Some Nice Sounds

  • Dmaj7 chord
  • The sound of a dog’s feet when it’s walking towards you
  • children’s screams as you sacrifice them to satan
  • music
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More Problems With IB

I got back to writing yesterday and I felt the urge to write more today, so why not do what I do best – complain.

I love acting like my life is so much worse than it is. It’s a hobby of mine. Does it count for CAS? Said every student ever…

Back to the topic at hand – IB. I read my last post about IB and I do think I’ve had a slight change of perspective. The EE isn’t some Goliath as I once considered it to be, but rather a beast of a smaller size meant to be tackled in bits and pieces. Now that I’ve come to a somewhat happy resolution with the insurmountable essay, I want to talk about something else – predicted grades.

IB results come out in July, whereas most university acceptance letters are sent out between February and May (can differ a lot, don’t take my word as gospel). This means that your offers are based on the grades that your teachers predict you will get and the grades you actually get are simply reinforcements. You can probably already see some problems with this.

Firstly, there is no standardisation of the process of predicting grades throughout the world. I know because my friends in another school are getting completely different predicted grades to me even though our actual exam results are similar. This means that I could be predicted a really high grade but end up getting something much lower.

Secondly, predictions can be wrong. Even if there was a completely standard way to predict grades for students, how much predictive validity does this really have? I may have fluked my way through a few exams and tests, but that doesn’t mean that they’re a good indication of how well I’m going to do on the final exam. For instance, if I get no sleep the night before an exam I’m likely to score quite badly. There are too many variables that are not taken into account, which reduces the validity of predicted grades as a means to get us into university.

Luckily, I single-handedly worked this out through the use of my battery-operated brain and deduced that I can hack the system. How do I make my predicted grades a better indication of how well stress-ridden me will do on a test? Make them lower.

Most people™ try to increase their predicted grades by sucking up to teachers so that they can get into a good university, but I argue that we need to do the opposite – reduce our grades by just a little so that the culmination of our hard work through IB is not seen as the final grade we achieve on a painful exam. It might not make sense to you, but I think it’s the most realistic version of our grades that we’ll have because there are too many variables that could affect our final grades.

You don’t have to agree with me. I rarely agree with myself.

Are Instrumental Skills Transferrable?

Don’t let the title fool you. This isn’t some lecture about how to keep your skills up to date, it’s just the shortest possible title I could think of for this post.

As none of you know, I play the guitar. I’m not very good but my knowledge about music is passable. Now that I’ve established myself as an expert in this field, let me tell you a little about what it’s like to teach yourself how to play new instruments based off your knowledge about another instrument.

I’d say that if you know how to play an instrument you’re probably going to be able to teach yourself how to play another one. Of course, you can teach yourself a new instrument regardless of what previous experience you have in music but I think of it like learning a new language. More experience leads to a easier process, and some are easier to learn based on what other instruments you know. For example, like learning Portuguese is easier if you know Spanish, learning the ukulele is easier if you know how to play the guitar. However, if you want to teach yourself how to play a completely different instrument don’t be disheartened – it’s possible.

I’ll start off the actual advice with an example. I taught myself how to play the ukulele sometime last year. I know loads of people who are self-taught in the uke (because who’s ever heard of ukulele lessons???) and you really can’t go wrong with it as a beginner instrument. This brings me to my first point – some instruments are simply easier than others. Ukulele requires basic coordination and doesn’t really hurt your fingers, so a little practice is all you need to be able to play a ton of songs. If you’re new to music and trying to learn more instruments, you could start out easy to get the hang of the theory and slowly progress into more challenging instruments. But who am I to tell you what to do.

Secondly, instrumental skills are transferrable because most instruments are based on the same basic theory. If you understand some basic theory you’re probably going to be able to understand how it applies to another instrument and then practice is all you need to learn it. For example, I knew the theory behind chords, so when I wanted to learn the piano I simply played the triads and it sounded fine so I kept going with it. However, that’s one of the problems I encountered with teaching yourself instruments.

You are probably not going to play things ‘the right way’. I know this because when I was teaching myself the piano I had people telling me my technique was all wrong. Right from the notes I was playing to the way I placed my fingers on the keys, my technique was a mess. This is one of the downsides to teaching yourself an instrument based on previous instrumental knowledge, but I don’t think it matters much. In fact, I think that when you teach yourself a new instrument you strip down the layers to the most basic scales and rules in music and find out for yourself how all the instruments are linked. I don’t think you need to play music ‘right’, just make it sound good. But it would have been helpful to know that you’re supposed to use your thumb while playing the piano sooner.

There are going to be many differences between instruments, such as the use of tabs in guitar and notes in piano, but I think that you need to let go of your need for perfection and really feel the music if you want to teach yourself multiple instruments. You could obviously look up tutorials and ask friends for help, but I find figuring everything out on your own the most rewarding, even if it results in a slightly different way of playing stuff. So I guess it boils down to whether you want to focus on the technique and the beauty in the action of playing an instrument, or just having fun with it.

I love talking about topics in which I have absolutely no expertise.

