2011/01/03 M – Winding-Up

I type this back in my Provo apartment at Southridge, #14, on my little portable computer.  Some lunatic girls are giggling and shrieking out in the cold, and I feel gratified again that I was able to fulfill my dream of studying at BYU.
If I hadn’t studied here… I would have been equally or more irritated by the shamefulness of my sub-peers… but I always would have blamed their Gentility, their inbreeding, or rather in-rearing.  Here, I have discovered that even the very best of young people, as is commonly believed, are “saints” in tuition status only, and would have been ousted from the kingdom if they had lived among their fore-runners.  So, by coming here, I have learned… what?  Maybe that the category and class of people I rejoice in… does not exist naturally, and must be grown and created by many years of gospel.  Maybe this will give me patience on a day when I need it, to a person whom I need it toward.
At the same time, I know this school is blessed.  The things most hateful to me are not the things most hateful to God, I suppose; and in his eyes, these young people are, in general, as exemplary as you will find anywhere, because they abstain from the killing sins.  But leave those to an all-seeing Judge.  The things that offend me are not those hidden crimes of the heart, or secret corruptions, if only because I don’t know about them.  What bothers me are the things that destroy my peace by proximity and sensibility.  Mindless behaviour is what I abhor…
Well… to be serious… it’s my own short vision that makes me so disappointed at them; give me anything comparable to weigh BYU monkeys against, and they come out better.  All I need to do is plug up my ears… and then I can hardly find another flaw.  I know that in a more mature but less church-bubble-raised community, my complaints would be greater.  Bless the Church bubble, maligned by the stupid like a leash is hated by a wild dog, but paid for by the blood and tears of our ancestors, who nearly saw their own destruction because they lacked such a bubble.  Away from this place, such things would exist as theft, which is an endangered species here, and committed mainly by outside vagrants, if at all.  Real drunkenness, I admit, would ruin my peace ten times more easily than the seemingly-drunken-yet-still-sobre condition of these revellers, these partially domesticated animals… these post-latter-day-saints… these late-borne children of God.  Plug my ears, and they possibly are infantile gods… and I hope no reversalist Deity will take that as a prayer for deafness.  The reason I plug my ears is to preserve my hearing (and my mind), not to lose it.
The day, I sense, will come when I remember them here warmly.
For my missing data on my home computer… I’m not sure how well the memory-card picture recovery went, beyond the first one.  (Some or maybe most of those “Shanna” pictures were really Shane pictures, I found.)  As for the work research, the document files I had recovered actually had been corrupted, and were entirely lost to me.  A lot of the notes I had taken were indirectly relevant to the project itself, mostly being aligned with my own angle of interest.  Last night and today before leaving, I hurried through and collected the two or three usable things I’d already found from Trudy’s History of the Church books.
Now I’m in the rare, back-wards situation of being behind in my work on the night before the semester starts…
I think my financial peril has already passed.  In a way, it frees me to work on the project more out of interest than of fear of the bill collector.
So… students’ marks were posted recently, and I will win the prize for variety if there is one.  My grades were:
A (Religion – History of Joseph Smith)
A- (Korean 201)
B+ (Viet 101)
B- (Phonology/Morphology)
C+ (TESOL Internship)
C- (Theoretical Syntax [of English])
D (Language Acquisition in TESOL)
The A was just a too-easy class; only three tests, nothing else.  Of course, you had to attend the lecture daily and take non-stop notes for the whole hour.  Have I written here already that I suspected the teacher, Susan Easton Black, allowed multiple correct answers on her tests?  Anyway, it was a very enjoyable subject and presentation that I have been reviewing again in my research job.
The A- was a comparatively generous grade, I think.  I completed almost everything, but the work-book, selections from which were periodically due, and which I spent immense effort catching up with at the end, another teacher’s assistant might have marked me down on.  In fact, that’s what happened in the C+ class…
The B+… well, also on the favourable side.  None of the five of us did extremely well on those tests, though some out-did others.  I gave up a bit in turning in some end-of-term work for this class.  I’m still a little regretful toward the assistant, who cut short our review meeting before the last test because I hadn’t already reviewed enough for her liking.  She suggested that we re-schedule, but in my chagrin and business I decided not to.
The B- is probably correct.  I think I deserved a little better, since I stayed abreast of the subject nearly the entire semester, and processed it without difficulty.  I skipped a couple of the nearly constant assignments toward the end, and didn’t review quite the right things for what should have been an easy final test.
The C+ went about the same as the A- class, besides the nearly 200 hours I put in, out of the 150 needed, as a tutor or assistant at the ELC.  I finally caught up with the work at the end, and the teacher’s aide seemed pleased… but earlier, she had commented that she hadn’t received something that I had e-mailed her some days before.  It’s possible that she didn’t receive some assignment.  Maybe she just curved me down.
The C- class was the one where the teacher hum-bugged me on the mid-term test I inexplicably missed, besides showing a disdain for contradiction or debate throughout the semester.  Still, I was happy to see this grade posted early, since I thought I may have failed the class based on my poor performance on the final test.  I had gone in to a department counselor, Beeston, to ask whether she would raise my credit-hour limit in winter in case I needed to take the class again, since it wasn’t possible for me to pass up my introductory Tibetan class to make room.  She wasn’t opposed to it.  I also started planning to calculate how much money that teacher would cost me on BYU’s behalf (that is, on the tithing fund’s behalf) if she failed me.  It was that day or the next, I think, when I saw my C-, and rejoiced.  Anyway, if not for that test mis-hap, it surely would have been an A- or A, since the scroogey teacher in fact was a lenient grader, and soft on material.
The D… I’m not quite sure about.  Besides tests, there were just a few assignments in the class.  The first I completed well.  I spent a good deal of effort on one that turned out to be ungraded.  Another, I started on in the first week, but lost track of by its due date late in the semester, and wasn’t able to finish up by that date.  After resting, I checked and realized the teacher had a policy of reducing credit for late work before rejecting it totally, and I was already past his rejection date.  For some reason, he sent me an e-mail later asking if I had that assignment.  He was a nice guy, so I figured he was flexing his policy.  I hurried and put the final touches on it and turned it in… and then realized that he had assumed he had just mis-placed my score, and was a little put-off by my thinking that he would bend his policy.  But, bend it he did, apologizing that he would need to reduce its score…  And finally, there was an assignment that I had completed about 100 times already (which was, observe an English class for two hours), but that for some reason, in the midst of my multitude of observational reports for my internship class, I failed to copy and hand in to this class too.  It must have been the absences inherent to morning classes later in the semester…  Anyway, he thought it was all worth a D.  Maybe, again, I was curved against slightly.
In sum, I ended up with a 2.84 average for the semester… which is a B-minus-and-a-half.  This was a productive semester, and I would rather have given myself at least a B or B+ for it, and I’m glad I don’t really need these grades for anything, and thus have no reason to be disappointed at the institutional machine.
I do wish I could attend more language classes here…
It’s 22:23.  Maybe I’ll go to bed and get started on this winter semester… …my last.
-Steve
(Ah… I and Myeong-Seon talked by phone a couple days ago.  She was feeling well; I think she had taken some medication for pain.  She had an appointment with the doctor in the next week.
I wonder how much I’ll miss her, back at school.  I seemed fine before Christ Mass, though it was an even more silent existence, with her gone…)
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