Archive for July 3rd, 2009

Summer Birthdays

A few weeks ago, Josh asked why birthdays seem to become less enjoyable over time and wondered if separating the “age” part of the birthday from the “celebration” part would impede this trend.

While I think his idea of a “lifeday” is an admirable suggestion (if unfortunately named), I think he oversimplifies the problems that come with birthdays for adults. Anyone with a summer birthday, like myself, can attest to this fact.

Summer birthday kids have an entirely different birthday experience than the rest of you. I remember in kindergarten, everyone in my class got to have a party and bring in Dunkin Donuts Munchkins on their birthday. Coming to the realization that my birthday did not fall on a school day and that it would therefore pass unrecognized and donut hole-less was very traumatizing for me. My mom and my teacher decided to get together and throw me a party during the school year, like a month before my actual birthday, but even at five I thought that was fucking ridiculous.

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Against the Solo Lecture

After spending four years as an undergraduate at a university, you grow to notice the inefficiencies of the university setting. Whether it’s due to catering to trustees, a political agenda, excess conformity to tradition, or some other factor, there is a lot of friction when it comes to making changes at universities.

Perhaps one of the most beneficial aspects of being in the university setting is the ability to hear highly intelligent and well-known speakers fairly frequently. This also serves as a positive externality of living near a university since many speaker events tend to be open to the public.

When bringing in outside speakers to universities, the most popular method of presenting their ideas is through a lecture. The speaker generally speaks at a podium for about an hour—sometimes accompanied by a PowerPoint (which is almost always a mistake)—and then takes questions for about fifteen minutes.
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