A Walk Through My Academic Career

A Walk Through My Academic Career

So I figured, with graduation almost imminent, that I’d take a walk through memory lane so to speak, for all the courses that I’ve taken at UB (the good, the bad, the ugly). I think it’s worth a read so I’d rather you not skip it, but of course, you’re free to do so.

CL113 Myth & Religion in the Ancient World

My first introduction to professor Woodard. Amazing man. He’d later be my Sanskrit teacher.

ENG102 Writing 2

Writing II (I placed out of Writing I through the SATs) was a cool course taught by a Libertarian who was from the school of Argument and used the Socratic Method of Teaching; Alice and I really became friends through the course (our friendship solidified on the day when I finally just had enough with the asshat-ery and was just like “throw the god damn petrie dish containing the embryo in the trash can, wham, bam we’re done!!”) and there are certainly some special people and some special memories that will live on from it (mostly that girl who always used to go “YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN” after every sentence…and the thing is, none of us had a clue what she was saying, we honestly, could not understand a word that came out of her mouth)

PSY101 Introductory Psychology

This course was a large factor in my decision not to pursue Social Work. I really disliked the instructor and the course in general.

SSC103 Introduction to Health and Human Services

I had the highest grade in this course; I was a freshman, the other students were Junior nursing majors. By far the easiest exams I’ve ever taken in my life – bar none – it was an interesting course; the professor was really, really into working out and his head looked like a box and he always looked uncomfortable and angry…but he was a nice guy when you got to know him and he opened up a few avenues of thought for me, so that was cool.

UB101 University Experience

This was the course that I’d later T.A.; it was okay, mostly they brought us in food each week from a different venue and taught us how to register for courses and Alice and I met each other here so it was worth it.

UGC111 World Civilization I

This was my first course taught by an incorrigible stoner. The professor always had a cloud of pot surrounding him Pig Pen style. The benefits were that it introduced me to Sorin Radu Cucu of Translyvania, Romania who was the T.A. for the course. Other benefits were that the instructor wrote notes the same way that I do; so it made sense to me; I did really well and enjoyed myself. He was into Buddhism and International Medicine and traveled with teams of doctors from UB to Africa regularly which I thought was cool.

ART111 Drawing Fundamentals I

This course was taught by my first alcoholic instructor (there would be a few more to follow). He was a grad student who used to forget to show up to class because he was drunk and passed out in his studio (I guess it wasn’t that he forgot, more like he was incapacitated). He owned one shirt (it was a green t-shirt that said soccer mom on it) and he thought that the Bartenders were the Bourgeoisie who were being held down by the Proletariat. I eventually gave him a copy of the Communist Manifesto and a copy of the dictionary entries for Bourgeoisie and Proletariat after we had an argument in class where I attempted to explain to him that I didn’t now many bartenders who owned oil fields and perhaps, in fact, he might have been thinking of the word Proletariat to describe Bartenders instead of the word Bourgeoisie. He argued with me for weeks about it until he finally read the damn thing and realized that he got the terms reversed (to his credit, he did apologize). I did well in the course and I hated every minute of it.

He, by the way, was the one who asked me to photograph the canopy bed that he threw in the lake and called it art. I almost threw him in the lake right after it wanting to call it performance art, but I’m pretty sure that the D.A. would have called it murder so I thought better of it and just took the pictures with my mouth shut.

ART213 Intro to Photography

This was my first night course; it went on…forever. We had an adult learner in the course who was right wing and absolutely crazy (like, for real crazy) and slowed down the class to the point that we didn’t get through half the syllabus. I did well, but overall I wasn’t thrilled…my High School had a better lab than UB.

ART250 Intro to Computer Art

This was an awesome course that really enhanced my photoshop skills; I later worked for the teacher and he later got me a photo gig at the university that paid $83/hr. It was mutually beneficial. I also later tutored the course for $25.00/hr. This course earned me a shit ton of cash, which is why I think I have so many fond memories of it.

UGC112 World Civilization II

This course was frightening. The professor would rant and rave about pretty much whatever was on his mind and then explain to us why the President was to blame for it (everything from the wrong laundry detergent to bad coffee could, apparently, be blamed on Bush). He’d deduct an entire grade if you were absent more than once and would throw students out who came late. This one kid braved an ice storm – in CRUTCHES – to get to this 9am waste of a class, he was five minutes late, and the professor threw him out…he threw out Tiny Tim! Eventually, he started asking his TAs to barricade the doors to which one responded “we’re not body guards…” and that began the beginning of the end of his TAs listening to him.

