Musings on Everything

I muse, therefore I write.

On Work Ethics

For once, I’m not quite sure how to phrase this. Well, let me start with some background. I associate myself with the most intense people I imagine existing on this planet. By that, I don’t mean that they are more intense than everyone else, because I can’t really say that without having met everyone else. I mean that they are first-class intense, so to speak. Whether it’s a subconscious streak of masochism or bad karma that makes me hang out with them I can’t figure out. These children manage to maintain perfect 100s in 6 AP classes without, it would seem, breaking a sweat. Though don’t say that in front of them. There will come the instant denial, “Nooo, I’m not that smart.” Or maybe the “You have no idea how late I stay up…” response will come. Either way, I envy them. How come they get to be all smart and stuff, with their perfect grades and all? It’s not fair. Not fair at all, I tell you. Of course, they will also (and I’ve found this to be a universal thing) describe themselves as lazy or scatterbrained or dumb or lucky or some combination of the above.

My parents tell me with utter conviction that the lot of them are lying when they say that. This may or may not be because they were once in the same category as “them,” as I shall be calling this group of people from here on. I can’t get a straight answer if I ask whether they were. My parents hold that the lot of them work their asses off every single day, employing perfect study habits and fantastic concentration on their homework that can only be found in Type A, ambitious young people. I used to think my parents had it all wrong.

I’m not so sure anymore.

How can you get 100s on AP-level tests without at least a bit of studying? Furthermore, how the hell can you get a good grade when you spend half your time in class with your head on your desk or absently spinning your pen? I take notes like a maniac, and study them like a maniac, but I still can’t hope to come anywhere close to what the people around me get on every single test. After observing this for a while, I invariably get to wondering: what are they doing that I’m not? I study. I do my homework. And yet, I sit there with no idea what I’m doing on test day. And there’s one of them next to me, happily scribbling down the right answer while I softly weep.

It’s not fair, I tell you. It’s just not fair at all.

And it’s made even worse when you consider how late they are staying up. I mean, like I have said in a previous post, several thousands of my friends stay up past midnight every day (excuse me, every night). As we have seen and conclusively proved by means of the evidence provided in that post, they are not possibly getting anything done at 2:00 AM, and most of them (according to their own accounts) get home somewhere in the range of 5-7 PM every night. So that means that these kids are doing homework for something like 7-9 hours a night, not including such things as dinner and showers (because I neither know nor much care how much time it takes you to groom yourself and stuff yourself, though I will trust that all of you do both of these things on at least a daily basis). Tell me now, what could you possibly do that takes up a full nine hours of your life? This is deadly serious. I’m completely stumped here. I mean, there is absolutely no instance when spending nine hours on homework is justified, or arguably, even useful.

Or, perhaps, they don’t even start their homework until 11 PM, which is just stupid, and calls into question the mental acuity of these children, and their motives. What, precisely, is the point of staying up until 3 AM, but not even starting homework until 11 PM? You could have just done it all at 8:30, and been comfortably in bed or playing TF2 by midnight. I mean, come now. Doesn’t that seem so much more enjoyable than stressing out at 2:30 becuase you have that essay to finish revising and that AP packet and that Catullan poem thing (stupid assignment) but you still need to get three hours of sleep because otherwise you’ll fall asleep in class and get a detention from that bitch teacher OMG OMG OMG AAAAH?

And then you have them coming into school with a fever or a cold or the flu or hepatitis or leprosy or whatever other ghastly condition you can think of. I mean, dammit, that fever of 104° is nothing compared to the agony that would befall you if you missed that oh-so-important chem quiz that can be made up in ten minutes after class the day after. I mean, not only is that dangerous to yourself, it’s dangerous to everyone around you. You think I want your damned fever? You think I want your stuffy nose? NO! It’s unbelievably selfish to expose other people to an illness just so you can soothe your and more than a bit unhealthy.

While we’re on the subject of medical conditions, let’s talk a bit about the girl who has worn away the cartilage in her wrist, shall we? At the age of 17. This is a condition that is seen mostly in people in their 60s. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we can say that this chronic overwork is neither healthy nor prudent.

But seriously: Why?

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Written by Sri

January 18, 2009 at 12:53 PM

Posted in Musings

Tagged with , ,

3 Responses

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  1. This is what I’ve been asking myself forever. And this is why I only take 4 AP’s. And I’m only getting an A in two of them. But I rarely go to bed later than 11 and I am extremely happy with that.

    Messo

    January 18, 2009 at 1:11 PM

  2. I’m not sure if I’m glad that I was mentioned or not, haha.

    But this was an extremely amusing blog entry to read, in a good way.

    Frances

    January 19, 2009 at 9:50 PM

  3. 1. If you’re calling some of these people intense, you haven’t met truly intense people yet…At the top of most high schools, I think there’s a medium intensity group, but you’ll have to travel to some foreign schools or meet some individual people to see greater intensity.

    2. The trick is to just be fantastically focused during essential times…the rest of the time it’s easy to slack off. However, chronic procrastination must be avoided…it’s been growing in me since coming to high school and slowly decreasing my grades and productivity, although I’ve just begun to shake off its addiction in the last month or so.

    3. Going to tests without preparation is fairly simple if you read a lot when young and encountered the concepts already. Regularly completing the homework assignments tends to be a greater problem for people who absorbed a lot of knowledge when younger.

    4. There actually isn’t more than 4 hours of homework a night for people with all AP’s…the problem is spreading out the workload to prevent larger projects from giving you 1 hour of homework on one day and 7 on the next.

    5. You know those people getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night? There’s this thing called “burning out early”. See how they’re doing 20 years from now. They may do awesome things now, but in 20 years, their productivity probably will have flat-lined.

    6. Sri: You, sir, cannot truly claim to be working your butt off. And actually, you don’t need to work your butt off. Just constantly pay attention in class and complete your homework on time. And here’s the key thing: by “complete your homework”, I mean understanding it completely and being able to redo the same questions at a moment’s notice. Do NOT just wave away problems you don’t understand; go ask a teacher or friend for help until you DO understand. Knowledge is based on accumulation of ideas and concepts, so if you don’t build a steady knowledge base, then you’ll have to work overtime later on, just to make up for earlier laziness.
    [Sri’s note: Yeah, maybe. Still, compared to the level of output I put in before this year compared to what I have to put in this year, I consider it working my butt off. Frame of reference, no? **sigh** And yeah, I completely agree with your second point. I’m just a nervous lazy ass who doesn’t have enough free periods to make that happen. :( Maybe next semester… (None of my problem classes is taught by a teacher with a section 4th period. Yay! :D)]

    Two reason why my grades have been fairly surviving despite rampant procrastination:

    1. A sturdy knowledge base that I can use despite not learning new material. I’ve read enough in elementary/middle school, so that I’m confident of getting above a 95 in any US test without reading the chapters nor listening in class.

    2. I have an innate thirst for knowledge, so I can often overcome my procrastination/laziness just to understand new concepts/ideas. Therefore, I have continued to add to my knowledge base despite the procrastination.

    ~

    January 20, 2009 at 10:37 PM


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