College Bound

As promised in an earlier post, I want to talk about college — and if any of my Loyal Readers have kids (or even grandkids) who are thinking of attending college, you may want to pass this on to them.  Here’s my opening statement:

Most people have absolutely no business going to college.

I know that a college degree is now the same as a high-school diploma was, forty years ago; as the late Joseph Sobran once put it, we’ve gone from teaching Greek and Latin in high school to teaching remedial English in college. That doesn’t matter; here’s where we are now, and that’s all there is to it. The question is: what next? How to make the best of a bad thing? Here are a few observations, based on my being in college in two separate time periods, the early 1970s and most recently the late 2010s. (I was a slacker in the first, and a serious student in the second.)

Most kids are wasting their time in college. Unless they or their parents are independently wealthy, a class in any of the Humanities has no benefit other than educational. (Remember: I have a B.A. summa in History, which qualifies me to do exactly… squat.) As I looked around at the kids in my classes recently, all I could see was a bunch of slackers, stupid people, party animals and future schoolteachers. The guys were even worse. Few of them belonged in college. (No doubt this is not the case in most STEM classes, which is an even better reason not to get a B.A.)

All that said, let’s assume that everything I’ve written so far doesn’t apply to you, and you’re hell-bent on going to college. It’s going to cost a mint — you, your parents or grandparents are going to spend about $50,000 per annum or more — so if you’re going to go, get it done as quickly as possible. I took three years to get my B.A., which means that just about anyone can. So here we go:

Kim’s Rules And Guidelines For College Success

1. Treat college for what it is: it’s a JOB, a job to get a degree or certification. This means going to every scheduled class, lab or tutorial, taking notes, doing the pre-work and homework, and handing in assignments on time (or early). Your job is to ingest and retain educational content, not piss around in frat parties and pep rallies. Just like a job, you should spend at minimum 12 hours per day, whether in class or studying (for each hour of classroom time, add three hours for studying). Over and beyond your regular studying time, you should spend at least 18 hours prepping for a test, no matter how well you think you know the subject. This, by the way, is the kind of daily time that company managers devote to their job, which is why they get the big bucks and why the clockwatchers get stuck with minimum wage / basic salary scale. Work at least six hours per day on weekends if you have to; they’re not holy days, but class-free days in which you can prepare for the following week’s classes and tests. (And if Saturdays or Sundays are holy days for you, you’ll have to make up the missed time during the week.) I know this sounds like a lot of work — but it has a double benefit: you’ll succeed in college, and the work ethic will transfer to your future jobs and make you stick out from the slackers and deadbeats who are your colleagues.

2. Take copious notes. If and only if you can type at 90/90 (w.p.m. / % accuracy), then by all means ask the prof if you can use your laptop to take notes; otherwise write them — and then rewrite or type them up immediately after class while the memory is still fresh and you can fill in any gaps. My experience is that where profs are not allowing laptops in class, it’s because too many idiots are abusing the thing (Facebook, gaming etc) and worse, distracting the other students.

3. Turn off your damn phone in class. This is becoming such a problem that one prof has been known to take a half-filled bucket of water to the classroom, and put it on his desk with a warning sign: “Final destination for ringing phones.” His choice for the students: drop the phone in the water themselves, or leave and be suspended for a week’s classes. One student had to leave an exam — earning him an F — because his phone rang and he refused to dunk his iPhone. He appealed to the college administration, and lost.

4. Always show up early for class, especially on Day 1. The first class is the most important day of the semester, because that’s where you learn about the prof and how he teaches. Many profs are now not allowing latecomers into the first class at all, because of how important it is for the others who arrived on time. For all other classes: be ready to go when the prof is ready, which means arriving at least 5 minutes early and taking your seat.

5. Don’t sit in the back row. Usually, that’s where the screwups choose to sit, and the profs know it. Also, it’s easier to get distracted by other students when you’re in the back. If you inexplicably fear sitting in the front row (are we still in first grade?), then sit in the second row. Finally, don’t sit next to your BFF (this is especially true for women). Once again, we are not in first grade; we are there to study and learn like adults. On a related note: never take food or drink into the classroom. If you can relate a lecture to an important business meeting, then ask yourself this question: would you take out a Big Mac during a corporate budget meeting? (If you answer “yes” to this, you have a career waiting for you at the DMV, and even they don’t allow eating at your desk.) You’re not going to die of thirst in an hour; visit the drinking fountain en route to the classroom, and you’ll survive.

