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The Truth About My Time At Miami University And Why This Is My Last Post (For Now)

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Athena ScalziHello, everyone, and welcome to what will be (spoiler) my last post for a while.

There have been several times I have wanted to talk about my time at Miami University on here, but I have such complicated feelings towards the whole thing that I always shy away from it. I don’t just avoid talking about it on here, though, I avoid conversating about it in person, too.

I dread when people inevitably ask me about it. I abhor any mention of my path to higher education. I detest any conversation about college. But as I said, it’s inevitable, right? I’m a college-aged kid, of course people are going to ask me if I’m in school. And if they know I’m in school, then of course they’re going to ask how it’s going. People ask because they’re curious, or because they care. No one ever asks with ill intent or malice, so why is it so upsetting when people bring it up to me? I can’t be mad at someone for mentioning a topic just because I happen to have a lot of negative emotions surrounding that topic, right? Right.

Long story short: I totally failed out of Miami.

Long story long: My freshman year at Miami, I started out with six classes. And for the first couple weeks, I went to every class, and did all the assignments. And then after those first few weeks, I thought to myself, what if I just didn’t? And so began my long, long period of never going to class and never doing any schoolwork. Semester after semester.

Why go to my 8am class when I could just sleep instead? Why go to my noon class when I could grab lunch with a friend instead? Why do an assignment on a Friday night when I could be having a movie night with my dorm pals instead? Why do any of it when I could just do something else, something infinitely more fun, instead?

Obviously, this mentality led to some problems. Put that on top of the mentality of “well if I just don’t look at my grades, they don’t exist”, and soon enough you’ll have an entire semester of straight Fs. It happens very quickly, and once it does, it is quite literally impossible to fix.

So, every semester, once I hit that point of no return, where I knew no amount of trying hard the remainder of the semester could fix what I’d done up to that point, I considered it a loss and told myself I’d try again next semester, but since this one was a total loss, I didn’t have to do anything for the rest of it since it would all be for nothing anyway.

After the first semester of straight Fs, Miami gave me an “academic warning”, which basically meant if my next semester was below a 2.0 GPA, I’d get put on “academic probation”. I also had to take an online course about why failing is bad, and how to avoid failing. It was honestly kind of humiliating.

Funny enough, I actually passed one class that semester with a B, but the rest were Fs, and Miami put me on “academic probation”, which is like “academic warning” but more serious. Basically, if I got less than a 2.0 the following semester, I’d get “academic suspension” and be kicked out for two semesters.

At this point, I had almost no credits to show for my freshman year. So I decided to take two summer classes. They were online, and I took one in June and one in July. I passed both, one with a 92% and one with a 102%. Things were looking up! So I started sophomore year off optimistic. I was in a new dorm that was directly in the center of campus, so all my classes were a one minute walk away, unlike my previous dorm which was on the outskirts of campus and gave me all the more reason not to go to class.

That semester, instead of an online course about not failing, I had to take an in-person class about not failing! That was just great. So nice to be surrounded by fellow failures. I don’t think it really did much for me because I ended up failing that semester too! And Miami was ready to kick me to the curb.

Obviously, not a great situation, so I had the genius idea to blame everything on my disability. Poor narcoleptic girl, falling asleep in every class, falling asleep every time she cracked open a textbook to do any studying, falling asleep every time she opened her laptop to write a paper. Truly tragic.

I have struggled with my narcolepsy for years, in many ways, but college made me realize how debilitating it truly is. I am still trying to figure out “did my disability actually disable me, or am I being overdramatic? Am I falsely blaming my disability when the true problem is me, and my disability is just an easy cover-up?” You know, I don’t really know. It’s a mix of a lot of things.

I genuinely did fall asleep in every class, which in turn made me not want to go because that shit is fucking embarrassing. But I also didn’t go because I didn’t feel like it. And I really couldn’t make it through a paragraph in a textbook without nodding off. But I also didn’t really open my textbooks very often to begin with. It was truly a co-morbidity.

So, yeah, I told Miami, “wait, don’t be mad at lil’ ol’ me, my brain is broken!” It took several doctors notes, and several forms, but I got Miami to erase my entire freshman year. All those Fs, just wiped away, and I was back on academic warning for the semester I had just goofed. However, I didn’t have to retake the courses about not failing, so that was cool.

