Podcasting Start-up Woes

Well! This could just be me being ignorant to the ways of podcasting, but as it seems, I, nor any one else, seems to be able to listen to my podcast!

So, for those of you interested in starting your own podcast and wanting to know the problems I’m having – it’s with PodOmatic.com

I have two screens that I have found that should, in theory, allow me – or any one else – to listen to the podcast.

podOmatic1 podOmatic2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have clicked on everything I can think to click on – and I can’t figure it out! If any one has any ideas, you should let me know! I tried logged into my account, and logged out. My mother tried on her own computer, which runs Windows XP, while mine is run on Windows 8.1. We have tried it on Firefox and Chrome. I even had someone not even in the same town give it ago. No bueno so far.

I sent a request to fix the problem, and got an automatically generated email, as is to be expected. However, as I read it, it went on to inform me:

“we cannot guarantee support to our BASIC members, but we do try our best to read and respond to as many as possible.”

I’m a “basic” member since I’m just trying this all out. I’m glad to know where I rank.

So! at this point, PodOmatic does not have my vote!

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Dissapointment

My grades for the quarter are in. I wasn’t even going to look at them, and I’m still rather offended. I thought I had done well enough on that paper re-write to warrant at least an A-, or maybe even a B+. Nope. I got a B.

That left me with a 3.83 for the quarter, and lowered my overall GPA to a 3.95. I’m so offended. I worked so hard on that re-write, and she didn’t even email me after reading it to tell me what she thought so that I could at least be prepared for it.

a 3.95. I’m sickened.

Podcasting? Why not

Welp. I got bored….started a podcast. I’m not really sure why. I just thought I’d try it out, see where it gets me. If you’d like to hear my annoying an nasily voice, get a better understanding of the sound behind the typing, here ya go:

Episode 1

Are you excited?

A Less on on Financial Aid

I’ve been freaking out a little bit the last couple of weeks–not just because of finals, but because I discovered that I don’t have enough Financial Aid to cover the next quarter (spring quarter). As it stands, I think I’ll be owing about $300 towards tuition, and I still need to get books on top of it.

There are of course ways around the book issue – things I’ve gone over in the past such as doing homework in the library, buddying up with a class-mate, or trying to find a free download of it online. I’m not too terribly worried about the book situation since none of them seem to be text books proper (except my French book, but it’s the same one I’ve been using all year), and thus aren’t insanely expensive.

Since I found out that I wasn’t going to have enough to cover my classes, I made the game plan to throw it all on a credit card and have been applying for scholarships to pay it back. Whether or not it will work, I have no idea, but at least I can say that I have tried.

I finally stopped in to the Financial Aid office to find out just why I didn’t have enough. They said that I had maxed out on what I could get from FAFSA that wasn’t a student loan. I asked if it was because I was working in the Writing Center and was getting paid via Work Study. They told me that wasn’t the case either. In fact, it was that I had gone to school full-time during the summer quarter.

Now listen up, this is important: FAFSA expects you to take summer quarter off. So when you decide that you do want to go to school during the summer so it doesn’t take you as long to get through school, they take from your grants at the end of the school year – spring quarter.

The moral of the story is if you want to go to school during summer quarter, apply for scholarships to cover the last quarter of the year earlier.

Learning to Re-Write

This might be beating a dead horse, bit at the end of the day, while the experience was disheartening and infuriating, I managed to learn quite a bit from being told to completely start from scratch and re-write my exposé.

The assignment was to write about anything we wanted as long as it related back to the sources of the class (in this case, a Japanese film called Doppelgänger, a Hungarian take on Kafka’s Metamorphosis, a literary and satirical re-write of the latter source called “Samsa in Love,” a novel by Italo Calvino called The Cloven Viscount, and another novel by Tahar Ben Jelloun called The Sand Child. We also had an introduction to French philospher, Henri Bergson, and his ideas on the mind.

I saw a great many connection to a great many things, which was my down-fall. I wanted to write about all of them. I wanted to map out each path that one idea that was not a source, and how it lead to each of the sources, and the underlining messages. That is absolutely fine – if you have around fifty pages to play with. But how do you get through all the ideas that I had, explain them in full, in the ball-park of ten pages?

