Sunday, December 20, 2009

Here's a Tongue Twister for You.

So when I was in High School I decided to invent a tongue twister. I must have been really bored. I thought I would publish it for the first time for anyone to see.

Jamaican Bacon

Are Jamaicans makin' Jamaican bacon for the Jamaicans achin' for Jamaican bacon made from Jamaican bacon-makin' pigs?

There you have it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Good of Education

I love to learn. That is probably why I may never actually leave the classroom (figuratively speaking of course). I am one that want to take full advantage of every opportunity I am given to learn. I make the most of the even the most mundane classes, from Physics (interesting concepts, but horrible teacher) to Deaf Heritage (a topic I never really thought about before). I am usually the annoying kid in class who always has something to say about what the teacher is explaining. This has its positive and negative effects.

The Negative:
My obsession with school almost always estranges me from my peers. Few college students that I come in contact care about their education the way I do. Most of my classmates just want to get the grade and move on. One graduate student even went so far as to say that her college education is "knowledge bulimia" in that she upchucks all of the info she learned at the end of each quarter in order to make room for the next quarter. I am the opposite in that I hope to retain as much info about the class as possible (in case I need it).

Fortunately technology has made this much easier and less messy. The quarter has just passed and I have spent about two or three hours scanning in all of my notes, hand-outs, and tests from the quarter. I have documented each item in its appropriate spot, and pushed it back into my school archives. I can breathe easier, but I can't easily forget what I have learned. I may be considered by some as obsessive, but I prefer the term "knowledge-centric." This centricity can easily seen as a negative, but only from the outside.

The positive:

I always try to do more than I need to. This often annoys the other students (especially if there is a curve), but I feel that I owe it to myself to do the best that I can possibly do. Part of this is immersing myself in the the subject. I do this to the point that I blend the past experiences I've had with what I'm learning and get highly interested in even the most difficult subjects. This generally leades to several after class discussions with the professor. My professors have usually learned that I am a bit more committed than the usual student, and consequently entrust me with some interesting assignments.

For example: I made a comment in class about Dr. Seligman's work on learned optimism and explanatory style. The teacher was so interested that she asked for some more information. I went home and composed an email with some of the basics about learned optimism as it pertained to the topic in class. She then emailed me and asked if I wanted to help her do research on the topic that I had brought to her attention. Wow! I wasn't expecting that to come from a simple comment in class. This same professor also submitted my name to be a good candidate for the new Organizational Leadership Club that our school is trying to start. I was able to become the inaugural recruitment chair. Neat opportunities.

Another example is a professor in one class who started lobbying for me to go to her department's masters program once I completed my Bachelor's Degree. It seemed interesting, and I began doing some research into the degree and my options. At the end of the quarter after I received one of only two A's in the class, I was asked by the same professor if I would be willing to work for her. The job would be reading the textbook for her class next quarter (which I will be taking) and helping with the research to get it ready for publication. I am amazed at the opportunity to learn more even outside the classroom.

It is for these reasons that I am happy to say that I may never leave the classroom. Even if I don't quite see things the same way my peers do. This has been a great quarter for these opportunities, and I look forward to next quarter.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thank You Brian Kelly and Farewell

There has been quite a bit of hatred around Cincinnati recently with the announcement that Brian Kelly is the new head coach at Notre Dame. I will admit that I was also extremely upset, but I have moved on and feel that the rest of Cincinnati, barring the UC football team, should do so as well. This city needs to be grateful for what Brian Kelly has done to the University of Cincinnati's football program. Here are a couple reasons why.

1. Brian Kelly left for his dream job. Although most people are claiming that he chose to go to Notre Dame because of the money, I don't think he would have left for any other school even if they offered significantly more money. Because of his success he was a highly desired football coach. His negotiations with both Notre Dame and Cincinnati were rigorous. According to Cincinnati's Athletic Director Mike Thomas, every effort was made to keep Kelly here in Cincinnati. The final decision came down to the fact that Brian Kelly would rather be in Notre Dame. I think that even if Notre Dame offered the exact same amount of money that Cincinnati offered, he would still have picked Notre Dame.

2. Isn't it better that Kelly used Cincinnati as a stepping stone to Notre Dame than UConn or Louisville? This is my biggest point. It doesn't take much to see the impact that Brian Kelly has had on the Cincinnati football program. Would this have happened if he had never worked here? I doubt it. So why complain that he left so long as he left the program significantly better.

3. I can understand why people are upset, and I've been frustrated in the past couple days in which Kelly left Cincinnati. Especially considering that several of the players that are upset, have been classmates of mine at one point or another. However, Brian Kelly didn't do anything to me personally, and he really didn't hurt my "pride" in Cincinnati. If anything I am much more "proud" of Cincinnati and rub it into my Ohio State counterparts every chance I get. I wish he was still here, but he isn't and maybe it is just as good.

4. The last two schools that Kelly has left are still doing really well because of the way that he structured their systems for the future. The same has happened for Cincinnati. I will be highly surprised if Cincinnati goes back to being a "no-name" team in college football just because Kelly isn't here anymore. Because of the way Kelly left the program, we can get another good coach, continue to dominate the Big East, and stay in contention for the national title in years to come.

Cincinnati should be grateful that Kelly came. Stop beating the man up and let him move on to Notre Dame. The only people that shouldn't move on, at least not yet, are the football players that used to be under Kelly's guidance. He ditched them flat out. Take that anger and frustration and use it. Use it to destroy Florida! That kind of rage could tip the scales even more in favor of Cincinnati at the Sugar Bowl. Then when the Sugar Bowl is over, we can start working on next season with the new coach. For goodness sake, we still have Zach Collaros, DJ Woods, and Armon Binns. Let Cincinnati football continue on in greatness.

The one thing that has upset me the most about this whole BK to ND deal is that Notre Dame acts as if it is their right to pick anybody for the position. It also seems crazy that a program as dilapidated as Notre Dame's can still hold such a strong sway over a man as intelligent as Kelly. In this sense, maybe it is all about the money. In some sense, I wish Kelly would fall flat at Notre Dame, but not because I want Kelly to fail. I just want Notre Dame to be knocked down a couple more pride notches. I wish Kelly the best of luck in everything he does, mostly for the way he has positioned out football program for a magnificent future. I am not going to predict if Kelly will succeed or fail, I'm not that vested in the Fighting (and losing) Irish. Either way, I am looking forward to the new coach and the next chapter in UC football history. Bring on the Sugar Bowl!!