Sunday, December 23, 2012

Goals and Accomplishing Things.

There's a lot of stuff on my list to do over this break. The biggest things are applying for colleges, getting ready for the spring, re-reading as much of the wheel of time as I can for the release of AMOL on Jan 8, and learning 3+ guitar pieces for the spring semester.

Here's a quote that I like: "When you do not have time for something, that is not an issue of scheduling, it is an issue of values."

So, I have too many things I want to do. *Minor* things on my list include writing a book, typesetting an entire semester of calculus notes, writing an entire app (game), and typesetting about 15 pages of music, if not more.

So yeah, I'm busy for the next few weeks, and then the semester starts. I've already had to make some decisions on what's really important, and what isn't. I've stepped back from re-reading the entire WoT series, to just reading what I can. If I wanted to get the entire thing done, I'd be spending 6-8 hours every day reading.

But I wish that I didn't have to, that I had enough time to do something. It really felt like an issue of scheduling, but it truly is an issue of values. Do I value reading more than getting in to college? More than being ready for another semester? No, I don't. And I've had to step back and realize that.

That being said, I do want to knock down my todo list. Besides what I've listed here, other minor stuff is probably enough on its own to keep me busy for the entire break.

So what am I going to do? Well, I think I figured out what my problem is. I had (have) such a huge list because, once I started making the list, whenever something came up, I said, "I'll put that on my Christmas Break todo list!", and felt organized and accomplished.

Yeah, that didn't work. So now, I don't have a xmas break todo list. I have an ongoing todo list. I'll get as much as I can, done over this break, but what I can't get done, I'll keep working on during the semester. Yes, I'll still focus really heavily on schoolwork. But I still want to get things done, too.

Note: I typed up pretty much the entire Allemande from Bach yesterday, and I'm planning to knock out the Courante today. But I've taken the music scores page down for the time being, and I'll talk more about that later. Right now, I'm going to go be productive.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Today's post is a short one. I went to my best friend from high school and middle school's birthday and graduation party today.

The top picture is the two of us, with some friends, on a middle school science team, when we won 1st place in a regional competition. It's from 2006.

The second picture is today. 4 of the same people, the girl is the guy on the right's sister.

Wow, we've grown up. The one in the middle (his party) is graduating, and the others of us are all off at various colleges.

I'm too young to be feeling this old...

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Well, the semester is about over. I really consider it to be over now, even though I still have 2 exams to take today.

This post is going to be about how hard work pays off, if you're not in the mood to read about that kind of thing, you can just skip it now.

Okay, so, I've made an A in all of my classes this semester. But wait, I've not taken 2 final exams yet, how is that possible? Hard work man, hard work.

First, I took 5 classes this semester. The government ended up getting dropped, and I'm taking more classes than I'd like next summer, but it'll work out.

So, Guitar, Calculus, Physics, Computers, and History.

Guitar, if you show up to lessons every week, practice, and play well in the end of semester recital, you get an A. I don't know that it's really possible to not get an A in this one. That's not to say it was easy, I spent lots of time practicing for it, and will hopefully be spending even more next semester.

Calculus. The teacher usually assigns odd problems, but I do all of the ones in the range he assigns; so if the assignment is 7-31 odds, I do 7-32, all. And it helps so much. My test grades were 90, 93 (final exam), 97, and 99. I did not have a single grade the entire semester that was below a 90 in the class, and I had room to relax for the final. I also made a typed up 2-3 page review sheet for each test, as I went, so for the final, all I had to do was make one more for new material, and study the sheets I already had for previous tests.

Physics. I pretty much ran my groups' labs (post on that later), did all the homework, and had 92, 96, and 96 on the tests. I needed a 60 on the final to get an A. I haven't gotten my final exam grade back yet, but unless an asteroid destroys my test, I'm not in the least worried about it. Also, we were allowed note-cards on each of the tests, and I simply added to the same one every time, even as I went along doing the homework, so I had all of the formulas with me for every test, and never really sweated about them.

Computers. I worked hard, did every single assignment, turned in all of them plenty before time, and spent extra time on every program making sure the formatting and comments were especially how the teacher wanted them. I read the book before class every day, and reviewed the slides before every test. I needed a 35 on the final, I made a 74 because I knew I didn't need to study for the test, and spent my time studying for Physics and Calculus. The test today in the class is simply to replace your lowest grade, it can't hurt your final grade. My teacher has already emailed me and told me I have and A without having to do anything else, so I'm just taking the one today for fun. (And because I have to be on campus to take care of some other paperwork for future semesters, and college visits. A post on that later too.)

History. The teacher offered extra credit activities in class, extra credit on the tests, outside extra credit (go to a lecture on a Saturday, and write up a 3 paragraph report on the speakers), and I did every single exercise. I need 5 points out of 125 (+20 extra credit) points today, to make my A.

Moral of the story: Work hard during the semester. Do every exercise, activity, and extra credit assignment that your teachers give you, do them well, and make notes to study for your tests as you go along. If you do this, as well as getting help in your classes when you don't know what's going on (I mostly got help in Physics, but I visited my Calculus teacher at least every other week with homework questions, and asked for plenty of help in Computers too.), you'll be fine for finals. I love being able to relax, review old notes, and not have to stress when it's finals time. It's incredibly rewarding.

Note: This amount of work means that you usually have to drop doing some other things that you enjoy doing, such as blogging, during the semester. But it's totally worth it. Trust me.