Category Archives: student blogs

About Magical Realism

(1) Answer questions and write a “summative haiku” for “The Book of Sand”
(2) Write one (or two) original “magically realistic” haiku (a summative haiku for a story you have not yet written)

The Book of Sand discussion questions:

1. Borges writes that to proceed “more geometrico” is not the right way to begin, but nonetheless he leaves this as the beginning of the story? Why might he do this?

Those geometrico analogies can help the reader comprehend the following plot: there exists a book with countless pages.

2. What surprised the narrator most when he first examined the Book of Sand?

(1). the book has no beginning nor ending; (2). the characters in the book are unreadable.

3. Why couldn’t the narrator find the first and last pages of the Book of Sand?

Because there are always pages between the cover and his fingers.

4. Why doesn’t the bible seller haggle about the price of the Book of Sand?

Because his real purpose is to get rid of the book.

5. Why does the narrator stop going out of the house?

Because (1). he is absorbed in the book, (2). he fears that the book will be stolen.

6. Why does the narrator come to regard the Book of Sand as monstrous?

(1). the book prevents him from going outdoors and engage in social activities. (2) the book destroys his sleep.

7. Why does the narrator decide to “lose” the Book of Sand in the library?

Because he wants to get rid of it, and he hope no one can find it ever.

8. What sort of theme(s) does Borges explore in the story?

Mortals should not ask too much about the mysterious world.

9. What might the book of sand symbolize? Could it be a metaphor or analogy? For what?

Supernatural phenomena. Metaphor.

 

haiku on The Book of Sand:

The man disguised in grey

Comes with a shadow of seduction

Craze and terror

 

Another haiku:

On a sandy road

I drift like a ghostly balloon

Trucks flash by, rumbling

Comment on Hopeful Monster: Exploring an ELit Frankenstein of Hypertext & Kinetic Poetry~ by Cog.Dog

Fret not, the project for this class will not be as large as developing the original Elit pieces you have done (and reviewed so well), but more about conceptualizing *if* you were to use Elit to make a piece about a a concept or issue we have talked about in this class, what would it look like? It will be more of a design/thought concept paper with maybe a prototype then the full work.

Like

Hopeful Monster: Exploring an ELit Frankenstein of Hypertext & Kinetic Poetry~

Done Its Over GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

This week, we’ve finally begun our much-anticipated exploration of Elit. (Perhaps, it’s only much-anticipated on my end though…?)

Delving into Elit ❤

As I may have mentioned before, I’ve taken a few courses already on ELiterature and networked narratives. And so, I’ve already developed a bit of a soft spot for the genre. I find the experimentation and spontaneity and interactivity of Elit to be engaging in a way that is not better than traditional literature but that allows for more of my senses to be involved in the experience of the work. It’s different. Especially when it comes to poetry and prose shared in this genre, I find something special and almost magickal about the work.

I’ve often heard criticism that digital work–writing and art, particularly–are somehow less meaningful for their “digital-ness.” Like, because a work is made to be experienced through a digital interface, it is somehow inherently less capable of  conveying meaning or initiating meaningful dialogue. Or, more simply, it’s just less.

That line of thinking couldn’t be farther from my own. More, it couldn’t be farther from the truth of my own experience of both interacting with works of Elit and with making my own work of Elit.

Two particular works of Elit that come to mind when I think of ones that have touched me are Jason Nelson’s This is How You Will Die and Porpentine’s With Those We Love Alive. I mentioned Nelson’s work earlier when discussing Dada in new digital media and have written at length about this particular work. Nelson’s work is a kind of kinetic poetry with a dash of generative fiction thrown in. As for Porpentine’s work, I went into great detail about my thoughts on this piece here.  The “story” is a work of hypertext fiction created using Twine (a platform of which I’m not so much a fan myself but that seems to work amazingly for other people) and it is an absolutely beautiful work. I love everything about it from the diction used to the background sounds and the colours. Read my full review of it if you want but I found this work of Elit to be a particularly poignant articulation and exploration of experiencing trauma and moving on from it. (*Fun fact, this work was on display at the Whitney Museum’s 2017 Biennial exhibit and I got to see it~)

Revisiting EPoetry and Prose ❤

For this week, I decided to explore another work of EPoetry/Prose from the 3rd volume of the Elit collection. The work I chose is Ask Me for the Moon by John David Zuern. It is a work of kinetic poetry. The lines of the poetry in the piece ebb and flow into each other likes waves on the shore of a beach.

