I used to really oppose affirmative action. Whenever the topic would come up in conversation, I’d always strongly argue against it. It’s an unfair policy. Why should students be penalized or rewarded for having a certain ethnicity in college admissions? That’s out of our control. Last year, I even took a survey in which I voted that I was against affirmative action.
But after spending a year and a half in college, my stance has changed. I’d like to take that vote back. Berkeley doesn’t have an affirmative action policy, so I see first hand what it’s like to not have one. And what I see is this: the lack of diversity throughout the campus is detrimental to student learning. Continue reading
I’m taking a class called the Psychology of Creativity. I’ve only had four or five classes, so I don’t know how interesting the class will turn out to be. So far, it’s been okay. We’re learning more about the influence of the majority and conformity than creativity, but it’s been engaging.
Before going to recitation last week, we were supposed to read two articles on how the majority affected the minority — part of the reading cited the Asch study. I found the reading to be really interesting; why do people in the minority allow the majority to have so much influence on them? In the Asch studies, did the people who conformed to the confederates just not have any confidence? I was excited for recitation; I wanted to discuss these, and other, questions in more depth. Continue reading
It took me a long time to realize that I had a passion for math. From elementary school to high school, I was always a top math student, but I didn’t always enjoy it. Classroom math is boring; plugging numbers into formulas just isn’t very interesting. I did competition math as well, but I didn’t always find that enjoyable either.
In Florida, there’s a high school math competition called MAO. It’s the premier math competition in Florida, so most of the kids who enjoy doing math competitively compete.
But MAO sucks. The focus is on rote memorization and drilling. Most of the time, the problems are solved by using one trick that was memorized from a formula sheet. It’s okay that there’s no understanding of the problem, just apply the formula. It’s also hugely relient on speed. There are 30 questions and just 60 minutes to do them. There’s no time to think about how to solve problems, there’s just finding answers. In this kind of competition, there’s no creativity, there’s no room for play. To be good, kids have to just sit and memorize solution methods. Continue reading