6. Mimic the study habits of the “A” students. Don’t fall into the slacker category (even though it’s easier or “cooler”). If possible, BE the Smart Kid in the class, the one who’s asked to join a study group rather than the one who’s always begging people to study with them. That said, there’s only space for one name on your degree certificate, so:
a. Avoid study groups. Mostly, you end up wasting your time propping up slackers and/or stupid people. Your education is your responsibility, and yours alone.
b. Avoid group projects, and avoid classes which set lots of group projects, as much as possible. If you HAVE to do a group project, secretly do ALL the work yourself and have it ready for when one member (or more) of the group flakes and doesn’t do their part of the assignment (the chances of this happening at least once during your college career: 100%).

7. Take the free marks. If there’s an attendance grade(!) and/or graded homework which will count towards the final grade, those are free marks. Grab them and get 100%. Think about it: if attendance is 5% and homework is 15% of the final grade, that’s 20% of your final grade in the bag if you get 100% for each. More to the point, NOT getting 100% for the giveaways is throwing marks away. Don’t refuse the gift.

8. Visit the library early and often. Google doesn’t count. Look up related books on your courses, and discuss how those authors differ from your prescribed texts with your prof. He’ll know you’re a serious student, and he’ll take your papers and exams more seriously. And in doing so, you’ll actually learn more about your course of study — which, lest we forget, is a Good Thing. Serious students get As, and if you’re not working towards As and Bs in every single course, you have no business being in college.

9. Enroll in as many summer classes as you can. Three months’ vacation is just wasted time, UNLESS you’re working like hell to pay off your tuition instead of taking out a loan. Also, use spring break to get ahead of your upcoming studies instead of puking your guts out / winning wet t-shirt competitions in Daytona, South Padre or Cabo. People who work in the real world get only two or three weeks’ vacation a year; as a student, you’re entitled to no more. One more time; college is a job, not an opportunity for Bacchanalian excess. Even worse, it’s a job you have to pay for. Treat it accordingly.

10. Choose your courses wisely. Know up front, by the way, that just because a particular course is in the catalog, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be taught during any particular semester. (I missed a French sub-major because the one class I needed for qualification wasn’t offered during my final semester.)
a.) If you’re not going to get a STEM degree, consider carefully whether you should be going to college at all. At worst, you should consider a business degree — a serious one, not “Business Communications” or suchlike nonsense. A serious business degree will involve heavy-duty statistics, math, economics and at least two accounting classes — more, if you’re going to specialize in Finance. If your prospective college’s school of business doesn’t offer such an intensive degree, find another college. Doing well in a business course (MBA, MFA etc.) requires as much work, study and dedication as a medical doctor’s M.D. degree.
b.) Expect to have to look for a job in the global market, so become fluent in a second significant* language, and if you’re of foreign origin and are already fluent in Spanish, Hindi or Chinese, for example, become fluent in a third language. It helps especially if the second language is relevant to your future career. (If you’re no good at languages, you’d better be damn good at something else.)
c.) Don’t take any course with the word “Studies” in its title or catalog description. You will find that “ethnic” or “gender” studies qualify you to do nothing at all. If you have a burning desire to take such courses, postpone the action for post-grad, as “adult education.”
d.) Degrees in “Communications” or “Education” are worthless. They do allow you to say “I have a college degree” but they are a red flag to anyone reading your resume. Ditto all the courses mentioned in c.) above. Here are just two examples relating to this choice of career.
1.) Back in the 1930s, a professor asked one of his students what he intended to do after graduation. When the student said he was interested in becoming a journalist, the professor was appalled, saying “That’s no career for a university man!” Wiser words were seldom spoken.
2.) In this day and age, if you’re getting a degree which (you believe) will get you a teaching job, you will be wasting your time and money. There is a huge glut of teachers, and most college teaching jobs will soon be made redundant by online courses anyway. Public school teaching nowadays is a career for deadbeats and idiots: no matter how dedicated you are, or how much you love the chillins, the public school bureaucracy will stamp that out in a minimum of one year. The dropout rate for new teachers is appallingly high: 60% on average will quit after the second year of teaching, and go on to do something else. If you’re one of the 60%, don’t even think of getting a job in corporate training — your B.Ed will make you the dunce of the applicants, and H.R. knows it. (If you can’t define the difference between training and education, quit now.)