Click to view slideshow.

*The work starts with one line of poetry that overlaps and fades until it becomes the horizon for a slowly increasing cityscape–that of Waikīkī, this work being set in Hawaii.

Once you enter the work–by clicking on the screen in order to “ask me for the moon”–there are also missing spaces in some of the lines and particular quoted phrases in some of the lines too. These differences in the lines are filled in by excerpts from related works once the poem finishes ebbing and flowing out and from the screen. The poem will fade into the background and either the quoted phrase or the blank space will be emphasized as an excerpt from another work fades in on the screen.

Click to view slideshow.

The contents of the introduced excerpts revolve around the colonization and industrialization of Hawaii. More, around the commodification of the islands’ themselves, their natural resources, and the natives’ culture. The seen vs. the unseen is also invoked by this piece as the images one clicks to engage with the poetry are of different kinds of labor and work–the line of these images cutting across a beach scene at night. In the editorial statement for this work, these decisions are described as such:

“John David Zuern’s Ask Me For the Moon is a digital poem created in Adobe Flash using juxtaposed images, words, and sounds, to create the feeling of the labor behind the scenes at a Hawaii resort. The images and colors (black, white, and turquoise dominate) paint a picture of Waikiki that is emphasized in Zuern’s notes on the piece, which observe that at the time the piece was made there was approximately one worker for every two and a half visitors to Waikiki. The text of the piece plays over the faded gray landscape of the island, while the moving pictures depict fragments of labor moving through like waves along the shore. The visual poetics serve as a poignant reminder of how much work is done at night, out of sight of the tourists who swarm the island.”

Zuern says of his own work, “I was looking for a way to bring concrete details of my experience of working in Waikīkī into some kind of dialogue with what I was learning about the history and politics of the tourism industry in Hawai‘i. I wanted the poetry to quote but also, in a sense, to inhabit and illuminate the writing of philosophers and critics, calling attention to their own deployment of image and metaphor. At the time, it seemed important to keep the file size as small as possible, and notions of compression and constraint wound up governing many of my formal considerations, including my decision to write in haiku, to employ a somewhat restricted vocabulary and palette, and to include small images with minimal animation.”

For his purposes, I think Zuern’s work becomes a compelling commentary. At first, I was thrown off by the constrained format and the minimal amount of direction/interactivity of the work but once I realized the scope of the content of the work, I began to appreciate the aesthetic and technical decisions of the work. It’s definitely more simple than many other contemporary works of Elit but I think that simplicity makes a statement about what is being lost. In that way, I think this work transcends itself.

What do you think, though? More, what do you feel when engaging with this work? Do you feel the loss, the longing for a return to something simpler? Or, do you feel something else?

On Making Our Own Elit

If we are making our own works of Elit, I’m definitely interested in making a work of EPoetry/Prose. So far, I’ve translated my poetry into metalworks (which is a process, let me tell you) but I would like to expand into Elit with it. The work of Elit I created before was one of prose and so I would definitely like to expand upon what I can do with Elit and the medium.

That said, I would like to express concern with the time-frame for creating this Elit piece–if we are. I had an entire semester to work on the other piece of Elit I made and during that semester I was learning how to use many different kinds of tools and whatnot to create my piece. It was a whole, long process. And, even then, it was still a struggle to create the work I did due to how long it takes to do anything/translate anything it seems into a digital format as well as how overall challenging and strenuous it can be. There were many, many ideas and drafts scrapped along the way.

Anyway, I guess I just want to both inform, maybe, expectations as well as ask for a clearer understanding of what will be expected of us if we are making a work of Elit.

