But Anglophiles has been a steep curve in the learning stage in my life- both the academic and the non academics. Although things here seem very intense, I can feel that my learning curve is headed not only to a steeper graph, but can start roughly close to where I have left. Nevertheless, it is hard to determine the end of the path for Anglophiles, for following the blog is still quite a routine activity for me. Maybe this is one of those things that do not fit into my model of a graph and demand more than quantitative assessment. Maybe the experiences I am leaving behind along the trail WHERE every minute will be best determined in the distant retrospect. I can only determine the empirical worth of Anglophiles at this point, but the non empirical one is also one I would continue to speculate about before coming to my "version" of it. 

Nevertheless, I can see that the application process is going really intense- sometimes I do grow a feeling of jealousy over the variety of readings that they are going through. This is, maybe, one of those things that one can be able to understand fully in retrospect- and the people going through the intense work may not be sharing my sentiments at this point. However, the worth of these things is very tangible and "empirical" in nature- so I wish the ongoing batch best of luck. At this point, I will avoid spending any more of your time. I will be keeping in regular contact, once I get a tighter grip on my time management skills. 

Best, 

Rahul. 


P.S. This has not been my first draft …

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