Moving forward to spring semester of sophomore year, I was now registered with the disability services, so I could request accommodations from my professors. But what was there to request? There’s not really anything to be done about my problem. Like, yeah, if a professor happened to see me sleeping in class, they could wake me up or something, but what else is there to do? And how can I expect my professor to even notice me sleeping when there’s dozens of other kids in class?

In the end, nothing changed, and I failed again. This time around, there was much less “I would rather hang out with my friends than do homework!” and much more “I can’t bring myself to get out of bed until the sun has gone down, and I haven’t showered in three days”. So that was a lot of fun.

Once again, I got put on academic probation. I decided my best course of action was to take online courses over the summer again, since it went so well last time. I took three, all at the same time, and it did not go well. But I couldn’t risk failing them all, so I dropped all three of them. Total loss, yet again.

Finally, my junior year (though I wasn’t technically a junior in credits since I have like none)! I was still on academic warning, but I was determined that this year would be different. I was in therapy, I was in a nice dorm, I was feeling good! The first two or three weeks were great, and I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing. But then assignments got harder, and I had to do more reading, more work, and my god I just simply did not feel like it. So I didn’t! Needless to say, I got straight Fs yet again.

Time for academic suspension, wheeee! Academic suspension, by the way, is where they don’t let you come back for two semesters. If you were to come back after that and fail again, you would get academic dismissal, which means you come back never. (However, you are allowed to petition for readmission after two full years has passed.)

I went with the classic, “you can’t fire me! I quit!” And I dropped the fuck out. I’m not good enough for Miami, ey? Well, maybe they’re not good enough for me! Yeah, take that!

So, I did not return to Miami for Spring Semester 2020. Fuck school, I thought, I’ll get a job! So I became a hostess at Applebee’s. Wheeee. After three weeks, I called it quits because that fucking sucked. I decided to try out a local restaurant/bakery instead! Also sucked. So I quit.

And then COVID happened! Boy oh boy did I pick a good time NOT to go to school. All my friends, along with literally every other student in the world, had to pack up and head home not even two months into the semester. And they spent the rest of their semester online. So, I didn’t miss out on much.

But I figured I’d return in the fall of 2020, once this whole pandemic thing had ended. Obviously, the pandemic thing was very much not over by that point, so I held off on going back, and started writing for the blog instead, because I was literally doing nothing else with my time.

Fast forward a year, and now I’m going to my first day of college in over a year and half. That’s right y’all, I’m enrolled at the local community college, and I’m working towards getting my General Associates In Arts. Assuming I don’t fucking fail again, I should have a degree after two semesters. So by Spring 2022 I should have my little piece of paper.

Why am I getting a general degree instead of focusing on a field? Well, it’s basically because all the classes I did pass over the years don’t really lean in any direction, they’re all pretty scattered, so I can’t really get a degree towards anything in particular.

When I was in high school, I took College Credit Plus courses, which meant that classes I was taking in high school counted as college courses, and gave me credits through Urbana University. Through this program, I got credits for things like anatomy, math, and English.

Then, I went to Edison (the community college I’m going to now) for my senior year of high school so I could graduate a semester early. While I was there, I passed Intro to Psychology, American Sign Language, Human Sexuality, and Composition II.

Going into Miami, I had 36 credit hours from high school alone. At Miami, I passed Children’s Literature (but it got erased), Classical Mythology, Creative Writing, German, Writing For Media, the Academic Probation Class, Ballroom Dancing, and Introduction to Poetry. That gave me 20 credit hours from Miami.

This semester at Edison, I’ll be taking Cell Biology, Race & Ethnicity, Intro to Communications, and Intro to Humanities.

With all that technical info out of the way, let’s talk about my feelings, because that’s always a blast.

I feel kind of excited, I think. The usual “back to school” rush of adrenaline. Got a new backpack so you know I’ll be looking spiffy. But mostly I’m anxious. My fear of failure is as prominent as ever, and I don’t know what I’ll do if I do fail, so I just have to continue on under the assumption that I won’t. Because I’m out of options if I do.

I’m not necessarily looking forward to any of my classes, especially cell biology. I mean, it’s certainly no Ballroom Dancing, but I genuinely feel like I’ll make it through this time. I know I’m capable of passing, I have 56 credit hours to prove it! I just have to pass consistently, and that’s honestly hard for me.

