Learning to Think in University

Undergraduate degrees teach you how to learn, graduate degrees teach you how to think.

It occurred to me earlier this week while I was sitting out on my porch that virtually everything I learned during my undergraduate career was really just numbers and bullshit designed to fill my head, pass the time and convince me that I was part of some kind of higher-learning process.

Undergraduate degrees teach you everything you need to know about “knowing”. A lot of it is very useful, such as how to use a library, avoid plagiarism, find sources, compare data, write for 5 hours straight about something obscure and even the faintest glimmers of how to argue.

But none of it involves thinking, not really. It’s mostly just doing; going from one place to the next, reading one book then the other, writing one word then the next, following the pattern as it shapes itself around your studies.

The main problem with undergraduate degrees is that they are necessary. You can’t go on to bigger and better things or, hell, even discover how to think until you run through the mill. You have tons of data, tons of facts, not virtually no idea what you should do with all of it.

Thankfully, graduate studies shows you that there is something you can do with it.

Right off the bat, you are presented with a new way of approaching your studies. Passivity, the pride of the undergraduate, to just sit there and learn, take it all in, is now the enemy. Aggression, the active voice of criticism, you learn is the academic’s best friend. Without it, we’re nothing but a bunch of children lolly-gagging our way from one room to the next marveling at how brilliant we all must be since we go to university and know all kinds of stuff.

So, while undergraduate studies show you how to learn and acquire knowledge, graduate degrees teach you how to think and show you what you can do with all that random stuff floating around in your head. A master’s degree isn’t just about going further with any specific type of study, but going in a completely new direction with it. Now, it’s time to look at the data, analyze and criticize it. And then criticize it again.

It’s one of those obsessive disorders, where you find yourself asking  yourself every day, every moment and every time you find your ass planted firmly in the couch and your eyes crawling the ceiling as you wrack your brain over and over wondering “what does it mean? What does it actually mean”…

I suppose “unknowing” would be an appropriate way of looking at what we get out of a master’s degree, as we spend a considerable amount of time going over everything we learned during our undergrad and thoroughly criticizing the hell out of it. It often turns out that most of what we think we knew happened to be bullshit all along, the veritable Wikipedia of knowledge, stuffed with half-truths, expectations and the bold-faced lies the victors have propagated about the losers throughout history.

Guitar Tab – Electric President – Safe and Sound

This is an updated tab from the original one I submitted to ultimate-guitar a few months ago. Being as that site constantly voided any corrections I added to the tab, I figured it would be nice if people could find it one way or another.

As usual, WordPress likes to mess with formatting, so I uploaded a cleaner version of the tab in a text file.

The base key is A. Using this key, the chords are as follows:

E A D G B e
A x 0 2 2 2 0
E 0 2 2 1 0 0
D x x 0 2 3 2
F#m 2 4 4 2 2 2

Alternatively, you can play this with Capo 2 as such:

E A D G B e
G 3 2 0 0 3 3
D x x 0 2 3 2
C x 3 2 0 1 0
Em 0 2 2 0 0 0

Anyways, here’s how it looks without a capo. The chords change at the end of each line, but you can easily listen along to the song and figure it out since it follows the same pattern most of the time.

(Piano Chord Opening) A-A-A-A

A E
you took your hits, wear the bruises on the soles of your feet
D
well, whos to say if they’re deserved?
F#m
but you’re turning reckless now, I hear you saying through your teeth,
A
that you’ll take them down first
E
but I saw you flinch when the doctors got their claws in you
D
I saw your smile start to crack
F#m
it’s not so funny when you’re sunk and there ain’t nothing you can do
D
when your options are all dead ends
A
when there’s no way out
E D
I’ll let you build your home in me until the clocks run down
A
when your luck’s run out
E D
call me and I will come and fix you, get your feet on the ground
A
when there’s not way out
E A
call me and I will come and bury you, all safe and sound

A-A-A-A (power chords)

D A E
all this time, you’ve been drifting out with the tide, my friend
D A E
but you can have what’s mine, if it helps you stay afloat
D A E
if I close my eyes, it’s ’cause I can’t watch you drown anymore, my friend
D A E
but I’ll tell you lies if it helps you sleep at night
D A E
and the more we fight, the more we don’t get right, my friend
D A E
the more we fight, the more we don’t get right

A E D
I heard they broke you, that you gave in
F#M
that you dropped and the the fight had left you
A E D
but don’t you worry, it makes no difference
F#M
from the start your options were all dead ends
D A
when there’s no way out
E D
I’ll let you build your home in me until the clocks run down
A
when your luck’s run out
E D
call me and I will come and fix you, get your feet on the ground
A
when there’s no way out
E
call me and I will come and bury you, all safe and sound

The original submission can be found at http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/e/electric_president/safe_and_sound_crd.htm

Banjo and Guitar Tab: Kina Grannis – Pumped Up Kicks

Included in this post are Banjo and Guitar tabs for the Kina Grannis cover of Pumped Up Kicks (Foster the People). I’m basing this off the youtube video she does with Imaginary friend guest playing the Banjo. As well, an original tab submitted by Nopcir at ultimate-guitar. I’ll prob work out the picking pattern for the guitar at some point, but for the moment anything sounds good as long as you keep the same pattern throughout.

WordPress formatted the page a little strange, but I also have a cleaner text version of the song.

For the Guitar, the Root Key is B, but she plays with Capo 5, so it looks like this:

—–E A D G B e
Em 0 2 2 0 0 0
G      3 2 0 0 3 3
D      x x 0 2 3 2
Am x 0 2 2 1 0
A     x 0 2 2 2 0

The Banjo is also playing with Capo 5:

—–g d G B D
Em x 2 0 0 2
G      0 0 0 0 0
D     x 0 2 3 4
Am x 2 2 1 2
A     2 2 2 2 2

The picking pattern for the Banjo sounds like:

D —–2———0———–4——–2—
B -0—-0—–0—-0——3—3—–1–1–
G —0—0—–0—-0——2—2—–2–2-
d 2———0———–0———2——-
g —————————————-
Em G
Robert’s got a quick hand
D Am
He’ll look around the room he won’t tell you his plan
Em G
Got a rolled cigarette
D Am
Hangin’ out his mouth, he’s a cowboy kid
Em G
Yeah, found a six-shooter gun
D Am
In his dads closet hidden with a box of fun things
Em G
I don’t even know what
D Am
But he’s comin’ for you, yeah he’s comin for you, hey
Em G
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
D
You’d better run, better run
A
Outrun my gun
Em G
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
D
You’d better run, better run
A
Faster than my bullet

Em G
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
D
You’d better run, better run
A
Outrun my gun
Em G
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
D
You’d better run, better run
A
Faster than my bullet
Em G
Daddy works a long day
D Am
He’ll be coming home late, he’s coming home late
Em G
And he’s bringing me a surprise
D Am
Cos’ dinner’s in the kitchen and it’s packed in ice
Em G
I’ve waited for a long time
D Am
The slight of my hand is now a quick pull trigger
Em G
I reason with my cigarette
D Am
And say your hair’s on fire you must have lost your wits, yeah
Em G
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
D
You’d better run, better run
A
Outrun my gun
Em G
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
D
You’d better run, better run
A
Faster than my bullet

Em G
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
D
You’d better run, better run
A
Outrun my gun
Em G
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
D
You’d better run, better run
A
Faster than my bullet