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Links

Twit 1 & Twit 2

Goodies

Porpentine’s Twitter

Out of Our Experience: Useful Theory by Sheila Clawson, Marion S. MacLean, Marian M. Mohr, Mary Ann Nocerino, Courtney Rogers, and Betsy Sanford

“Because all six of us are white, native English-speaking, and women, we had long worked, us teachers, to become better informed about the diversity of our students and colleagues. We knew that social and cultural influences were always present in our research as well as our classrooms” (Clawson).

 

I wanted to continue with the idea of the teacher-learning and student-learning articles that have discussed pedagogies. This particular article has a very strong voice coming from a teacher. Multiple teachers give their ideas, thoughts, and research methods when it came down to using theory in the classroom. By the article being broken down into different sections, it was clear to see various views coming from these teachers.

As I mentioned before, I appreciated the fact that there were multiple authors who worked together for this article. What I found interesting was that they were all white women and actually wanted to learn how to apply diversity to their teachings. As a female student of color, I thought this was a step forward. Even if someone can’t relate to me, it is appreciated to teach lessons that can relate to me or my peers. They offered a new insight and new terms that I thought was interesting. “Betsy Sanford calls it an ‘organizing principle’, a framework from which to try our new practices and collect new data” (Clawson). There needs to be room for learning for teachers as well, not only the students. If that were the case, teachers would be out of a job and students would teach themselves.

If I had teachers growing up who were willing to learning as much as these authors and teachers, then I feel as if my education experience would have been completely different. They actually wanted to connect what they were learning and apply it into the classroom and the lessons they were teaching. This almost reminds me of the previous article that we read about “Bring the Funk” by Heather Bastian. Learning how to be creative and trying something new in the classroom can impact students. “Respect for our learner in a teaching-learning situation is complicated, and we were aware that our lives and the lives of our students and colleagues were different in many ways” (Sandford). This was absolutely amazing to me because one of the first step into understanding someone else is being aware that they are different from you and that they had and will go through things in their lives that are completely different from yours. These teachers, in fact, did apply theories to their experience and research. That made it easier for me to believe. “Because of the experiences we have already described and the theorists and researchers we have mentioned, the research in our schools leaned heavily toward adaptations of qualitative and ethnographic methodology” (Clawson). Once a teacher not only understands that but is aware of that, then there can be a different complex in the classroom.

Reprinted from Teacher Researchers for Better Schools. (New York/Berkeley: Teachers College Press and the National Writing Project, copyright 2004 by Teachers College, Columbia University. All rights reserved.), pp. 9-22.

Bots & Whatnot~

Funk GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Beep-Beep-Boo-Bot: Revisiting Bots

So, at this point in my exploration of the digital humanities, I’m not unfamiliar with bots. In fact, I’ve written about them at length before. More, I’ve written about the ethics or lack thereof of bots here.

This isn’t to say that I’ve, by any means, said all there is to say about bots, just that I have thought about them and their functions in detail before. And, more, as far as interacting with and creating bots, this isn’t my first rodeo.

Anyway, that disclosed, let’s get to this week’s activities!

First, after discussing what a bot is for those who are unfamiliar with them, we explored some different bots on Twitter. I decided to check out some of the bots mentioned in this article by Lainna Fader. Since I already do follow a lot of bots (mostly sappy poetry ones #itswhoiamasapersonsorrynotsorry), I wanted to check out some ones that come highly recommended~

Two of my favorites were the @420worldclock bot and the @wikisext bot. Totally nsfw but pretty Great~ @420worldclock seems to co-opt the the adage I’m writing this at 4:20pm AHHHHH btw~ “It’s always happy hour somewhere” to “It’s 4:20 somewhere” and tweet out about that.

Meanwhile, @wikisext is pretty self-explanatory, no???

Personally, I think this bot gives Great advice >.< Totally recommend checking out for yourself~ (if it’s your cup of tea)

After interacting with and exploring a few bots, next, we put our newly-found bot prowess to the test to see if we could differentiate between bot poetry and, you know, traditional poetry. Not as easy as it sounds???

Check it:

Click to view slideshow.