Well, you can’t–which is what I promptly learned.

The part that really stung was saying that I hadn’t been scholarly about it, or that my paper wasn’t scholarly. That really bothered me, since I knew my ideas were good. Since scholarly is what I strive for, it was a harsh reality to hear that I had fallen so short. I was determined for this re-write to create something in-depth and of worth. Yet every time I thought of Word, or sat down at my computer and opened a blank Word document, I cringed. There seemed to be nothing scholarly about this program.

But why? This is a program that I cannot live without, that has been my best friend since I began writing stories. This program has never failed me, and has provided constant support and new tools for organization with each upgrade. Why is it now that I felt myself to be in such contempt of it?

I opened up my document with my former essay on it, and cringed inwardly. The large font, the double-spaced lines–it all seemed so childish. I wanted nothing to do with it. I promptly closed it.

From there I opened a journal, and remembered that once upon a time, I enjoyed hand-writing everything first, and then typing it. It was this method that got me some progress. With a nice sharp pencil and a blank spiral, I copied notes, poured reflections, and made comments on my own ideas to myself. However, this was short-lived. I still needed to get my scrawlings into a digital format, and the farcically juvenile words streaming from the cursor mocked me and shook rattles at me. There was no way that I could go into the depths of philosophy cemented by the linguistic artistry of Ben Jelloun with this!

All texts that were bound in the antique-scented pages of scholarly books had an air of sophistication to them without even trying. They held their own agency without even needing to be opened. Just what was it that warranted the write to be put to paper, yet my words did not?

The answer was simple. Stupid, even. Yet it worked. It absolutely worked. It was my own mentality that I was getting hung up on, and I just needed to trick it.

I formatted my document to Times New Roman (because there is no more appropriate font, ever), single-spaced and font-size 10.

That was all it took. I threw all my notes and reflections on the screen and began organizing and re-writing. I wrote three and a half pages in this format before I selected everything, double-spaced it and vamped it up to font-size 12, only to see that I had completed my 10 page mark. I shrank it back down and continued to work.

This to me was an excellent example of how words are more than words–that is, that words need to be more than just the sounds that are made when they come out of our mouths, or the symbols inked onto a page. They are the size, the font, the spacing.  The message isn’t just the letters, but the lay-out of the page, the implication behind the texts that they can be related to. There is so much more than simply pushing buttons on a keyboard.

I’m absolutely terrified to see what my teacher’s response is to my essay. While I know that I hit closer to the mark than with my last essay, I am afraid that she’ll see flaws that I didn’t see, that she will point out holes that I didn’t quite close. However, I can say that I wrote a piece that I’m prouder of. I can say that I did my homework, and put the energy it deserved into it, and I learned to look at things a different way as well. I know this is the third entry of me talking about this essay, but this experience was huge for me, and something I feel that other writers will come across in their lives, at one point or another. And I want to share that it is possible to get around it, grow from it, and that they shouldn’t be dismissed as the teacher being a harsh critic (though that is the case, there’s some constructiveness to be heard as well). I just hope that I can remember this for the essays I need to write in the future.

A full year

Done! I have finally turned in my paper re-write for my last class. I am officially done with winter quarter 2015. But! More excitingly, I’m done with my first completed year of College.

While I, of course, started the blog with high hopes of continuing on with my education to meet high goals and the like, in all honesty, there was a part of me that doubted I would stick through it as long as I have – never mind doing as well as I have, thus far.

What’s more, I also didn’t think I’d keep to this blog for so long either. I’m as surprised as you are! – well, probably more, since you probably had no projection of how long I would continue with this. 

This quarter though, I don’t think that I’m going to get the 4.0 I’m after. There’s a part of me that has an inkling of hope that my essay is superbly amazing and she decides to give me an A in the class any way, but I’ve been busy coming to terms that this will be my one quarter that my feet dragged and that I can continue to be 4.0-amazing after this quarter.

