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erin




I impart the ways of web nerdery at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.


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erin  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: A College Dean's Letter to the Rejected

"I'm studying because I want to blow my application out of the water in every way I can..."

I think you probably nailed why certain programs want a GRE. It's that extra step to see you're committed to the endeavor.

I was in your position about three years ago, and finished my Master's last spring. What I picked up from being in graduate school: It isn't about measurement (i.e. grades). It's about acquiring depth in a subject that an average college graduate doesn't think about on a professional or academic level. It's way more about pushing yourself than pleasing professors.

Aw, that made me smile. :)

"The CIA" showed up in my list once. On next glance, it had disappeared.

erin  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: The State of Hubski: 2014

I'm a little surprised no one has chimed in with, "That's no Hubski center, that's a space station." (Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks the un-justified text make it look like the Death Star.)

Thanks for all you do, ladies and gents. :)

(I'm very late to this post, so... ::blush::)

First off, congratulations!

It's only thing to be accepted to a great university. It's another to be recognized in the way you are -- someone they're wiling to give heaps of money and opportunities to! ;)

What do you want to study?

I saw insomnia's post and wanted to toss a little more advice your way. I've been on both sides of university life -- twice as student, now as a college prof (okay, it's not my 'formal' title, but the kids call me professor), so I hope all the things I've learned the hard way, you don't have to.

- I agree with insomnia 100 percent: do not wish for time to fly. You will have plenty of time to be a working adult with all the un-fun crap that comes with it. It's not a lie -- college is the best time of your life. You have the freedom of an adult, with the safety net of your parents (and as I later learned, all your professors who really do want you to succeed).

- I do not know how Colgate structures its academics, but try, TRY to avoid taking more than 4-5 courses a semester. Don't cram everything in. I'm guessing if you were regarded as a scholar by the university, you are probably walking in with some credits from AP classes. Don't use those credits to speed up your experience (i.e. "I graduated in 3 years!"). Slow it down. Figure out exactly how long it will take you to walk with graduating class, maybe even a year later (if you have that luxury). At the university I teach, because there is a flat rate for each semester, students can take up to 20 credit hours (6-7 classes). They're bogged down with so many activities the quality of everything -- not just academics -- suffers. How can you actually dedicate time to learning something when you're just trying to balance everything? But beyond that, this is your time to grow as a person. Take all the time humanly (and financially) possible.

- I also don't know how your scholarship is structured, what requirements you need to meet to keep it all four years. (I'm going to assume, at minimum, a certain GPA.) Don't go in looking to graduate with a 4.0. Aim for a 3.75, maybe even a 3.5 (or :: gasp :: a 3.25 if you're permitted.) As best you can, stop thinking about grades. Obviously, in some cases, the best grade is necessary. And maybe you want to go on to graduate school, so yes, good grades matter. But you are going to college to learn not get grades. Think about it: what does it mean if you get an A in a class, but don't remember much from it? What does it mean to undertake a challenging course and walk away with a hard-earned B? It is okay if you're not perfect. No one is. Heck, it's even okay to fail (maybe a quiz, experiment, test -- not a class!). If you're taking classes that come easy to you, find something which will scare you, humble you, make you work hard. Maybe you'll never use the material in life, but the process of getting out of a comfort zone will be invaluable.

- Find your mentor or a like-minded professor to geek out with as soon as you can. Those were some of the best times I had in college, just chatting about ideas or working on projects with professors whose area of expertise I loved. And I love it being on the other side now. Again, it's nothing to do with grades -- just a real, enthusiastic love for learning.

- Don't procrastinate. Period. Just don't. It took me until my Master's degree (and this after working 10 years full-time) to realize getting things done one, two days early is such an incredible relief. I kept asking myself, "Why did I not realize this before?" So when your professor gives you a syllabus with everything outlined, take advantage of it!

- I've had to give this advice to too many students: prepare yourself. I've known of very few who go through college and do not experience something horrible in their personal life. Deaths, suicides, addictions, major medical and/or mental health issues, serious problems with family (maybe friends). I think at your age, there is a sense of invincibility -- we all had it -- and it is only a matter of time before reality checks in. Here's the good news: when very bad things happen, the people around you will go above and beyond to help. Most students do not realize how many nets in place to help you. Advisors, counselors, medical professionals. You just need to let them know. Don't wait. Be honest and upfront. As a student, when I ran into problems and informed my professors, the first response was always, "what can I do to help?" I pay forward that courtesy to my students. Many of my colleagues do, too. If you are in need of help, it is 100 percent okay to ask for it.

