Posts Tagged ‘students’

Koala Blues

23 February 2010

Dear J-

I will read (or view) some of what the UCSD group called The Koala puts out before making my own judgment about their character; it initially troubles me that kids who are getting a UCSD-caliber education would want to create such a fount of discontent, but then I think about the world we’re in, where satire has a television show (The Daily Show), website (The Onion) and closer to the fact, student-run publications (Harvard Lampoon, Cal’s Heuristic Squelch) which The Koala belongs to in spirit, I’m sure.

I ran across a copy — the premier and sole issue of The Informer — one day when helping my parents clean out some of the boxes they’d packed and moved for me; if you remember, J-, it was the newsletter we and several other like-minded school citizens put together; as part of our secret gang initiation we each had to contribute some portion of the content, but I can’t recall which article I wrote. We wrote angry, personal articles — you and I, we had our tickets out to college already, but most of the rest of us had nothing more than obvious signs pointing to our guilt: the articles had clear diction and style that might as well have been fingerprints for teachers who’d read and graded our work for years. Yet I am proud that we did it; I am not proud of the content (really, naming people to be freak of the week was going over the line), but at seventeen our judgment was impaired by youth. We did put together a newsletter over the course of a couple of weeks and produced and distributed it in a cone of silence; creation is always a source of pride.

So it is also likely that the intent was satire, and the glee of creation outstripped the caution of conscience. I don’t entirely know; I haven’t seen the offending segment, and no one seems to be able to find the tape, which implies that someone has a sudden attack of guilt. The important ingredient is this, perhaps; from what I’ve read, there is no clear majority ethnic population on capmus; Asians constitute a plurality and, together with Caucasians, account for probably 85 percent. The diversity, thanks to Prop 209 and regent Ward Connerly (thought I’d forget that name? Ha! forgive, but do not forget) at all UC campuses is at a nadir, and that’s shameful. Cry what you want about quotas and differing standards; I’m still convinced that this wouldn’t have happened if the African-American student population was more than two percent. Exposure to other students’ cultures and lives is as educational as any hours spent in classes or libraries. This is why we aren’t living in individual caves; we learn through working together that we are stronger as a group, smarter iiiiiin brotherhood.




29 June 2008

Dear J-

We spent an hour or two at UCSD: the Zoo just seemed a bit too far and crowded (we’re talking summer vacation crowds here, folks) and we hadn’t been before, despite having lived here seven years. Parking’s free on weekends, and with the onset of summer, students have mostly trickled home by now. College campuses have some reasonable attractions to recommend visiting, once in a while: architecture (as one of the newer campuses, UCSD is well-represented in modern designs), human-scale walkways, and generally, well-landscaped and intriguing vistas.

The architectural symbol of UCSD sits high on its hill; the Geisel library (after Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel) seems to defy gravity with its cantilevered floors projecting above the landscape like some concrete mushroom. It turns out that much of the library is underground; the “roof” forms a sort of sterile plaza with deep cuts into the earth for windows and greenery casting light into the stacks.

Meanwhile, summer’s kinda snuck up on us: we had an early hot spell, then a cool snap, but it looks like the weather patterns of June (morning clouds in San Diego = June Gloom / May Gray) are starting to give way to true summer; warm days and cool nights as far as the eye can see.


High School (Aren’t We Joe Cool Yet?)

5 November 2006

I’m not convinced I got the most out of high school. But at least I got out.


To be honest, things didn’t change much in high school. The hair of the student body didn’t pose the fire hazard that it used to, but we stayed in the groups that we’d split into as junior high people. I don’t condemn it because it just happens and seems as natural as plate tectonics: huge masses rushing towards each other and one would inevitably grind the other down, but not without rumbling and trembling. It’s not always a wasteland, though; sometimes you find genuinely honest and wonderful people, like some of my neighboring locker-owners. We all had to deal with the peculiar quirks of the school, such as how it was designed for southern California weather (and hence was a series of disconnected buildings) while experiencing a snow-belt reality. I still like almost all of the people who graduated with me, but it was difficult to reach across the group borders afterwards; I have yet to contact probably 90% of my graduating class with something stronger than a rumor.