He would also occasionally just not show up (citing previous commitments) and leave us to watch a Video…I enjoyed those lectures, they were normally tapes from National Geographic/NOVA which I’ve always had a fondness for.

I also took issue with the Teaching Assistant that taught my recitation. He flat out refused to believe that Article 6 of the constitution existed (he told me, explicitly, that it didn’t)…when I walked out of class, printed it out, and then handed it to him, he went “well, it can be interpreted differently” to which my response was “yeah, but it’s either there or it’s not, you can’t interpret it’s existence asshole.”

Sadly, while the teaching assistant was attractive (albeit, a total asshole) he was also really into beer…leading to numerous assignments not being able to be returned…because he spilled his beer on it, destroying them.

UGC211 American Pluralism

All we did was watch movies…lots, and lots of movies. Most pointless, touchy-feely class to date, created by UB to foster diversity. I was never sure why he didn’t ask us about what happened in the movies…mostly he asked about camera angles and lighting so I’m not sure how he knew if we ever walked away as diverse as we were supposed to. However, I did get to watch Pawnbroker and American History X so it was okay.

AHI101 Survey of Ancient Egypt to the Renaissance

It was there. I went to class. Pretty much all there was to it.

ART210 Intro to Digital Photo

This is where I first met Mme. Belanger and her toy poodle, whom she brought to class and let us play with.

ART313 Intermediate Photo I

I had to take this course twice…I was failed the first time because I missed class three times…those three times were for oral surgery because I fell out of bed, fell into a cement floor six feet below absorbing the fall with my face, smashing in all of my teeth, breaking my nose, and lacerating my lip…I had a B+ average and given the choice between passing the course and not being able to eat food again or getting an F, I take having my teeth re-inserted into my mouth where they belonged.

ENG398 Journalism

This was taught by a guy who never really went to school (including, as far as we were able to gather, High School); was sort of bitter about it (because he was in the working world and we weren’t) and tried to play the roguish, tough reporter…and failed miserably. The only kid he impressed was the Anarchist (so he had one fan) and thankfully, he doesn’t get to teach here anymore (a smart move on the administrations part). We were his last set of Guinea Pigs…thankfully.

ART315 Intermediate Photo II

This was again with Mme. Belanger.

LIN496 Internship

A wonderful breathe of fresh air. I student taught kindergarten at the Martin Luther King School downtown. Incredibly emotional experience

Around this time I passed the PTCB exam and became a Nationally Certified Pharmacy Tech

ART150 Visual Theory

This was the coup de grâce to my art career at UB; the professor showed us Art Ache which called bullshit louder and clearer than I ever could; I walked out half way through the video and then went to the instructor during his office hours after class and thanked him for making me no longer want to be an Art Major and for finally showing me something I agreed with and setting me on the path to get a life and a real job: he clapped with glee and told me that he was proud of me and that he was happy he reached someone. He hated his job, he still hates his job, and subversively, he finally reached someone.

ART448 Studio Seminar in Photography

This was my last class with Mme. Belanger who (a year later) came up to me and told me that she always respected me as an artist. It was mostly a waste of time but I did get to do an installation tribute to my Grandfather who died that year.

CL493 Sanksrit I

My second course with Woodard. It was really, really cool…and in smaller sized classes, he has the dirtiest, raunchiest jokes I’ve ever heard. They’ve offered Sanskrit I a few more times, but I’ve never seen them offer Sanskrit II, sadly.

Hebrew 101 Hebrew I

My first introduction to Hebrew outside of Hebrew School and the start of my adventures with Mrs. Lipsky.

COL203 The Evil and Politics of Perversion

Course taught by Sorin Radu Cucu of Translyvania, Romania; mostly it was him attempting to work out his dissertation on unsuspecting students. For me, it was the ability to watch his incredibly tight ass in an incredibly tight pair of jeans prance in front of the classroom and to argue with him (both enjoyable activities); I did incredibly well in the course. Both papers I turned in didn’t meet any of the guidelines and both were high grades. The last one was a seven page poem comparing different forms of submission and figuring out which one was actually freedom: it spanned five columns, each column matching the meter of the others. the course introduced me to a slew of authors whom I was never introduced to before, and I’m thankful for it.