If all the above do not make you want to become a welder, carpenter or electrician, then good luck to you. (The often-scorned “tradesmen” jobs such as the ones listed are actually a far better bet than a B.A. when it comes to long-term financial success, but I’ll be discussing that in another post.)

Oh, and one last caveat, if you’re absolutely set on going to college: never, ever join a sorority or fraternity, no matter how much you hear about the wonderfulness of being a sister or brother. They are degree-killers, and the failure rate in the “Greek” community is appalling. Animal House was great comedy, but it’s no way to go through life, son.

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*a “significant” language means a major economic country’s language, such as Chinese, Japanese, German, Russian, Hindi, or Arabic. Languages such as Catalan, Celtic or Icelandic, for example, may be lovely romantic choices but they’re irrelevant, economically speaking.


28 comments already!

Drugs, Disposal Of

One of the interesting things about cancer sufferers is the quantity and scope of the drugs needed to live their lives painlessly — what’s known in the medical business as “palliative” care (you’re going to die soon, but we’re going to make your life as bearable as possible, with all the drugs you need).

We were already on this train, of course, with Connie’s incurable back troubles. That was morphine, quite a bit, taken three times a day just so she could walk the few steps to the kitchen and back, and ditto to the bathroom and back. Then, with cancer, came a whole battalion of new stuff: hydrocodone for the pain, Ativan / Xanax for the emotional stress, something to make her sleep, something (actually, quite a few things) to make her bowels work (pain meds stop you up like concrete), something to help her bladder, something to alleviate the nausea caused by taking so many drugs in concert, and so on, and so on, and so on.

The end result was that after she died, I was left with a metric tonne of prescription narcotics. Just out of curiosity, I looked up the “street” value of the drugs I had left, and it appeared that I might not be able to pay off the house, but I could certainly pay off the car. (Source: the DEA website: government as a source of useful if questionable data, who knew?)

Anyway, I wasn’t about to sell the narcotics on the street, a.) because it’s the wrong thing to do, b.) because it’s illegal (and if you can’t tell the difference between the two, there’s a job waiting for you at the Clinton Foundation), and c.) because I have absolutely no idea how or even where to start this kind of felony. (My luck, the very first person I approached with: “Hi, wanna buy some morphine or Xanax?” would turn out to be an undercover cop.) And, good grief: none of my friends and relatives were interested, because, well, because they’re all law-abiding, non-drug-abusing people and could get drugs from their doctors if they needed them.

And just being in possession of all these drugs in these quantities was probably some kind of felony. I had to get rid of them; but how and where?

Nobody wanted me to flush them down the toilet or in the sink, because that meant the drugs would eventually get into the water supply. So I tried to do the right thing.

First, I went to the drugstore which had provided so many of the drugs to us: no dice. Obviously, the drugs can’t be re-issued, and they didn’t do disposal of unused / unwanted drugs, either. The pharmacist told me to try the Fire Department; apparently, they could take and destroy the stuff.

Except that wasn’t the case. The Plano FD, apparently, had stopped that program years ago. How about the Plano PD, they suggested. So off I went to our local police, with whom I have had a pleasant and amiable relationship for over a dozen years (except for the Girl Scout Incident which was all a big mistake anyway).

Here’s where it gets funny. “We don’t accept drugs, except in April and October, where we have a partnership with the DEA.” As Connie had had the temerity to die in February, and not in sync with Law Enforcement’s schedule, I would have to wait until April. Which I wasn’t about to do.

The DEA informed me that it wasn’t their jurisdiction; it was a local matter. (One wonders how disinterested they’d have been if I’d tried to sell the narcotics to one of their undercover agents in the street, but let me not denigrate the efforts of our federal law enforcement agencies.)

In desperation, I called the hospice nurse who had taken such good care of Connie over the last few months of her life, and finally(!) got a halfway-decent response. Here’s what she told me to do.

