School

Basketball

My team won!

It may have been a few (*cough* *cough* or more than just a few) years since I was a student at Villanova, but I still pull for them every spring when March Madness comes around. Kinda tough around the family home, given that both of my brothers went to Xavier, and my parents are preferential to Xavier, too, but if the Musketeers aren’t involved, they’ll all cheer for my Wildcats.

That was a heckuva game tonight. I think it was a good deal that I chose to watch at home, rather than finding someplace out to watch it. This way, if I was yelling at the TV, no one cared.

It was a good game. A little too close for my comfort, especially given how soundly ‘Nova managed to thrash some of the other teams in the tourney, but.

Nothing like a buzzer-beater for the win!

Categories: Bucket List, School, Sports | Tags: | Leave a comment

Group Projects

I’ve never been much of a fan of group projects in school. Whether the groups were assigned or whether we were allowed to choose our own, it always seemed that there were those in every group who were determined to shirk their share of the work, absolutely certain to fail to be part of the work-in-process throughout the entire project.

I may have to change my tune. Last semester, my assigned debate partner turned out to be a winner. Not only is she a gunnie (still somewhat new to the sport), she worked hard throughout the semester on our debate presentation, and despite being terrified of public speaking, she did an amazing job during the debate itself.

This semester, the group I’ve been assigned to had a group email sent around that everyone had answered within one hour of when the groups were first assigned. We’ve agreed on who is doing what within the group without any arguments, and our first assignment was turned in 2 days early. (We were also the only group that managed to have all of its members complete another unrelated assignment fully and on time according to the syllabus!)

While I still think that there are many kids in my classes that need to grow up and start functioning as adults (given that the program I’m in is supposed to be a master’s degree mainly for working adults), there may be a few more who are a bit further along than it originally appeared.

Categories: School | Tags: | 1 Comment

Changing the Rules

Debate is a sport. It has rules. The rules are spelled out very clearly in many places, and in my one class, we were given very clear references to exactly what rules our debates would be held according to. We were even recommended to watch examples of such debates.

I still think that having been on speech and debate team for several years in high school gives me an advantage.

The big debate still isn’t for a month, but we had mini-debates this past Saturday in class. They were somewhat informal and just pitted campus against campus on some fairly simple topics. Almost no one had done a lot of research, but the 45 minutes we were given in class was plenty of time to pull things together.

My campus was given the affirmative of the question, “Resolved: The United States healthcare system is the best in the world.” Most of us could barely read that aloud with a straight face, but we had to defend it. After everyone else started groaning and saying there was no way we could do it, I said, “Exactly, so we change the rules. Redefine ‘healthcare system’ so that it becomes ‘diagnosis and treatment of disease’. Then show how the US does that better than anyone else.” And we were off to the races.

The team debating the negative never saw the switch we pulled and failed to redefine “healthcare system” back to anything else. They showed up ready to play soccer. We substitued a football and proceeded to pick the ball up and run with it while they were still trying to kick it in a straight line towards goals that had suddenly become uprights.

In addition, no one else knew what to do with their alloted time for cross-examination. I did. And given the debate set-up, ours was the second debate, and I was the last to cross in our debate, so no one else could take what I did and turn it back on us (at least not this week). Everyone else would ask a question, then let the person responding meander on and on, often not even answering the question and using up all of the time given for cross.

My cross went something like this:
You mentioned obesity. The US healthcare system does a fantastic job of treating the end results of obesity. Do you disagree?” “Well, no, but we need to educate…“*interrupted*
Thank you. You want to prevent obesity with education, but we do that already. Are you going to force people to eat the proper foods and exercise?” “Well, maybe we should…“*interrupted*
I see you want to remove the ability of people to make choices in their lives. You also mentioned the infant mortality rate in the U.S. Do you realize that this is at least partially due to women choosing to give birth at home with inadequate medical attention and untrained midwives?” “We need to educate them and make them go to hospitals…“*interrupted*
So you want to tie up all the pregnant women and throw them into ambulances to make them give birth at hospitals?!?” “Well, yes, we should.
*silence*
I see how you really feel about people’s medical choices in the US.

My time ran out shortly after that, but I was later told that the line about tying up all the pregnant women and throwing them in ambulances will probably go down as the best line said during class this semester.

Categories: Health, Humor, School | Tags: | 4 Comments

Please Don’t Fling Me in that Brier-patch!

The culmination of one of the classes I’m currently taking is a formal debate on a current topic in public health. We were given a long list of topics to choose from, to rank our top four or five choices, as to what our interests would be for debate topics. From there, the professor was going to pick the top four and assign each of us to a topic and to a side of the topic (affirmative or negative). And she had warned us ahead of time…NO SWITCHING.

Needless to say, I ranked all of the topics to do with firearms as my top choices.

The list of topics and teams was handed out yesterday.

The topics are:
— Community programming and education should be increased to address overweight/obesity;
— School-based violence prevention programs should be used to prevent bullying;
— Texting and mobile phone use while driving should be banned; and
— Firearm registration and licensing of firearm owners should be restricted to reduce firearm deaths.