COM101 Principles of Communication

Taught by a professor who couldn’t communicate and had sexual identity issues that seriously impacted his ability to teach.

COM225 Interpersonal Communication

Taught by the same professor mentioned above.

COM497 Cyberporn & Society

This class was fun…and would eventually be the reason I got into Time Magazine.

MFC332 Paralegal Principles and Procedures

Easy A, and an Easy Certificate from the Millard Fillmore College in Paralegal Studies. I did the entire coursework in a weekend, then wrote a paper, got an A on everything and got my certificate that Summer. The reason I switched to the online version of the course online is actually a fun story…it involves me, a guy named Josh and margaritas and me spending the night in his shorts..no really, it was because it was snowing so hard outside, I mean, I couldn’t very well ask him to drive me home in that snow…there was only one thing we could do…and we did it….just after I sent an email to the program director to change my section to the online section.

He was into vampires…I’d eventually be cock blocked by his dead ex-boyfriend; which on one hand, was troubling, on the other, it gave me a new one liner of “well at least you weren’t cock blocked by someone six feet under…”

The relationship eventually went south; he apologized for it…and then just sort of fell off the face of the Earth; last I heard he was in California.

PSC408 Basic Stats for Social Sciences

My first (and failing) attempt at Statistics. I really liked the instructor though.

ARI101 Arabic I

My first introduction to Professor Roustum and the beginning of a torrid love affair with the Arabic Language

NTR101 Human Nutrition

It was there.

Around this time I got the NIH certificate thingy

SOC101 Introduction to Sociology

I took it, did well, not as well as I would have liked and I’m retaking it this summer. I later ran into the professor with his kids at the convention I lecture at over the summer; he’s cool, a dirty old man from the south, wildly liberal with an amazing (and dirty) sense of humor. He was known (as a teenager) to put goats in his neighbors unlocked cars so they’d eat the upholstery. My kind of guy.

ARI102 Arabic II

More Prof. Roustum. More Arabic. Had a blast.

COM499 Independent Study

This is when I TAd for Cyberporn & Society. I made Time Magazine; it was worth the effort to be able to say things like “When I was in Time Magazine for Pornography” at snooty cocktail parties where people introduce themselves to you after dropping a few names out of their knock off Gucci purses.

HEB102 – Hebrew II

More Lipsky, more Hebrew.

LIN499 Independent Study & Research

A breath of Fresh Air. I learned the IPA from Dr. Jaeger and got really interested in Linguistics.

PSC408 Basic Stats for Social Sciences

My second, and valiant effort at learning statistics. My seconds valiant failure.

LIN106 Languages of the World

My first introduction to the amazing Scott Paauw. Basically, it was a Typology course…however, my personal success was being able to locate Madagascar on a map; given that I can’t navigate my way out of a wet paper bag, I was quite proud of myself.

LIN108 The Roots of English

This was taught by Silke Lambert who’s from Germany and had an awesome accent. It was an amazing introduction to the roots of the English language. I’d smoke Hookah with Eli and Kuper afterwards and drink iced tea and talk about mostly nothing at all.

Part-way through LIN106 and LIN108 I came down with Mono (it was worth it, with thanks to naytomorrow and parox because I got it from one of them) and I shot irenefinlay’s wedding which was wonderful because I got to see the GT crew.

ARI201 Arabic III

More Roustum. More Arabic. More Fun.

LIN205 Linguistic Analysis

This was with Hsin-Wei Chen. It would have been amazing, if it weren’t conducted in an overheated basement in Clemens; combining that with dark lighting and powerpoint, I passed out in a second.

LIN207 Language Society & Individual

This never actually taught us what it was supposed to teach us; it turned into Linguistic Analysis II instead. It was taught by Sangu Kang.

LIN316 Language in it’s Social Setting

This was my second course from Scott Paauw. It sort of morphed into a Fieldwork course because he went with the interest of the students and we were interested in getting our feet wet and making mistakes (of which we made plenty). It was a fun introduction to Sociolinguistics. I did really well in the course.

This brings us to this semester

ARI202 – Arabic IV

Sadly, my final Arabic Course. I feel cheated. Even if I found this road as a Freshman, I wouldn’t be able to take Arabic to fluency. I haven’t given up on the independent study yet though…I’m ready to throw in shoveling his driveway and making him pot roast.

LIN301 Structure of English: Sound System

This was my first course from our Dept. Chair, Dr. Michelson, Amazing course taught from the perspective of a phonologist. Wonderful, wonderful experience and something I look forward to going to twice weekly (which is when I have the course).