Crush everything up into powder. Soak a large number of paper towels with a solution of dish soap and water. Spread the powder evenly over the paper towels, and wait for them to dry. Throw the dried paper towels away in the trash, or burn them outside and throw the ashes in the trash. All this sounded eminently reasonable and responsible.

So I flushed them all down the toilet.


10 comments already!

No Irish Need Apply

I was chatting to a friend about dealing with the loss of one’s wife, when he made a rather startling admission. Now before I go any further, I should point out that he’s been more-or-less happily married to his Mrs. for well over two dozen years, and says he’s never been unfaithful to her (and I believe him, because… well, because I know him).

“If something horrible were to happen to _____,” he said, “and I wanted female companionship after I came out of mourning, there’s no way I would ever have any kind of long-term relationship again.”

“You’d just date women?”

“I’d rent ’em,” came the calm reply. “With the way women behave nowadays, I doubt whether there’s a single one who’s worth the trouble.”

Which leads me to the next point. Apparently, some Australian prostitute [Redundancy Alert] recently came out into the open about her chosen profession, and gave a list of her absolute no-nos when it came to things she’d do for a client. The most amusing one was: “No Irish men… for obvious reasons.”

You have to know how badly she views Irish men, when almost all her clients would be Australian. Of course, she’s Australian too, which means she’s dreadful. Even my friend wouldn’t touch her with a long stick.

Lest I be accused of being a hater or Strine-phobic, here’s a pic of an Australian wedding party:

My friend’s comment: “Good grief. No wonder Australian men drink so much.”


2 comments already!

Quote of the Day

The country needs a strong opposition Party that is not on crack.” — comment by Minh-Duc.

Incidentally, this comment was made in August 2005. If the liberals were on crack in 2005, then their modern-day counterparts must have laced the crack with PCP.


3 comments already!

Not All Men

In the Comments to Random Partners below, Reader Egregious Charles takes issue with my statement about treating woman as the gentler sex.

Women have never been the gentler sex; notice how tribal people turn over captives to the women when they’re to be tortured, as in the Congo and Native American tribes in the Old West? There’s only one way men are less gentle, and that’s to other men when it’s on behalf of women (or to show off for them).  

Well, yes. Except that I’m sorry, but I refuse to use the rituals of primitive peoples (e.g. the Congo and Native American tribes, also Islam) as an example for anything other than something to be avoided. Western civilization has improved the lot of both men and women immeasurably by improving on the customs and mores of primitive peoples, while holding on to those aspects that actually improve society. This includes institutions like marriage (which formalizes the family structure), and treatment of the weaker members of society (e.g. forbidding that women to be stoned to death for adultery, genital mutilation to “curb” the female sex drive, etc.)

I would suggest that much of today’s societal woes in the West have come about because we’ve taken a step backwards — undermining the social institutions and mores upon which Western civilization was built, to where we arrive at revolting outcomes such as Tinder.

Most men don’t use Tinder.

Of course not, and nor do most women. But countless millions do, according to the app’s download statistics, and my commentary is based on that fact. I don’t ever buy into the “NAWALT” (not all women are like that) or, on this case, “NAMALT”, because the fact of the matter is that when something becomes widespread, especially in a certain segment of society (e.g. Millennials, in this case), it’s worthy of commentary.

Men aren’t generally speaking assholes except to each other, and I’m sorry but this is just an example of posturing to look better than the other men. 

To take your points in order: I would respectfully suggest that the coarsening of society has enabled men to go back to treating women like shit. Here’s what people seem to forget. The laws which make divorce so advantageous for women in terms of child support and property division didn’t appear out of the blue: they were a reaction to the fact that men often deserted their wives and refused to live up to their responsibilities as parents. Of course, not all men behaved that way towards their wives; but enough of them did to make the passage of such laws possible. That women have turned around and used divorce against men is terrible, but that’s just an example of laws often having good intentions but unintended consequences. (This is true of most laws, by the way, but that’s a topic for another time.)

So your comment that “Men aren’t generally speaking assholes except to each other” is factually incorrect: men are assholes quite promiscuously, whether to each other or to women. We can talk all day about why this is or is not the case, or who’s to blame and so on, but you’ve committed an egregious [sicfaux pas on this website, which is to take an obviously-flippant comment seriously.