I’m on the team which is to debate on the negative of the firearms topic.

Please, please, don’t fling me in that brier-patch!

Categories: Firearms, Politics, School | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Mandatory Gear

I have decided that there is something that I need to get to make my graduate school experience complete.

FLUFFY BUNNY SLIPPERS!!!

Given that the majority of my classes are online or via videoconference, I feel that attending classes in fluffy bunny slippers will make me smile and make my day complete when I have to be up at an ungodly early hour (for me) to participate in these classes.

And my feet will stay nice and toasty warm.

Categories: Humor, School | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Tech!

Things have changed a lot since I went to college some *mumblety-mumble* years ago. Back then, I took a desktop IBM PC with an amber monochrome monitor, 2 of the 5.25″ floppy drives (no hard drive), a dot matrix printer, and no modem with me. It took a handcart to move it all. Now, it’s all laptops and tablets, lightweight and easy to carry.

Email from the program ahead of time said that we’d definitely need a laptop for classes, and that while either a PC or a Mac was ok, one of the required programs for Biostats was not compatible with Macs. I sort of made faces at that, as I’ve gone completely Apple in the past couple of years, but I pulled out an older PC laptop and got it all upgraded and ready for the first day of class…

Only to find out that the stats program does work on Macs. It’s just a little trickier to install, but once installed, it runs just fine. So I have everything running on both a PC and a Mac.

Come the first day of class, and everyone is linked in from home, listening to our Biostats prof go on. He starts showing us how to use the program R. Half of the class panics in the chat box because they couldn’t get it installed and working at all! He offered a few tips but said that he needed to continue the class (it’s recorded, so people could watch it again later) to at least get all of the info presented.

6 or 7 of us managed to set up a meeting time for yesterday to see if we couldn’t get R working on their computers. It ended up with me bouncing from chair to chair around a table, installing R on about 6 computers there (and then one more over the phone, because one of the campuses is downstate). We ended up with all but one of the computers working! And now everyone thinks I have some sort of magic computer-fu…

Categories: School | Tags: , | 1 Comment

First Day of School!

Ok, so sort of not really… But it was the first day of real content delivery.

The program that I’m in is for a Masters of Public Health. It is designed for working adults, for the most part, to allow them to obtain the degree while having a full-time job. The core courses (2 each semester for 3 semesters) are on Saturdays, and there is no expectation that we will all complete the degree at the same time. In fact, our class designation is by the start date, not the graduation date, so I’m part of “Class of 2015”.

The core courses, while being taught to all 30 of us together, are still very much mainly self-taught. The majority of the Saturdays are designated as “online”, meaning that the lectures are prerecorded and that I can listen to them at any point during the week. One class has a quiz (2-3 essay questions) due every Friday; the other has either homework or a quiz due once a week. Most everything is open book, but in order to get things done in the time constraints for the online quizzes and homework, you do have to have read the assignments. Self-motivation is going to be a big factor.

Electives will be different, as they’ll be regular grad school courses. My first one of those starts next week. It’s a regular classroom course, though I think a lot of my electives will end up being online courses, too. Easier to take courses at some of the further campuses when they’re online so I don’t end up driving hours and hours each semester.

Today’s class was one of the few “live” lectures, in that we logged in to a videoconference with the biostats prof. He had wanted everyone to have downloaded and installed a stats program so that he could spend half of the class teaching us how to use it, but about half of the class either didn’t have it downloaded or couldn’t get it installed. (Part of the problem is that it doesn’t play well with Macs, but there are work-arounds.) Several of us were typing in the chatbox with tips about how to get it working when one of the girls sent out a plea for “anyone who got this working on a mac, would you please be willing to sit down and show me how?”

Somehow, this ended up with me agreeing to meet with 6 or 7 classmates tomorrow afternoon to help them get their computers set up and squared away. Oh, well…best way to learn something is to teach it, right?

Categories: School | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Knock… Knock…

Wow… I still have a blog! Dunno if anyone’s still listening or not, but hi!

School has started. Finally. I’ve got to quit all of the running around and visiting friends and having fun blowing off responsibilities that I was doing all summer long (hey, why not? one last summer free of responsibility!) and buckle down now.

I’m taking 3 classes to start. Two of them are the “required” core courses that I’ll be taking in concert with everyone in my class; the other is an elective. Public health in general seems to be rather oriented towards social justice and the ideals espoused by the left. It’s going to be interesting to see how I fit in (or rather, how many ripples I stir in the pond).

On the first day, the program director wanted each of us to give an interesting fact about ourselves as we were introducing ourselves to the room. I chose to share that my hobby is long-range target shooting. I figured I might as well put that on the table, right up front. I’m pleased that no one shrieked or fainted. And when the girl next to me said that she has a 3rd degree black belt in judo, the program director said that she wasn’t going to be afraid with the two of us around. I’m thinking this maybe won’t be so bad after all.

Of course, then I open my biostats textbook, and right there in the introduction, the author starts using statistics about deaths from firearms in his very first example. *sighs* It’s going to be an interesting couple of years.

Categories: Humor, Long-term Goals, School | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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