Today's throwback blog is titled 1996 in Dec 2013. It's good timing to remind myself life flows my way. The stars are aligned. The wind blows at my back. I have good luck. I have good timing. There are fortunate events. New experiences. New hobbies. All of the above happened in 1996 except for my Modern Geometry class. Life is not perfect. The next time I experience a 1996 like year I promise I take nothing for granted. I always have the never stop acquiring wisdom and knowledge attitude.
The year was 1996. It was a good year. I was a junior at San Jose State University. I changed majors from Mathematics to Economics in the Fall Semester 1995. On the one hand, the change of major started my rise to the best semesters and best life as a college student. On the other hand, I failed to realize I was learning life lessons outside the textbooks and outside the classrooms. I continued to act like a sixteen year old high school student. The lessons were there. The experiences were there. I failed to learn from them.
The good life was given to me on a silver platter. I took everything for granted. What could I have done? I was naive. I still had the wisdom of a high school student.
Let's take a look at my top moments with feedback. Today's blog is an example to learn from the past to prevent repeating the mistakes for the future.
I started the Spring Semester in a good and bad way. One of my required Economic classes was cancelled last minute. I added Mathematical Methods for Economics to replace the cancelled class on the first day of instruction. I just found the class that worked with my class schedule. The class involved calculus which I learned from my lower division math classes. I earned an easy A.
The three other classes I enrolled were Religion In America, Economic Statistics, and Modern Geometry. My moment in Religion In America was I crammed on the day of the final. The final was during the evening. I woke up early, drove to school, and crammed everything in the library. My final grade was a B+. I called that final "The Miracle Final". The professor who taught Economic Statistics was a good professor. I heard rumors he was a terrible professor. My grade proved otherwise which was an A-.
The best life lesson I failed to learn happened in my Modern Geometry class. The class was the first time I experienced a person after high school who disliked me. The person was the professor. He had a conflict against me. The professor didn't hate me. He wasn't out to get me. It was a relationship where there was no connection. It was minimal respect, at best, between a professor and a student. Nothing more. Nothing special. The lesson I should had learned was some people can't get along with others. There were people who don't like me for whatever reason.
For instance, all students gave a 15 minute presentation. My presentation was one of the best. I knew my material and I communicated well. My presentation grade was a C. There were some students who did worse than me. They earned higher grades. My final grade was a C+.
The semester was my final semester as a math tutor. All of the tutors moved furniture around the old Mathematics & Computer Science office which was the new location for math tutoring. The department office moved upstairs. The pay was a little bit above minimal wage. It was easy money because very few students asked for help.
My summer was very active. I started working at Blockbuster Video. It was my first retail job. I got the job because the store manager went to my high school. Working in retail was a great experience for better and for worse. I learned a lot about human relations I didn't learn in school from a customer and from a coworker points of view. I also learned there are many types of people observing all the customers. Some customers were friendly. Some customers were understanding. Some customers were rude. Some customers were irrational. And there were a few with short tempers. I always thought I never experience weird, crazy, and moronic people. I was wrong. I encountered many different types of people.
My Blockbuster Video store was pro-employee. If an employee had a problem, then management fixed it quickly. On the contrary, I heard stories from my friends today their management didn't care in their retail jobs. My friends were surprised when I tell them my positive retail stories. My retail experience was rare. Employees were treated terrible and management didn't care in most retail stores.
Furthermore, all Blockbuster Video stores were managed differently. One might think all the stores were the same such as New Releases at the back of the store and food in front of the cashier. Every store I substituted when shorthanded was managed differently; for example, closing procedures, cash drops, and priorities when helping customers.
I was introduced to new hobbies during the summer. I became a Japanese anime fan. I was hooked on Sailor Moon. I woke up hearing Sailor Moon on TV in the afternoon because I had a closing shift the night before. And I started rollerblading. I purchased a pair of rollerblades, wrist guards, knee pads, and elbow pads at Big 5. I wore my bike helmet.
Japanese anime and rollerblading were my new hobbies and interests throughout the 1990s. (Gym was the third hobby that happened in 1999.) Board games, reading fiction books, hiking, ballroom dancing, and much more new interests and hobbies started happening in the late 2000s. I failed to learn that living a good life involved seeking new adventures and experiencing new experiences. Japanese anime and rollerblading were two great examples.
I quit my Blockbuster Video summer job to focus on my Fall Semester. Best semester ever. My classes were Macroeconomic Analysis, Writing Workshop for Economists, Human Sexuality, and Environmental Economic & Policy. All four classes were taken continuously on Tues and Thurs. There were no breaks. I had a natural four day weekend. Thanksgiving holiday was the best since I had no school on Wed before Thanksgiving and the following Mon.
I called the professor who taught Macroeconomic Analysis "The Marine". He was a person with a strong upper body, buzz cut haircut, and a firm voice. Open book and open note exams graded on a curve. My Writing Workshop for Economists professor taught me how to write. All my English professors failed to teach me. Human Sexuality class was kickback easy. We finished early for some classes. I used the free time to play the shooting video game Area 51 with an art major in the Student Union arcade. It was a miracle I stayed awake during Environmental Economic & Policy class. I earned a B+ on Macroeconomic Analysis and an A- on the other three classes.
I should have introduced myself with the art major. We could have been friends. Another lesson I failed to learn. Always meet new people and make new friends.
I went back to Blockbuster Video after Halloween because I needed income. The store manager agreed to my requested part-time schedule since I was a full time student. Blockbuster was more fun during the Christmas holiday compared to the summer. One reason was I met new coworkers who were more sociable. We were on the same level working in retail providing customer service to every type of behavior from friendly to rude. We watched each other's back well. Another reason was great movies to rent from the summer blockbusters including Independence Day, Mission: Impossible, Twister, and The Rock.
Other events that happened include my first Animerica anime magazine purchase; I attended Slug-A-Thon, my first gaming convention; visited Japantown in San Jose for the first time; and purchased Ranma 1/2 VHS tapes on clearance at a closing comic book store. These events were more examples of experiencing new experiences which was a lesson I failed to learn.