- Finally, HAVE FUN. Find an activity you enjoy (if you end up not enjoying it, find something new; just don't overload on activities!). Do the college thing. (You know ... drink a little ... RESPONSIBLY!). Go on a road trip with friends. Reward yourself after putting in a hard night of studying. Discover who you are, or who you want to be. Learn everything you can about the world and gain the appetite to go out an explore it. :)

The very best of luck, galen. :)

I am suddenly reminded of the scene in "2010" where the Americans and Soviets are forced to cease cooperation due to an impending nuclear war...

I wouldn't say 150 pages into Scholsser that his book is as well-researched on Cold War details as Gaddis', but it is a good complement.

Gaddis' book also sparked my interest in Cold War Germany, but I think the closest I may come to on a comprehensive work on the subject is "The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989" by Frederick Taylor. I may read that next, then "The Dead Hand" because from what you describe, it sounds like it overlaps with the end of "The Berlin Wall."

    The Cold War: A New History

I finished this book a few weeks ago. Phenomenal.

I remember the Cold War a little from the Reagan era, but did not have a full grasp of everything which set it into motion. What I ultimately took from the book is that it kind of was a 'hot' war fought by proxy, and rather confront each other directly, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. ended up having to deal with each other the way divorced parents tackle a problem child.

Kind of funny in a way, because whenever the two sides did want to get together, another world leader would create some sort of ridiculous commotion.

Of course, better it was fought that way than with nukes.

(My current book, which is also turning out to be a solid follow-up on the subject is Eric Scholsser's "Command and Control." I believe it was previously discussed on Hubski.)

Did you see the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary "Catching Hell"? The Bartman incident is dissected better than some capital murder cases.

As a Marlins fan, Mr. Bartman will hold a special place in my heart until I die. (But even I know that's not the play that really changed the game; it was Alex Gonzalez's error a few plays later.) One day, I will get to Wrigley and sit in the seat with my Marlins gear on... like a pilgrimage to Mecca.

    Entire projects hinged on small, context-free details that were impossible for me to catch.

What the hell does she think editing is? I guess she doesn't care about typos, style errors and making sure her facts are right because those details are tough to catch, too.

One thing I always tell people is that my skill set to edit words also translates into debugging code. English is a language. Code is a language.

There is no debugger for English, so you had better have an excellent grasp of its rules and syntax to make your writing 'work.'

I would never give up my gadgets... but I'm going to have to deviate from the pack and say advancement in medicine and medical technology.

(NHL fans be jealous.) I was listening to Scotty a Bowman talk today about all the surgeries he underwent as a young hockey player and the damage they did to him. Doctors in the 50s didn't realize that if you tore cartilage it's a bad idea to take all of it out. Not to mention, they hacked you up pretty good just to get in there.

I've had so many joints scoped and reconstructed, I have to believe I'm better off having had these surgeries in the 21st century than not. Even 15 years ago, I'm sure the materials, tools and techniques, maybe even drugs, aren't as good as they are today. I mean, hell, people who have hip or knee replacement surgery are up and walking the same day. That's nuts.

I can still play sports, and more often than not I find the 'repaired' parts feel 100 percent better than the ones that have not been cleaned up from wear and tear.

Hooray for modern, modern medicine.

The thing that's awesome about Hubski: I never remember if I found an article here since there's so much good stuff! That being said, my apologies if someone linked this in the main feed: How to keep the NSA out of your computer

I'm fascinated by BBS history/culture and I am also involved in amateur radio. Given the vast improvements in wireless communications, I've often wondered if (or when) we'll see non-commercial networks spring up in the United States.

Take FidoNet as an example. Why couldn't something like that -- with modern day improvements and Internet backbone workarounds -- work today? (I highly recommend watching the FidoNet episode of the BBS Documentary.)

I think I would give my entire left arm (disclosure: bad shoulder) to work on a practical implementation of something like this.

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