I know that I have to give it my all this semester, and that is why I’ve decided to take a break from writing on here. I have to put all my focus towards my classes. At least in the beginning, anyways. Once I’ve taken a month or two to settle into things, I’ll decide if I feel like I have enough time and/or brain capacity to come back to Whatever. (Though, I’m sure I can manage a monthly snack box review post every now and again!)

With all that being said, it’s been a great year writing on Whatever, and I hope to write for you all again very soon. For now, though, I’m going to go to class.

-AMS

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WorldMaker
76 days ago
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I really appreciate this post for a number of reasons, and I skimmed some of the comments and it was full of similar stories to appreciate.

I went to a somewhat high pressure engineering school. I tell the story of my freshman summer sometimes too often (our program required summers and that first one especially after having summers off growing up in school can hit quite hared), not because I’m proud of what I did or who I was in that moment (and the depression spiral, and certainly not as some sort of “feel good” “if I did it you can do it too” idiot pep talk. Failure is terrible, especially when you have no one else to blame except yourself. I don’t have great advice to offer on how to get out of failure, but I do appreciate that we don’t often enough discuss the failures we had along the journey. Survivor bias would have us believe no one fails. Statistics would tell us that everybody fails, we just don’t want to talk about it. (It takes a lot of courage to talk about whether you are still bitter from the fresh sting of it or have enough time since to erode the misery into well worn jokes you can laugh at more.)

(In my case I was lucky and only failed half a semester and was lucky had support networks that cared about me and helped me refocus. That’s not advice, that’s survivor bias of how I survived and I appreciate how much was luck as much as it was hard work.)
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Quoting Corey Quinn

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This teaches us that—when it’s a big enough deal—Amazon will lie to us. And coming from the company that runs the production infrastructure for our companies, stores our data, and has been granted an outsized position of trust based upon having earned it over 15 years, this is a nightmare.

Corey Quinn

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WorldMaker
224 days ago
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I've been trying to figure out my relationship with Amazon moving forward. I started by dropping Prime because I mostly wasn't using it for anything but arguably useless videogame cosmetics.
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Review: The Genre Mash of Godzilla vs. Kong Finally Delivers on the American Godzilla Franchise

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Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)

If you are familiar with me at all, you know that I love Godzilla and King Kong, so this film has been on my list for a long time. The last two installments of the American Godzilla franchise have been disappointing, but I was hoping that finally, with Godzilla vs. Kong, I would get what I wanted. And I did, but only because it is more a King Kong movie than a Godzilla/Kong movie.

After the events of King of Monsters, my beloved Kong has been put in an enclosure that will keep him safe from Godzilla because there can’t be two alpha titans running around. I get it; I’ve read fanfiction. However, when Godzilla attacks Apex Industries seemingly unprovoked, it leads to its founder and CEO, Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir), tapping Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) to use Kong to discover Hollow Earth.

That is the first thing you have to accept about Godzilla vs. Kong: the plot is a pick-n-mix of Lost World adventure/science-fiction/fantasy, which didn’t bother me because this is a CGI monster movie and I came here for fighting, not logic. So how were the fight scenes?

Awesome! We get a few of them, and both highlight the “fighting styles” of our monsters. Kong, having thumbs and a long reach, is absolutely more dexterous and capable of thinking on his feet. Godzilla is just a force of nature and heals so quickly that even though he has little arms, he makes them work. Plus, on water, there is no competition. Each fight feels well thought out about the pros and cons of each warrior. There is a winner decided at the end, BUT the movie also allows both to show off, so no matter who’s your favorite there is something good there.

Usually in films like this, the human element is always dull to me, but in a change of pace, the human characters are just enough. Millie Bobby Brown returns as Madison Russell, who teams up with Brian Tyree Henry’s Bernie Hayes, a former Apex technician turned conspiracy theorist podcaster, and Julian Dennison’s Josh Valentine, a friend of Madison who gets dragged along for the ride.

On Team Kong, we have Dr. Lind, Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), a Monarch researching in charge of Kong along with her adoptive daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle). Nothing is overly complicated or sappy, the humans just speak their nonsense science and keep the pace moving along. It’s also nice to see that the U.S. military is not as front-and-center as it was in the last two films.

Godzilla vs. Kong is simple fun, with some great CGI and special effects. Because it is more a Kong movie than a Godzilla movie and we have just overall nailed getting a primate CGI character to emote, he is a great lead for the film since he can show emotions in a way Godzilla can’t.

