Brent Dax (brentdax) wrote,
Brent Dax
brentdax

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Deep Thoughts After a Bad Day

Why is school so messed up?

I may very well have to re-take Assembly A. Not because I didn't understand it, because I do, quite well. After hearing the horror stories for years, I'm surprised at how easy it really is.

No, if I have to take that class again, it'll either be because a) I didn't do quite enough homework to get a C, b) The teacher is a fuckup and lost my work and is too stuck up to admit it, or c) a combination of the two. And I will have to re-take the class, because it's a prerequisite to transfer into UC.

I also have to re-take Calculus A at seven-fifty every other morning. I've now been through Calc A once, and although I didn't do well, I also saw enough to know that I don't need to do well in it. Apart from a couple interesting insights into the nature of velocity and acceleration, there were no useful applications of it. None. Not a single one.

And who knows what bullshit classes I'll have to take next year as part of general ed?

I've known since...as long as I remember that I wanted to be a programmer. That's at least half of my life. And, hubris aside, I'm pretty good at it. I'm sure as hell not the best, but I think I'm better than average. I think that I know or can teach myself most of what schools can teach me about programming.

The one thing I haven't learned yet that they can teach is the meta-skill--the ability to learn any language from its manual, any protocol from its specification. My father learned that at UCI, and it's a skill that serves him to this day.

What I'm doing is not learning, at least not in any useful sense. It's getting a piece of paper that says I know. That's a very different thing, and a much stupider one. It should not take a four-year saga of work and teachers to prove you know.

But the alternative--proving by doing--is much harder. It involves working for several years from very low jobs to what I really want to do. Basically, I can take four years of this at college, or maybe eight years of something slightly better at work.

It's interesting...I've come back to my old view about school, the one from ninth and tenth grade, before I started doing independent study. Except that then I felt I didn't have the skills I needed (not to mention the age). Now...

Maybe I'm just being stupid. Maybe I'm just grumpy from a long, shitty day. I dunno.

Data Structures class tomorrow night, 5-7 or somesuch. Have to look it up. I think I know data structures--arrays are best for linear work, linked lists are best for linear work with lots of insertions, hashes are usually best for exact lookups with few insertions, btrees are best for inexact lookups or lookups with insertions. O(1), O(n), O(1) on a good day, O(log n). Not hard stuff. We'll see if they have anything useful to teach, I suppose.

Any thoughts, minna?
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