Adventures of Elphaba

Monday, February 20, 2012

Just thought you'd have some fun out of my hysterical cat.
Hello Elphaba
 First the head
 Then the entire body...

 Comin to getchya

 I got you!
 Her "What was that?" face...
 Her "You feed me and love me so I must be a God" face...
 Her "Did I do that?" face...
And this morning, playing in the sun...

Yes, she is trying to attack the light. What the heck?

And we finally got her a collar and a name tag. Cute right?
It's a green collar too. :)

Hope she makes you smile just as much as she makes us smile.

5 minute lunch with Dad

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

So every year my Dad does this math thing at Fresno State, and every year I go and have lunch with him and all the other people grading the tests of the kids from the County Office of Education and other places. This was the last year I got to go because it's my last year of college! This lunch was the shortest lunch we've had. Lori kept telling him he had to work. It's funny how these people know me through my dad, and I only see them maybe once a year. But I like them, they're all very cool, and they're all very smart. They always remember my name. 

And like my Dad, every now and then, forget and call me Courtney Veater. I love my maiden name. It means so much to me. To me in that one name, one word, means my family. My family is large, and every relationship is different and wonderful. Through my Dad and my Grandparents it means the ranch and a way of life. A life of hard work, fun, love and beauty. Through my Mom and my Nana and Papa it means hope, spice and spanish, friendships and love. My name means respect, honor, trust. My family is the best family in the world! You can better believe that it saddens me when I remember that I'm not a Veater anymore. 

But at the same time I've gained a whole new family, and they are just as awesome but in a very different way. A Van Patten way. And I'm proud to be joined to my husband, and through him his family, and proud to take on a new name, to form my own family. I'll always be a Veater, I'll always be what the name stands for, which is much more than I mentioned, but now I'm also becoming a Van Patten. I haven't fully figured out what this name means over the last two years, and I look forward to learning. I know one thing that my new name means is everything my husband is and stands for, and I wouldn't even know where to begin. 

Anyways! The whole point! I loved seeing my Dad, even if it was only for a few minutes. The thing I was thinking as I left was how I did learn all of this at one time, but when asked to do them now I really look like an idiot. Then I thought about why? And I thought of how at the end of each semester I dump most of the information that I learned to make room for the next semester. I then thought of how no one ever made it applicable to real life. Why didn't teachers show us how we can use it in real life? In everyday life? 

And then I thought, what was I clearing my brain for? 

That music class that was so stupid and I never had to study because I had learned it all in high school?

The chicano class that was ridiculous and made me want to shoot myself?

The poli sci class where I was taught less than what I learned in AP Gov. That class would have been helpful if I could have applied it and if it helped me understand how politics work today, how I can understand what I'm voting for and how to make a difference besides blindly voting.

That stupid stupid math class.
The stats class, where I learned nothing new because I learned it all in AP Stats.

My spanish is crap. I didn't try very hard, because I didn't need to learn the language to pass the class.

Anthropology? Was just the biased very opinionated teacher who tried to brain wash us. I only took the class because it was a MWF and she cancelled class every Friday.

Pop Culture? Yeah right. More like crazy wacko teacher, again, trying to brainwash us. A teacher should be unbiased and show all sides of an opinion SO WE CAN ACTUALLY LEARN SOMETHING.

I might have used physics. Maybe chemistry. But I understand Chemistry a lot more than physics, and the teacher never made physics applicable to every day life. 

Communications, or public speaking. Please, I learned that when I was 12 and giving my first talk in church. Why did I need to take that class? I already knew everything she taught (and believe me, I tried to learn something new) and I aced the class without a sweat. 
The classes I loved, and learned something.
Drama 62.
Contemporary Health.
Medical Terminology (if you're going into health and medicine, learn latin, and then take this class).
Abnormal Psych.
Intro to Psych.
And above all else almost every single Kines and KAC course. 

I had a brilliant idea. Why in the WORLD are we forced to learn about crap we don't care about? To make us a well rounded person? Bull. I didn't learn ANYTHING from those classes that were supposed to make me "well rounded" and if I did learn anything I forgot it right after the final to make room for the next semester's material.
My point is these educational institutions are so worried about making us well rounded individuals they've completely forgotten to teach. The whole no child left behind thing has led to even more standardized testing which has led to teachers teaching about the test instead of the material the kids should be learning at that age. They are so worried about the test, they've forgotten how to teach. And honestly those tests are so confusing, they're written to mess you up instead of measure what you've learned. They need to hire people who know how to write tests. Our children are stupider than ever! And we're cutting the arts, the PE, and anything else that is important to these kids. They're slaves. I'm a slave. I'm "earning" my degree by working hard and passing my classes, but what have I learned? Out of the past four years only two have been really important, because I could have fit everything I wanted to learn about into two years. Maybe add a semester where I did take a couple of those stupid classes to figure out what I wanted to do, but honestly. Did you see my list of things that I "learned" but am never going to use? 

That's basically paying for a diploma, not an education. 

And I know a diploma means nothing. It doesn't mean you're smart. It just means you jumped through the hoops. For example, how many high school kids do you know that graduated but don't know anything. I can name off a couple, and I can name off quite a few college kids too.

Why do they feel the need to make you do all that dumb stuff? Why couldn't I just specialize in Exercise Science? Why do they feel the need to tell me what I have to learn outside of my section? You may say, "well you have options" and that's bull. Especially now a days, when there is only one time per class and if it's full and you wanted to take it too bad so sad no one wants to hear about it sign up for a class that isn't full. That's the way it works. 

You don't have a choice.

And that's wrong. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful that I was able to go to college. I'm just not to happy about the way I had to go about to get my degree. 

And to think, all this came from a nice 5 minute lunch with my Dad. He's one of the best teachers I've ever known. And Dr. Larry Cusick. And Mr. Judd. And Dr. Felicia Greer. And Dr. Mark Baldis. And Mr. Roberts. And Dr. Torrance. And Mr. Jones. And Mr. Johnson. And Mr. Canfield. Both Latin teachers (but not the subs on their maternity leaves). My college English professor. My Oceanology teacher. My intro to psych teacher. My high school biology/zoology teacher. Not in any order, just who I remember the most. Because I remember what they taught. Because what they taught made a difference in my life, for better or worse. 

I guess I just hate seeing an imperfect system with so much potential, but so little power to change for the better. I'm not sure what I would change or how I would change it, but I do know that I believe that if you want to specialize in something you should be able to and not have to jump through stupid hoops to get the proof that you have jumped. And you want to know what's worse? People who are really smart, but can't go anywhere because they didn't get that diploma. Even worse, people who get the diploma but don't know squat. Because it means so much. But it's only a piece of paper. The real thing that means something is the person. 

For now, we'll have to jump through the hoops. Maybe, one day, getting your "education" will be simpler, and you might actually learn something. Maybe one day taxes will be easy. How simple would it be if they just took 10% across the board? Do you know how much that would save alone in just filling costs? 

Anyways...just dreaming. Dreaming of a world where...stupidity is the minority, not the majority. Where stupidity is not in power. 

Where people THINK. Where people strive to do GOOD. A world where Good Action actually Happens, instead of just talking about it happening.

This is my opinion. If you agree, that's great. If you don't, that's great too. But I'm tired. Eight years of elementary, 4 years of high school, and the last 4 years of college have made me tired. So please excuse me this once if I ask you not to leave your opinions, whether you agree or disagree. I'm just too tired.