We also get the big bad everyone wanted, so if you are, like me, a big nerd for this genre, I believe you will be pleased. Yes, the science is nonsense, but so was the science in Interstellar. At least this silly science movie is less than two hours long and isn’t trying to convince you that what is going on is deeper than it is.

(image: Warner Bros.)

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The post Review: The Genre Mash of Godzilla vs. Kong Finally Delivers on the American Godzilla Franchise first appeared on The Mary Sue.
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WorldMaker
224 days ago
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I think there is something interesting that both of the best Legendary/WB "Monsterverse" films involve King Kong. There's something about using America's OG kaiju as a focal point that results in better films. Something poetic perhaps, about "make what you know" and American writers/directors always having a better handle on King Kong.
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Things We Saw Today: Nike Made a Hands-Free Shoe and It’s Amazing

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nike new hands off shoe

Nike has revealed a new shoe called the Go FlyEase. It is the company’s first pair of lace-less sneakers that can easily be put on and taken off without using your hands.

Rather than laces, the shoe has a tension band that secures it. Putting them on involves stepping into the shoe, snapping it into place. Taking them off is done by stepping on the heel.

CNN notes that the shoe has arrived a time when “people are touching fewer things during the pandemic,” but it is also a great boon to those who are not able bodied. Accessibility is something that many people overlook when making products. Closed captions on YouTube and other social media services have slowly become the norm.

For people with no hands, severe arthritis, bad backs, and a number of other factors, this will be a great way for some of them to have a sneaker that works for them. I say “some” because of the price-point, but we shall get to that later.

According to Teen Vogue, the FlyEase was initially designed for a Nike employee who had had a stroke. Also, back in 2012, Matthew Walzer, a teen with cerebral palsy, wrote to Nike asking for athletic shoes for disabled people.

Listening to this criticism, Nike invited him to collaborate in the design of the shoe.

The shoes are stated to go on sale February 15 for $120 for subscribers of the free membership program on Nike’s website. Broader availability is planned for later this year. If we are talking about accessibility, then price-point needs to be considered as well, especially during these pandemic times. No one should ever be priced out of the ability to be comfortable and secure.

However, I hope this will encourage other show companies to make their own accessible shoes. This should be a more mainstream reality for everyone.

(via CNN, image: Nike)

  • Armie Hammer’s estranged wife Elizabeth Chambers has spoken out and given support to his alleged victims. (via Yahoo)
  • Marilyn Manson has been dropped from American Gods and many other agencies follow allegations of abuse. (via Vulture)
  • Jeffery Wright will star in Batman: The Audio Adventures, an HBO Max podcast. (via THR)
  • Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, says: “sorry for a rift that developed among them after her election advocacy of President Donald Trump and endorsement of the Jan. 6 rally in D.C. that resulted in violence and death at the Capitol.” Yeah, I’m sure that’s not all she should be sorry for. (via WaPO)
  • Legends of Tomorrow star Tala Ashe looks back on a fan favorite episode “Here I Go Again.” (via Comicbook)

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The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

The post Things We Saw Today: Nike Made a Hands-Free Shoe and It’s Amazing first appeared on The Mary Sue.
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WorldMaker
271 days ago
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Neat, Power Laces!
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Technical Test Follow-up

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John Scalzi

Basically, Google Chrome changed the way it caches images and information from the internet, which is generally a good thing — it means the browser is marginally more secure — but as a result using web fonts is kind of broken. Pages don’t necessarily show up in the typefaces I’ve chosen for them, even after I clear the cache and do a hard reload of the page. I was checking to see if changing the typefaces would have an effect one way or another, and the answer is: No, not really. What the actual solution is: Downloading the typefaces I’m using as my headline and body typeface and putting them in my local font folder so they show up every time.

If you have noticed that the typefaces on Whatever have been a bit erratic in the last month, here are the ones I am using so you can download them for yourself and have a more consistent experience: Abril Fatface for the headline typeface, and Libre Baskerville for the body text. Both are available for free at Google Fonts.

Also, on the mobile side of things, and as a response for the folks who were having difficulty posting comments, I’ve reverted the mobile theme back to a variation of the desktop theme, which is AMP compatible in any event. I may change this again at some point in the future but for now everything should be functioning just fine.

That concludes site tweaking for now. More updates when necessary and/or inevitable.