My Problem With IB

I’m only a week into school and I already have tons to complain about. Thank you, education system.

During the holidays, I kind of forgot how stressed school makes me. Some background information: I’m currently in the 11th grade and I’m doing IB, which is this program that messes with your head. You have to do 6 subjects plus activities and this bunch of other stuff because all this pretty much defines what university you’ll be able to go to. I wonder who came up with the idea to let teenagers decide their entire future at the age of 16. I mean, I can’t even decide what to eat for breakfast. How the hell am I supposed to know what I want to do for the next 40 years?

Problem #2: teachers act like they’re doing you a favour by giving you the amount of homework that you’re getting. They aren’t. In one class, five pages of work may seem like a decent amount but if you get that same amount of work for each class, you add up to 30 pages of homework a day. On top of that, there are extracurricular activities which, in IB, you have to do to pass the course. So, no, teachers – you aren’t doing me a favour by giving me three tests next week instead of four.

If you’re doing IB, it’s likely that the bane of your existence is the *claps of thunder* extended essayDUN DUN DUN. If you’re not familiar with this, run. Run and hide. Never escape your cave. Learn how to survive in the wild.

Still here? You might want to see a psychologist because you are insane. Anyway, the extended essay is a hellish 4000 word essay that you have to write on a topic of your choice. It doesn’t sound that bad, but it is. After months of research, you pick an extremely specific research question which you can somehow write 4000 words on. Not to mention, it’s very competitive. You see, you need a supervisor for your essay and there are only so many supervisors for each subject. So this means that you have to:

a) Suck up to a teacher so that they accept your proposal.

b) Actually put effort into the extended essay before you even start writing it.

I can’t begin to explain how much stress I’m under about the essay because I don’t have a topic yet and I have about a week to find three. This should be fun.

Anyway, this was part 1. There are so many more problems I have with school but I can write a part 2 (maybe). I’m very non-committal so don’t hold me to it.

Wifi

I love the Internet. ‘Tis a gift to us antisocial strangers who wish to do nothing but lay in bed and scroll through Tumblr all day. Buuuut my problem is my wifi.

It’s very slow.

I know that everyone complains about this, but I don’t think I’ve ever known fast wifi. It’s always been slow everywhere I go. What makes it worse is that the wifi doesn’t work in my room a majority of the time. It’s racist.

I can’t do basic things like load youtube without screaming at my laptop screen, throwing a fit and sacrificing a goat to Satan. I’m running out of sacrificial goats.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say their wifi is fast. It’s always slow. Everyone’s wifi is slow. Why are we not fixing this problem? I need my daily dose of memes. I need something to fill the void inside me.

Back To School

Today was my first day of school. It was okay. It went a lot better than I was expecting, but that’s because I had very low expectations.

That got me thinking – why are first days so difficult for me? I’m not entirely annoyed at having to wake up early and be out of the house all day, but for some reason going back to school makes me feel extremely anxious. I wonder if I finished all the work, if I made good use of my holidays, etc. The disruptions of the holidays isn’t what annoys me about the first day of school – it’s the anxiety that comes along with it. After a break, my mind forgets that going to school isn’t so bad, so when I have to go back I’m just not prepared for it. I always imagine it’s going to be a lot worse than it ends up being. Maybe that’s a good thing.

If I keep expectations low then it’s almost impossible to have a really bad day at school. This way, I won’t dread going to school the next day, despite all the work I have to do. Once I get the momentum going, it’s back to normal. First days shouldn’t be that difficult. I wish the night before the first day reflected what the day was actually going to be like rather than being a chaotic mess of screaming, crying, and wanting to run away and change my last name.

But that’s just what I think.

New Year’s Resolutions

Who the hell decided that we make unachievable, unrealistic, pure GARBAGE goals for ourselves at the beginning of the year? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to start out my year breaking promises.

On the surface, New Year’s Resolutions are a sweet little reminder that you need to make changes in your life but imagine if we had a serious system that made us hold onto them for the rest of the year? The idea of keeping, what are usually, difficult promises that I make while I’m high on life for an entire year is nauseating. I can’t even keep something like a promise to exercise more or procrastinate less for a few hours, so why bother restricting myself with painful changes to my lifestyle?

Personally, I don’t think we need ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ to make a change. If you find yourself wasting too much time on the Internet in August, why wait till January to stop? The whole idea of ‘new year new me’ is so restrictive. A new year doesn’t equal a new you. You can change yourself whenever the hell you want. A new day can equal a new you. Why do we need to force ourselves to make huge and sudden changes to our lifestyles at the beginning of the year when we can do it whenever we want to?

In fact, it’s statistically proven that you’re more likely to make lifestyle changes if you do them slowly and spread them out rather than plunging in. Okay, that wasn’t actually statistically proven but if you give me the resources and time I’m willing to go prove it. Yeah, I’m supposed to be studying right now I’d just about be willing to do anything that gets me out of it.

OH GOD SCHOOL STARTS TOMORROW KILL ME PLEASE.

(Don’t take that seriously, I’m a mess).