I spent a few minutes this evening going over some old philosophy paper assignments. Looking at them, I can’t believe I was able to write those papers. I almost cannot imagine myself writing those papers. I vaguely remember reading some of the essay pieces but, now, I don’t remember enough to write anything coherent about them.
I wish I had been a better student.
How many things am I, are we all, half-assing our way through that we could be doing the right way? I feel that the answer is “too many”, but why? Why are we doing things that we absolutely know will hurt us in the future? Is it because we’re discounting the future value? Are we valuing the present too much?
I remember wanting to watch some TV show instead of doing one of the assigned readings. I can’t say now why that was a better thing to do other than “that’s what I wanted at the time”. I stayed up late so many nights reading assignments and writing papers that were due in 8 hours because I hadn’t bothered doing the work during the week that I was given.
I never did my best work because I never put everything into it. I could make excuses, I had a full time contracting job, I went to school full time, I had a wife and four kids. All true, but I stopped myself from doing my best. Despite all of that I was able to write the papers. Even though most of them were late.
I’m afraid I’m not as smart as I used to be but I am surely more wise. I may not be able to offer Socrates’ argument showing that there is no akrasia. But I know what’s important and I know how to prioritize and execute the tasks that need to be accomplished, shut out distractions, and complete my work.
The back story:
When I first started University (Fall 2006) I had declared Business Management as the thing I wanted to spend my life doing. Business people made lots of money, business people drank expensive liquor, and drove nice cars what teenager (I was 18) doesn’t want that? Before I actually started school I had gotten a job at a call center (Convergys Corporation) and was working at, for Southern Utah, a good wage $8.50/hr that had awesome benefits like tuition reimbursement. After about 2 months I got promoted to a Training position where, since I was staff, I was only able to get reimbursement if I was “majoring” in a business field. I quickly saw, after being a middle manager, that business management was something I completely did not want to do.
At that point I changed my “major” to Economics because it was interesting, it was a business class so I could still get my tuition reimbursement, and people with BS or BA in Econ get into Graduate/Law schools really easily. Economics was fun and I would still like to get a Graduate degree in Economics but at this point in my school career it is completely pointless to stick with it as a major. I started University wanting to learn stuff with a degree as a “happy accident” so I didn’t immediately start taking the Math classes that I would need for graduating to make room for classes I wanted to take. This and the 2 semesters I took off for work at Convergys have come back to haunt me. Instead of graduating at the end of April I am a Junior with at least 3 more semesters to go with the number of math classes needed for a degree in Economics I would end up being at University for 3 more years just finishing the math classes because they have to be taken in order.
That has led me to this latest change: I am changing my “major” to German and keeping the “minor” in Philosophy. I will get done 1.5 years sooner than I normally would and that should be enough liberal art education to get into Grad school for almost anything. The department I am going to is made up of the language teachers and the Philosophy professor. Since I have worked very closely with the German professor before this is like going back to an old friend’s house after a long, awful trip. My excitement for school has been replenished and I am feeling up to a full work load for the Fall semester. Knowing there is an end and liking the way the end looks is a very comforting thing.