LIN421 Linguistic Anthropology

Cross listed as a grad course and my first course with Candie (covarla). We’ve done a shit ton of homework and assignments though I’n not quite sure what I’ve learned yet.

LIN493 Sociolinguistics

Also cross listed as a grad course, this class is taught by the master himself, Dr. Wolfgang Wölk…I feel like I’m the presence of a God among men (and, in a way, I am) when I go to his class. One of the most influential classes of my life. Totally amazing.

Which brings us to this summers courses in July

NTR109 Nutrition in Practice
NTR110 Nutrition in Practice

These are a chained course set which finishes out my science requirements.

SOC101 Introduction to Sociology

I want to get an A so I’m retaking it.

This leads us to my final courses as an Undergrad

CSE111 Great Ideas in Computer Science

This fulfills my math requirement. It’s math for people who like using computers and who can’t add anything higher than 2+2. Right up my alley. Plus, my friend Heather and I are taking it together so I have someone to sit next to and I made sure she’s in the same recitation as I am.

HEB201 Hebrew III

My final course with Lipsky, I figure a refresher Hebrew course before I go into Ulpan is a good idea.

LIN104 Writing Systems

I’ve been wanting to take this course for awhile now and I finally have time to. We examine a ton of Orthography and then invent our own. It’s taught by Michelson. I’m mad excited.

[edit to add] Dan started bitching that I didn’t mention he was going to TA for the course so he said I should say Dan Geyer 1:15 “and my awesome (and sexy as all hell) buddy is teaching it too”

LIN302 Structure of English: Grammar & Lexicon

This is taught by JP Koenig. He’s french, he’s a slightly older guy, and bizarrely, bizarrely, cool…mostly, I think it’s the French Accent and his constant state of stubbled deschevled-ness that make him seem like a real professor.

LIN431 Phonetics

Sadly, my last class with Dr. Jaeger.

LIN467 Computational Linguistics

I’m taking this because I couldn’t get into Yoga and I don’t like having lots of time to sit around and do nothing. Besides, it should be fun, I’ve been meaning to learn how to program a sonority scale proof checker anyway and now I’ll have the excuse to do so.

And with that…

I’m given a piece of paper, that my parents have invested serious cash in and I’ve invested serious time in, and I’m told that I know stuff…and really, I feel largely, disappointed.

I’m an expert in nothing, I’m a jack of nothing; really, I’m no where near where I want to be. I was given the opportunity the other day to walk at this years graduation and I turned it down. in all honesty I just don’t see the point (well, that and I have an allergic reaction to formal events).

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a certain amount of gratification to finishing this leg of the journey: I was told throughout Middle School that I’d never make it out of High School. I was told by some in High School I’d never make it through College and I’ve done it, I’m graduating with four sets of initials after my name (that includes the B.A. so the B.A. plus three other initials), I”ve been in the Washington Post, the Buffalo News, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News and Time Magazine (and at some points during my academic career, almost once a week in the campus rag). I’ve formed a business partnership with two of my closest friends (gryvon and covarla) this year (Top Down Productions, LLC), and I’ve gotten a lot done…but I just don’t see the point in walking because I’m not there yet…I’ve done a lot, but I don’t really have anything to be proud of…yet…and I don’t even know where there is, but I’ll know it when I reach it.

The B.A. is nothing more for me than a start, a stepping stone, a rock to jump from into some ether yet unknown for me; I can see why others get excited about their first graduation: it’s their end and then they should be proud of it…I’m excited in a different way, because it’s my beginning…my excitement doesn’t really come with pride though or with finality, it’s more like that feeling you get in your gums and your spine when you sit down to take an exam you’ve studied hard for.

I was telling some peers in the food court the other day about my future plans while munching on tacos (soo, soo tasty) and one of them said (in that exasperated tone that only Long Islanders can do so well) “but you can’t do that” and I allowed myself a semi-private cheshire grin, because I’ve heard the “you can’t” people before and I know how it ends.

Though I do have to say: I walked into UB 325lbs; I’m leaving thin and good looking, and if I keep going to the gym daily like I have been, pretty damn muscular at this rate. I walked in a Socialist, I came out a Libertarian. I walked in a Social Work student and came out a Linguist, so I did learn something incredibly important: how to change my mind, so that was pretty neat.

And that my friends, is a walk through my academic career.