Saturday, September 11, 2010


I'm going to attempt to continue to blog. I'll no longer tackle issues that are not directly related to myself, though. I think that's the easiest way to censor myself and still feel like I'm not putting anybody related to my job at risk. I've also noticed that most of my posts ARE personally related, so I don't think that will be too hard for me to adhere to.

Being an RA during the school year is, as predicted, much harder than being an RA during the summer. Being an RA for freshmen is, again, as predicted, much harder than being an RA for upperclassmen. Watching them interact with each other and deal with issues has forced me to reflect on my freshman year a lot and how I've grown.

You may have noticed, but I REALLY enjoy doing that. I like to think that I can create a model of my growth and predict where I'm going. The more data I have the more accurate the model and the more reliable the prediction is. lawl CPDC.

Where the y-axis is some quantity that describes my growth as a person which accounts for maturity, knowledge, and beliefs and the x-axis is age.

There are two things that really stuck out to me about my growth from freshman to now.

One thing I didn't do was party as a freshman, and none of my freshmen friends partied, and honestly some people I knew were downright RIGHTEOUS about how they didn't party. Kind of a moral high horse, a way to feel superior for some people, I've noticed.

I didn't intend to party as a freshman, but I was impressionable. I was trying to figure out what was normal, you know? How was partying perceived at RPI? I hadn't really gotten the impression that RPI was a party school, but I could tell there was drinking. Do all upperclassmen drink? Is it unavoidable? Am I going to have to drink to have friends?

This didn't seem the case from the friend group I made, early on it was seemingly apparent that lots of people at RPI my age didn't drink. But of course, over time, most of those friends started drinking. They entered the party scene.

Why didn't I? Maybe because I never convinced myself it was a moral decision, or even the "right" decision, just that it was *my* decision. But the stronger factor was that Erik, at 22, did not drink. He legally could, and all his friends did, but he chose not to! If he didn't have to drink, then I certainly didn't have to drink. He was my non-drinking buddy, and now that I've gotten out of the impressionable freshman phase, I'm confident enough in myself and who I am that I won't drink even if Erik did start. It was the first experience I'd ever truly had with a role model.

I've also noticed how long it has been since I've learned something TRULY new to me. Watching all my freshmen do IEA problems and whine about General Chemistry has shown me that. Everything so far has mostly built off of previous classes, spun the same topics in different ways. I always felt like I was learning the same information, just in a different language. It was challenging, but I didn't find it interesting.

Finally, for the first time, I'm learning things that feel truly new. Of course it all involves some physics and chemistry, but applying those very basic concepts in new situations. My two Chemical Engineering courses this semester are honestly very exciting to me. I feel like I'm actually learning how to be a chemical engineer. I feel like I'm challenged in a way that makes me want to me the challenge, like I felt in CellBio (though almost all of that was a repeat) with Professor Plopper and U.S. History with Mr. Guilfoyle. Except this time my desire to do well isn't because I want to please my teacher, it's because I really want to excel at these topics. They're things I want to know, they're things I'm driven to learn, not for the grade but for the knowledge.

Pretty sure this is what college is supposed to be.

Still, I'm not sure what I want to do. But at least I'm apparently learning the right things.

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