Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Toughest Econ Lecture Ever

Tonight I sat through the worst econ class. It’s not that the material was uninteresting-quite the opposite. But the professor crammed so much stuff in that my brain hurt before he stopped for break and he didn’t let up after break.

He was talking about Keynesian Economics, which is a subject I have long wanted to know more about. My favorite economist (Paul Krugman) tends to be a Keynesian, so I want to know more about how that system of thought works. The professor warned us that tonight’s talk was going to be even dryer than usual, which earned him a laugh, because, well at least he was honest about it.

I suppose, that compared to the Supply Side talk he gave Tuesday this was a much better lecture. The lecture on Supply Side Economics was kind of muddy and it was very clear that even though he had to present the material to us even the professor thought it was “Voodoo Economics.” (I tried to explain this gently to my study group, I am not sure I was successful. “The lecture doesn’t make any sense because the theory doesn’t make sense”)

Tonight’s lecture was thorough-a bit too thorough. And the professor got his notes messed up, and wrote down the wrong number for one of the complicated equations we were working our way through. He apologized. “I don’t know why my notes don’t make sense tonight-I have been using the same notes for 20 years.” I can forgive him for that because he’s very good in general. He generally presents things sensibly and because he’s teaching a lecture course on material that is slightly dryer than the Sahara he’s good at using humor to keep us awake. He’s also figured out our names, for which I applaud him. However, tonight he was merciless.

He kept throwing information at us at an appalling rate. When at 8:45 he said “I think we’ve covered a decent amount of material tonight” I started putting my notebook away. Dear Reader, I was not the only one doing so-I could hear the rustling. But then he proceeded to throw another two equations at us. I was almost in tears by the time he was done. I hated everyone that asked him a question that night (including me.) The one small consolation for my ego was while I was sitting there gibbering and trying to keep up and not feel Math-Deficient, the guy sitting in front of me (who was on top of all of the math) lost his place and asked me a question, which I answered easily and correctly. This gave me enough grounding to be able to listen to the rest of the lecture, but still it was brutal.

As I said above, I was not uninterested in the material. Even the math wasn’t outside of my capabilities. In fact, since it was mostly about slopes of lines (and whether or not they were lines or curves) it was all within the realm of stuff I can actually do. But there was just too much to absorb in an evening. When I got on the shuttle bus I noted that there was no one I knew, which was good-in case I actually started crying.

I’m not a slacker. This is not Carleton College in 1996. I am doing the coursework and I am interested in the subject. But my brain was full at 8 PM, and although I took good notes after that I have no idea what was in them. After 8 the brain bucket was full and anything the professor said fell out over the edge.

On the other hand, life could be a lot worse. For example, a year ago I was in a relationship that was falling apart, I had a friend dying at MGH and I was about to take the GMAT.

No comments: