Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The Up Front Guide to Parenting

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  • stephen walker,

    @Jackie:
    Asian History at AU in the 80s!
    OMG, what an amazing bunch of lecturers!
    Awe-inspiring and inspiring, full stop.
    I realised that doing history at varsity is probably a drug.
    Can totally fcuk up one's life.
    Why isn't everyone doing it?!?!

    tokyo • Since Nov 2006 • 628 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Bastard Gin, Actual Gin

    Two varieties, eh? Almost mathematical..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16275 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Two varieties, eh? Almost mathematical..

    Having had a very similar major I'd say it was the stupid relationships which required the actual maths.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    When I was in the sixth form, picking subjects for the seventh form, the only hard word I got from my parents was that I should do a maths paper, so I picked maths with statistics.

    Funnily enough, I turned out to be completely rubbish at stats. It was if there just wasn't enough room in my brain for all those formulas and equations 'n' shit.

    I didn't figure out what I wanted to do with my life (career-wise) until a couple of years later when I discovered that internet thing.

    Still don't got no degree. Funny how things work out.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1843 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Fun for me is going to job interviews and saying "I've got a BA in Feminist Studies" and seeing who is horrified. If only I'd actually finished it... instead I have an ME. In retrospect I should have switched universities for the masters so I could write "Moz, BE ME" for extra cool points. But I didn't think of that at the time, more's the pity.

    I'm a fan of varied studies, hence the "most of a BA" stuff. As are many engineers, and the drinking reputation is a classic "the behaviour of the visible 90% give the rest a bad name".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 409 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    I actually use my qualifications in the course of my vocation. But then I entered HE at 25.

    I still question whether society's investment would benefit from making school leavers take a year or two off, but then again I would.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I loved history, Stephen. As well as majoring in SEA Hist, did a double in Art History. Now there's your double do-nothing degree right there. Having said that, I really don't think in an arts degree it's about the content - although it does come in useful sometimes - it's really all about how engaged you are with the joyousness of learning. That says alot about someone, I always think. It strikes me that people who are doing career oriented degrees these days are in for a very sad time. How lucky we were not to have to worry about huge student loans, and expensive rent, and would we get a job out of it all. Sitting in the quad - indeed, in my case, rallying the troops in the quad - seems a very long time ago, but it was such a valuable time in my life. I met alot of very interesting people and did alot of interesting people, I mean things. And it was all without care or thought, really. How marvellous that was.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    History is awesome, there's just so much of it, I can't get enough. I'm certain if I ever went back to school it'd be to study history, technology has really opened that fucker up for me, so I can't truly justify the cost of going back when I can learn so much for free right here on the computer hooked up to the phone socket, but if I ever did...

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Having had a very similar major I'd say it was the stupid relationships which required the actual maths.

    Aheheheh. We're already dealing with intersecting sets.

    so I picked maths with statistics

    I was told I needed Maths with Stats to do biology. When that turned out to not be true, I dropped it. And so did only four subjects in 7th form, which I'm sure would be Frowned Upon Today.

    But way back in the early 90s, they'd already introduced a 'maximum 6th form certificate score' requirement for the stage one Shakespeare course I got an A in that would have ensured I didn't get entry - because my physics mark was just a little too bad.

    I loved uni. The degree at the end of it did seem kind of irrelevant.

    if I get to talking about what I actually studied people's eyes almost instantly glaze over...

    I have a love of listening to people Get Their Geek On which is probably bordering on some kind of mental illness.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    I rather thought the rest of the infinities were the interesting bit, last time I read into it all.


    Uni? Worst fifteen grand I ever spent. I was promised that high school was the boring bit you had to pass through to get to the interesting stuff at university. Turns out that was a lie.

    At university, they tell you the Bachelors is the boring stuff you have to pass through to get to the interesting work in year five. All the Masters and PHD students I talked to about it informed me that was another lie.

    Apparently, a willingness to subject yourself to such boredom for 15+ years makes for a good potential employee. But my MSc (Chem) flatmate had been unemployed for 5 years straight, and the MSc (Optics) guy was headed the same way when I left.


    Now I grow vegtables, and talk crap on the net. Turns out the boring options pay better. Never mind, at least this life's fun. 8]

    Since Nov 2006 • 345 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Who would you have preferred to have designed the plane you are flying in?

    Howard Hughes?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4359 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Maths with stats. I looked at that with disdain, and thought, why bother with approximation, when you can study something where you can get a real answer.

    If I'd seemed a bit less flakey at course advising in first year, I would probably have been made to do statistics, but mercifully I didn't, and then someone in philosophy suggested that I might find critical thinking a bit dull, and why don't you try formal logic.

    Flick to second year. Studying Gödel's completeness theorem (the incompleteness theorem's dull kid brother) on the top floor of the Burns building in the late afternoon with the sun streaming in. Stifling hot, in a room with only one girl, and a bunch of boys who could probably have done with a lesson in hygiene and/or deodorant use, and the lecture not the most riveting.

    So I dropped out of philosophy and picked up anthropology. I was having to do statistics in second year, having not escaped that time. I would have had to take a higher point load, but by a fluke, the formal logic ended up being a get out of jail card for that. By that time I was cocky enough not bother with actually going to statistics. I read the textbook in October, and apparently overstudied.

    The following year I'd been on Mt Cargill watching the Leonid meteor shower and was driving back down when I hit a duck, breaking my grill. That afternoon I got offered a project to do statistics with ducks.

    Fast forward to now. And despite that rather strange introduction, statistics really is my thing somehow. The most useful lesson I learnt from philosophy was that arguments=boring. Nobody ever really argues over arguments, the interesting bit is the truth value of the propositions, for which philosophy is fuck all use.

    I don't even like univariate statistics. I like really really really multivariate statistics. I briefly had a job where I was working on an experiment with only two dependent variables and a couple of factors. It was dull. I'm only really happy when I have more DVs and IVs than I really can handle, and have to come up with a model that's on the edge of my comfort zones.

    I've built some great models this week. Hopefully that means in a couple of years you might see me talking about them in the media.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 682 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Classics 101...
    "Mummy , when I grow up I want to be a musician."
    "Don't be silly dear, you can't do both!"

    Hmmm.... I think i'll just take my 2 subjects in School Cert and head south till this whole thing blows over...

    yrs unqualifiedly
    Ian adequate
    no less dimmer for the existence of degrees...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    I really don't think in an arts degree it's about the content - although it does come in useful sometimes - it's really all about how engaged you are with the joyousness of learning. That says alot about someone, I always think. It strikes me that people who are doing career oriented degrees these days are in for a very sad time.

    I once mortally offended someone by answering their question about what use my BA was with "I learned how to think". She took that as a slight on her mental capacities which I really didn't mean (at least not that time).

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    So am I the only person thus far who has owned up to having a science degree? Yes, I think I am.

    BSc Hons in Biological Sciences to be exact, with a Post Graduate Certificate of Education to follow. Neither of which has any bearing whatsoever on what I do for a crust these days of course.

    It took me a fair few years (and a couple of career changes) to discover that I am in fact a web geek - but maybe the fact that the web hadn't been invented when I did my degree has something to do with that :)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 329 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Uni? Worst fifteen grand I ever spent. I was promised that high school was the boring bit you had to pass through to get to the interesting stuff at university. Turns out that was a lie.

    Wife says it serves you right for doing physiology ?

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    So am I the only person thus far who has owned up to having a science degree? Yes, I think I am.

    Oh, I have one, several even. Somewhere. In the filing cabinet I think.

    To answer someone's earlier question: I think we started calling it 'uni' when we started watching Neighbours.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 451 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Within about a year of leaving varsity (and by the way, when the hell did we start calling it "uni"?)

    In the UK it was 1923. I guess NZ had to follow suit at some stage. "Varsity" is one of those archaisms that make me giggle, I always feel it should be prepended by "dear old". Also, that those using it wear a scarf and a sweatshirt with a crest to every lecture.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4359 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    For all I know you could wind up being like Jake, globetrotting and publishing articles in the NZJH and whatnot!

    *blush* but I ought to confess that

    they spent at least a year falling down, throwing up, and smashing letterboxes. Any course-work handed in would be done in a blaze of panic; a couple of hastily-typed pages thrown together and sprinted across campus to be flung in a submissions box seconds before the deadline.

    played no small part in my undergraduate life.

    Apart from the letterboxes. My stepdad taught at the local high school, and ours came in for enough of a beating that I never felt the need to deal to another.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    <quote>I was told I needed Maths with Stats to do biology. When that turned out to not be true, I dropped it.<quote>

    They're still perpetrating that one on innocent uni students, in the form of Introduction to Biological Data Analysis and Experimental Design and Data Analysis For Biologists, now a compulsory part of the degree. I skived off half the lectures for the first one to make my Russian labs, but the second was quite fascinating.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2092 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    <quote>"Mummy , when I grow up I want to be a musician."
    "Don't be silly dear, you can't do both!"<quote>
    When asked about career aspirations I used to reply,
    "Professional small boy"
    I found it didn't pay so great, so I'm just an amateur now

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    "Professional small boy"

    Ohhhh....!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    You've got him started now - I expect a fully-formed discourse to emerge while I'm away during the day..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16275 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    I loved uni. The degree at the end of it did seem kind of irrelevant.

    Same. Up to and including my Masters.

    Which makes it doubly ironic that almost 10 years after completing it, the topic of my thesis has just become immensely relevant to my professional life. Not something i ever expected.

    So of course, I am using the opportunity to make many "Well, thank God that $15k wasn't wasted" jokes.

    I've always enjoyed being able to look my thesis up in the university library though. Made me feel all brainy, like.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Public Servant on a tea-break.,

    "All of which was a bit handwavy, but the gist of it is that yes, there is more than one infinity, and they are meaningfully different in some situations. Not cheating; the distinction between countably infinite and uncountably infinite really is important.

    The rest of the infinities are less practical."

    Thanks Michael, so there are infinite infinities but only two of them really matter most of the time.

    There are probably students that did the entire first year of University maths, and came out knowing less than what you've told me. Which only proves Emma's initial point that they should have been bullied into dentistry by their mothers instead. Because that is what everyone needs with a high powered drill in their mouth, a slack-arse idiot dentist!

    But they would have career...

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 67 posts Report Reply

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