Academic year roundup 2008, part I: University

I could apologize for not posting sooner or more often, but I doubt many people would care, and those that do care know it’s because of exams and general laziness.

I had my last exam yesterday. Maybe it was even my last exam ever, but I haven’t actually decided on that yet. I’m considering an extra Artificial Intelligence Master but people say it’s difficult and boring, so I’m not quite sure yet. I could also suck up to some of my professors and try to get a position as an assistant or researcher, but that sounds a bit scary. I always assumed you need stellar grades for that, and mine are good but not anywhere near stellar. That and the thought of having to limit myself to one very specific area of study for years… But I guess the same thing is true if I decide to get a job so I better find something I enjoy doing. I just don’t know.

It’s been a very relaxed year overall. I only had about ten hours of class during the first semester, four in the second, and only a few of these classes required any active participation beyond just listening to whatever the guy in front is saying. I read about a dozen books, wrote a few papers, did a few presentations… The papers, presentations and exams get you worked up for a few days, but the rest of the time really was quiet. I most definitely spent more time grocery-shopping and cooking than I did studying.
There was the thesis, of course, which caused a bit of stress. Mine was on materialism and identity in the Marquis de Sade’s Aline et Valcour and Eugénie de Franval. Last year’s bachelorpaper was on Aline and Valcour in general, I was supposed to look up, read, sum up and present all secondary material written about that book during the last five years, which felt a bit pointless really. This year I finally got to choose my own topic, so I applied some evolutionary biology, some psychology and some sociology to Sade’s twisted morals~ It was fun, but I still feel that one year isn’t nearly enough time to dig deep enough to write something significant. In the end, my thesis is just a thesis, it’s not very likely anyone but my professor and the other guys grading it will read it. Which is okay with me, I guess.
So yeah, overall, a pretty quiet year.

When I wasn’t studying or writing my paper (i.e. most of the time), I was either idly browsing the net or doing stuff around the house. It’s amazing how much time creeps into those little things like shopping for food, doing the dishes, cooking stuff, hanging the laundry to dry… I sound like a housewife. It’s not very intense or difficult work, it just takes up so much time.
So yes, I’m still living with Jennifer, and things are going great. She has a neat job as a headhunter (though not exactly) in Brussels and she seems to like it there. The paycheck is supposedly worth it too, but we’re still waiting for the first one (she just started there, she was working for a Marketing Research company before but that kind of sucked). I’m still working for the university’s donations department one day a week, and it’s still mostly meh but it pays for all those cds, books and games I keep buying.

Living in Leuven is handy. The last bus home used to be at 21:30 so I never could anything interesting because I always had to leave early. No more. I don’t even need a bus to get home. I don’t take advantage of this as often as I should, though. I don’t go out much (mostly because I don’t really see the point of sitting in a bar drinking beer until four in the morning) and the only time we stay out late is when we go watch a movie. We’ve been doing that a lot, lately.

Which brings me to the next part of this post, the “best of 2007-2008” lists. One category per post, because I don’t feel like typing it all out right now, and because that way I’ll have regular posts for a while instead of the usual one per trimester.

 

Neatest course: Postromantic Materialism. Same guy who taught the class on “The Human Animal” last year. Interesting books (Alasdair Gray’s Lanark was especially awesome) and interesting topic. It may not be immediately obvious from the title, but this class was about how after Romanticism died, literature tried to make sense of the fact that there’s no god or divine system out there that tells us why we do what to do. I wrote my paper for that course on another book by Alasdair Gray, 1982, Janine, which was also very interesting though it had less sex in it than the description led me to expect >.>

Lamest course: Linguistique diachronique. This course was about the development of French scientific vocabulary. Same person who taught my most boring class last year. I see a pattern.

Next post, the best albums of the year.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2008 at 18:03 and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • Cairnarvon says:

    Get a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. D:<

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