My position on women behaving like assholes, by the way, is well documented — a reading of my essay, “The Pussification of the Western Male“* might be salutary — and yes, I am (and was then) perfectly aware that Not All Women Are Like That (the latter being tiresomely pointed out to me in the thousands of angry emails I received after the publication of said screed).

As for “posturing to look better than the other men“, you will find, as you read more of my writings, that I don’t ever “posture” or, to use the current en vogue expression, “virtue-signal” in any way. I state my position on matters quite clearly (and often bluntly), and how people take those positions is a matter of utter indifference to me. To restate that (because it’s quite important, in visiting this website): I once stated in an earlier time that you may agree with me, and stay; or disagree with me, and move on: either choice is irrelevant to me, because I really don’t care about other people’s opinion of me, one way or the other. I live my life in splendid isolation [sic] from the opinions of others. If you understand nothing else about me, you need to understand this.

So if you excused me of “posturing” out of ignorance of who I am, that’s okay; if you used it as a debating trick or insult, it didn’t work.

By the way, Readers can expect a lot more posts on topics like Tinder, the male backlash against modern feminism in the PUA (pickup artist) and the  MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) movements, and so on. I find the whole thing fascinating, and visiting the various websites dedicated to the above has been at times hilarious and at others, deeply disturbing. I once predicted the MGTOW action, but I did not foresee the PUA activity or the industry is generated. Watch this space.


*At some point, Tech Support v.2 and I will figure out how to import various of my earlier essays (Pussification, Let Africa Sink, The Gun Thing etc.) from the old websites and post links somewhere on the sidebar of this site. It just won’t be today.


12 comments already!

Trying Out

When I quit blogging back in 2008, Loyal Readers from the time may recall that the Son&Heir was trying his best to make TeamUSA in the 10-meter Air Pistol and 50-meter Free Pistol events.

For the benefit of New Readers, however, I need to digress for a moment so I can explain what all the above means.

My son is unquestionably one of the finest shots I’ve ever seen — far, far better than I ever was. This is not Dad-bragging; he was heavily recruited by the Army to enlist so that he could join their Marksmanship Unit, and had he not had a small health issue, he could have walked into the Fort Bragg sniper school (once again, not bragging: one of the Army’s sniper instructors wanted to recruit him, until I told him about the health issue). Apart from his pistol shooting, about which I will speak later, he s an astounding rifle shot, capable of shooting minute-of-angle (MOA) at 400 meters (i.e. shooting and hitting a 4″-square target at 400 meters distance) without a scope. He’s done it, in fact, using my old 1906-manufactured bolt-action Swedish Mauser, using 6.5x55mm surplus (not target) cartridges.

Now for his pistol shooting: as a junior, he was many-times Texas state champion. As a senior (over 18) at the National Champs at Fort Bragg in 2009, he was ranked at #13 at Air Pistol, and #17 at Free Pistol, and subsequently improved his rankings to #7 and #13 respectively. This was enough to get him onto Team USA’s “development” squad. (They like people who can shoot in two events; saves on travel costs.)

This meant that the Son&Heir had a shot [sic] at making the team for the 2010 London Olympics. (Only the top 5 make the actual team, and he was competing against the kids from the Army Marksmanship Unit, so it really was only an outside chance.) So off he went to Trials at the USOC range in Colorado Springs, but sadly, he was unable to improve his ranking, so the Olympic dream ended.

Life then intervened in the form of his college commitment, and he stopped practicing three times a week. Brazil came up, but it would have screwed him up scholastically so he didn’t bother. He entered a few [Texas] collegiate Air Pistol events, and won all of them, against (admittedly) poor competition. Now he just shoots for recreation, “…when I need to hang out with old friends.”

By the way, he graduated cum laude so that, at least, wasn’t a waste of his time. Now he’s taken up indoor rock climbing, both for recreation and to help with that little health issue I referred to earlier (something to do with his lungs; nothing critical).

He also has a pretty girlfriend, whom we all love. She’s from Canada, but we’re a very inclusive family. (Comment from Daughter: “She’s far too nice; what’s she doing with him?” Ahhh… siblings.)

The Son&Heir will be 28 on his next birthday.


8 comments already!