— JS

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WorldMaker
310 days ago
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You can use the tool SkyFonts [1] to (among other reasons it exists) automate downloading the Top X Fonts from Google Fonts. It's a good way to speed up large portions of the internet.

The big trade off/downside to this (and which the referenced cache change was in part to address) is that having fonts installed locally is a deanonimization vector already known to be in use by ad networks and other trackers. (They time how long it takes to draw fonts and too fast responses are big.) It's obviously a catch-22: If more people install, say the Top 10 or Top 50 font families on Google Fonts it would stop being such a useful vector. If Chromium itself did it on install/update, that would possibly make the web a better place.

[1] https://www.fonts.com/browse/font-tools/skyfonts
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Rhianna Pratchett and Neil Gaiman React To the First Trailer for The Watch

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There are few fantasy series as beloved and highly regarded as Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. The 41-book series, which takes place on a flat planet balanced on the back of four elephants standing on a giant turtle, has sold over 80 million books worldwide and has been published in over 35 languages. So when BBC America announced they were creating The Watch, a television series set in Discworld, fans were excited and nervous. The Watch follows the adventures of the Ankh Morpork City Watch police force, first introduced in Pratchett’s Guards! Guards!, as they try to bring law and order to an increasingly out of control city.

But ever since images from the series hit the internet in January, fantasy fans have been confused and dismayed by the adaptation. The series aesthetic has been transformed for colorful fantasy to a muted, cyber-punk interpretation. It’s clear that the series creators, while inspired by Pratchett’s work, have deviated greatly from the source material.

BBC America premiered the first teaser trailer, as well as some exclusive clips from the series at New York Comic-Con this weekend, and the results were, predictably, mixed. We get our first look at drunk watch commander Sam Vimes (Richard Dormer, Game of Thrones), Jo Eaton-Kent’s non-binary Cheery, and Anna Chancellor as Lady Vetinari. We also see Lady Sybill Ramkin (Lara Rossi, Robin Hood) and Death himself, voiced by Wendell Pierce.

Terry Pratchett’s daughter, Rhianna Pratchett, responded to the clips on Twitter, writing “Look, I think it’s fairly obvious that
@TheWatch shares no DNA with my father’s Watch. This is neither criticism nor support. It is what it is.”

Pratchett retweeted similar sentiments echoed by Discworld fans, who were dismayed by the liberties taken in The Watch.

Beloved author Neil Gaiman also weighed in on Twitter in response to fan questions on the faithfulness of adaptions. Gaiman, who collaborated with Terry Pratchett on Good Omens, personally oversaw the novel’s adaptation into a miniseries on Amazon Prime, serving as writer and showrunner for the series. Gaiman defended the creator’s original vision of their work, stating “If you do something else, you risk alienating the fans on a monumental scale. It’s not Batman if he’s now a news reporter in a yellow trenchcoat with a pet bat.”

Gaiman and Rhianna Pratchett have tapped into a sentiment shared by many of the diehard fans. And while adaptations are, by definition, open to interpretation, it’s all too easy to alienate the fans that made it the project such a hot commodity to begin with.

Pratchett take her own crack at adapting her father’s work as the co-director of Terry Pratchett’s production company Narrativia. In April, they announced a partnership with Motive Pictures and Endeavor Content to produce several series based on Discworld.

Narrativia released a statement saying, “The spirit of this new alliance has been forged from a shared love of the source material and a commitment to create an epic series, which will kick off with some of the most iconic titles in Sir Terry’s fiercely incisive and satirical universe,”. Pratchett added, “Discworld teems with unique characters, witty narrative and incredible literary tropes, and we feel these should be realised on screen in a form that my father would be proud of.”

Rob Wilkins, the managing director of Narrativia, said of the BBC America series, “Though Narrativia retain an executive producer credit in The Watch, they have no creative involvement in the project. However, they of course wish The Watch all the best.”

What do you think of the first clips from The Watch?

(via The A.V. Club, featured image: BBC America)

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WorldMaker
390 days ago
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I don't know why so many fans are upset that it looks too Steampunk. Perhaps it's because I started Discworld closer to Guards! Guards! than to the beginning, but Ankh Morpork to me was always very steampunk. (Maybe not exactly steampunk, but "demonpunk", but yet.) On one side of Guards! Guards! you've got steampunk Hollywood on the other steampunk Phantom of the Opera with extra bonus puns. The aesthetic doesn't seem to be what is wrong with the clips here to me.
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