While I did quite a bit of whining and complaining about the paper re-write, and in my last entry about it I might have been portraying a more positive attitude that I was in fact feeling, I actually do appreciate that she allowed me the re-write, and having actually compiled a whole new paper, I see exactly what she meant. My ideas were not focused, nor were they scholarly (though the potential was there), nor was it organized. For my new paper I chose a topic closer to the sources, did research that involved reading an article in French (though I didn’t really use it, it was just a good way to combine studying for my French final and working on this paper), and several analyses on French philosopher Henri Bergson. I felt better for it, and wrote a paper that I feel that I can be proud with, however dull the connections were that I made.

I also spoke a little bit with my boss in the Writing Center about my Humanities teacher’s idea of what an essay was (see my whole rant on the subject here). My humanities teacher told me that my paper consisted of my ideas with the sources used to support them, and it should be reversed. I brought this to my boss at the Writing Center, questioning if there was something I had been missing all this time (trying really hard not to complain, but just inquire), and she explained it as joining a conversation. Your ideas are joining in the conversation between the sources. When I looked at the paper from that angle, I felt more capable of meeting the expectations of my humanities teacher.

Either way, this nightmare of a quarter is done. Each quarter has seemingly gotten more and more stressful, but when I complete each one, I feel prouder of what I’ve achieved. I think back to my high school self and just smile. I have learned a lot about what I am capable of and what I can endure.

I went into college vowing not to make any friends because I didn’t want any distractions – I’ve made amazing friends every quarter I’m there, and am grateful for them – both staff and students. They have been amazing support in my education and my sanity.

There have been some devastating occurrences over the past year, some that I’m still angry/hurt over, but as far as my education goes, I have had an amazing year, and found myself in realms that I never thought possible for myself – seriously contemplating an Ivy League university, for one thing.

As my friend would point out, it’s amazing what happens when you just say yes to the Universe.

Shattered Mirror

It’s amazing the amount that is assumed of a student, and yet the extraordinarily petite amount a student is allowed to assume. We are expected to know just what the numbers attached to a class means – the difference between 95 and 141 isn’t a scanning number. Or the difference between a scholarly presentation and a speech. What are all of these things? Of that those that teach a higher level of a discipline view the lower levels as child’s play, instead of respecting them for the building blocks that they are.

Perhaps I’m being unfair, discrediting the rest of the faculty for the sternness of one member. Though really, this is an opportunity to shine, should I play my cards right.

I didn’t know what an Honors class was. I knew that it got me a sash on graduation day. That was what I knew. I knew that it looked good on a college transcript and was a way to get closer to my graduation two credits a quarter faster. That was what I knew.

Entering into my first honors class – Humanities 295, I learned that it was a class that only required one assignment – to which I rejoiced! One assignment is a cake-walk! Granted, it meant that we still had to read through two books and have valuable class participation, but I could pump out a ten page paper – no problem.

Of course, as the class went on, it was no longer just a paper. We would also need to give a presentation on our paper. But, she told us, we needn’t worry too much, since it was quite acceptable for us to simply read our paper for the class if we didn’t feel comfortable otherwise. However, we should aim for ten minutes or so.

The class was on the Duality of the self, or – as I learned today – more than duality, the fractured self. The class itself is called “The Self as Other.” We were told to write a paper on anything we wanted as long as it related to the title of the course and the material read. Sound like any other paper. Though instead of 3 pages we should aim for 10 pages.

This is a huge subject, and open for a lot of opportunity. I put a challenge to myself, and decided to write about occult, and Aleister Crowley’s idea of the True Will – simply because I wanted to see if I could get away with it in a class.

This was not the class to experiment in.

The evening after I gave my presentation, I received an email from my professor saying, “I have not read your paper yet, but I think you need to re-write it.”

I’ll wait a minute while you re-read that last sentence. Take as much time as you need.

After a bit of back-and-forth emailing, I gathered an idea of what she meant, and we set up a time to talk about it – which was earlier today. I just came from the meeting.

It was an interesting interaction of continuous contradictions (If you want, you can read that sentence again too, simply because it was fun to write). I learned that The way I’ve been learning to write papers -that is, to have an idea that ties into the theme of the material presented by the teachers and use the sources to support your idea – is backwards, and that we should be supporting the ideas of the sources with our ideas….which sounds to me a lot like regurgitating ideas with no room for originality to me.

I was told as follows:

  • that my idea related not at all to the focus of the seminar, which was the duality of self. After talking with her a bit, she eventually saw that it did relate, however, I should throw it out any way, start over from scratch – but don’t get rid of my paper, because the ideas in there, if expanded upon, would be great for a doctoral thesis someday.
  • Don’t look at my paper, write my ideas down first, then find supporting quotes in the book (even though the sources, according to said professor, should be supported by my ideas, not the other way around). However, have a look through my paper for ideas, and pull out paragraphs that I think might work in my new thesis.
  • Write my thesis first – something she said she would never do since papers never work well that way, but I should do that.
  • No one is judging during the presentation, it’s purely for sharing of ideas with the classmates (just wait for it…)

There is of course a chance that I completely misunderstood what she was trying to tell me – let’s be fair here. And at the end of the day, she is giving me the opportunity to re-write it. We spoke for a very long time, until finally she asked if I had any questions. The fated moment came:

“Is it at all possible – if I write everything up to snuff, to your standards – that I can pull an A from this.”
“Well, I wouldn’t think so. The presentation was part of your grade, and it didn’t relate to the subject matter because your paper didn’t relate to the subject matter.”

I could feel myself going red.

“Is that a problem? A B isn’t bad,” she added.
“I’ve never had anything less than an A.”
“Oh….Well, you’re not going to get an A based on that, but I can relate. I had a teacher do the same thing to me when I was an undergrad, and I left his office and promptly went to the lady’s room to cry. This must be quite a shock to you then.” Then, “You do seem to be holding it together alright though.”

This was further from the truth. I had every intention of sitting in my car and crying, and was just trying to remain composed until I could make it that far.

I explained to her that a lot of her expectations were things I wasn’t aware of simply because I hadn’t been exposed to them, nor had she voiced her expectations.

“Well, that’s the problem with community college, some people have been exposed and know what they are, and some people haven’t.”

A lot of these responses I hadn’t the faintest idea what to do with. I don’t really know what I was expecting. I didn’t know how I would respond if I was in her place either. So, I suppose that I can’t view her responses as unreasonable, though I can say that I felt they were without guidance.

She did give me options, but they were vague enough to be even be interpreted as to leave my paper as is.  That’s an exaggeration, of course.

I’d like to say I left feeling deflated, though my continuous state of being in a rush kept anything from being able to be felt. I didn’t even cry once I got to my car. Somewhere under all those words I heard the underlying message: She did believe I could do better, and not because my paper was subpar. She knew I had ideas, and that I could create something of worth from them.

Whats more, for the first time I felt like I was in University, and understood the difference. Of course I’m in community college, but I realized that this was what University was going to be like – scholarly papers expected instead of the fluff pieces I came up with for my other English classes.

The souring part is that I left feeling disdain myself for the English classes I had taken thus far, that they had done little to prepare me for the next level. of my education. How could community colleges  – of high school for that matter – pretend to prepare students for an upper crust education? Everything I had been doing in the writing center to support students to just get through this class, how to communicate their ideas – was just as basic and almost useless as five paragraph essays. And yet, I believed I was doing something amazing, believed I was -what? elite? I hold no bragging rights. I feel like I have been showing off and proud of graduating middle school at this point.

Why does this matter? Why do I feel such anger? Because all this praise I have been getting from my English teachers thus far has kept me from setting my academic bar higher. I have believed that I am something prominent, almost like I have some kind of brain super power. But really, I just know how to connect an idea with another idea. I’m not scholarly, I’ve just figured out the system.

So where’s the silver lining? Where’s the pot of gold at the end of the drain pipe?

I now have raised my personal standards. Having recognized this, having been told by this professor that I’m a thinker, I know that I can do better, and I should strive for better. I can do better, and I what’s more, I can figure out how to show it in a scholarly manner in the next three days. Well, two days since today is mostly over and I still need to study for my next two final exams.

So, to this vague professor that wants me to scrap all my work and start from scratch – I say Challenge Accepted.