For the most part, I was able to identify Poe, Dickinson, Neruda, some Keats, and some Blake but, in my opinion, including e.e. cummings was just unfair >.> I mean, have you read his work??? Come on!

There were also some really Great works that totally should be famous poems. Like, look at this:

2018-04-15 (6)

Genius. Absolutely Great.

…Anyway, moving on~

I found it interesting to see just how similar some bot-generated poetry could be to works written by people. For some of the works, it was easily to spot the thing that made the poetry come alive. That human hand. But, for a surprising number, it was rather difficult to identify them as bot-generated. I’m not sure what that implicates for the future of the medium and of technology but it’s certainly interesting.

Revisiting Making Bots

After exploring the medium and discussing some of the functions and applications of bots, both positive and nefarious, we got to the crux of the matter: making our bots.

Now, as I mentioned, I’ve already made a bot. This pesky, circle-talking faerie… (she talks a little very-scary but don’t worry too much~ she’s harmless ^.^)

So, I didn’t really experience much difficulty in the process of creating one. It took me some time to come up with a format for the things I wanted the bot to say, though. I got a topic I wasn’t overly enthused with discussing thank Alan. So, that took some time to develop. I came up with some Great hashtags, though, in my opinion… #zuckers, #zuckit, #zuckoff…. I mean, come on–those are Great ^.^

I didn’t really get much interaction with my bot-generated content, though. One person outside of the #netnarr scope did like a tweet, which was marginally exciting:

Aside from that interaction, the most I got on my tweets was a comment here:

and a retweet here:

along with a few likes here and there as well~

I’d say some of my replies to some tweets got more interaction. For example, this thread:

It generated some interaction amongst multiple users in the #netnarr sphere, at least. Other than that, I mostly felt like I was having one-sided conversations with other users~ (which, isn’t really all that different from most conversations I’ve had with other Twitter accounts tbh~ in my experience, most aren’t super responsive to comments??).

Don’t think I really influenced anyone all that much with my tweets but maybe some targeted hashtags could change that?? I’m not interested in keeping this bot running past this week, though. I like my personal account to be more organic~

I mean, look at the difference in my bot-reading that only a few days made:

2018-04-10 (1)

Added a few of my accounts for comparison~

2018-04-15

My bot-rating jumped from 29% before using bot-generated content to 41% after incorporating only a few days worth of bot-generated content. It’s kind of odd that it’s the same percentage though as my other account, @hellsskell24, which has never had any bot content on it. And, to be honest, I kind of expected my actual bot account, @noxsiog, to have a higher bot-rating. I mean, it is a bot.

Anyway, I thought this was an interesting experience. I wish we could have generated more discussion within the #netnarr thread, at least, but I still like this approach to teaching bots. It’s interactive and creative~

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Links

Twit 1 & Twit 2

Killing It: Some spooky/creepy/disturbing little stories I wrote inspired by bot prompts/nonsense #shamelessselfpromotion

Goodies

Some bots I highly recommend following:

@DothTheDoth

@SICKOFWOLVES

*I mean, this is Great.

@DarkRothko

@s8n

~Till Next Time~

Student Affective Responses to “Bringing the Funk” in the First-Year Writing Classroom by Heather Bastian

“This desire has been and remains productive for writing studies, allowing diverse voices and genres to permeate our classrooms and scholarship, exposing limitations of academic tradition and convention, and inviting students and teachers to flex our rhetorical acuity within public and private spheres” (Bastian, pg 7).

 

This article, written by Heather Bastian, talks about the goal of having a more diverse way of students write in the classroom and how teachers use more than one method in order to teach various topics. This was very interesting because the article described how thoughts and emotions go hand in hand. They are actually connected to one another. Not only emotions but other things as well. “Currently, writing studies has limited data on student affect-defined by Susan McLeod as noncognitive phenomena, including emotions but also intuitions-because, as many scholars have already observed, the field primarily focuses on the cognitive rather than the affective domain (Brand; Fulkerson; McLeod; Micciche; Richards) (Bastain, pg 9). The reason why I wanted to look further into this section of the article is that if we understand that writing comes in more than one way and in different genres, then there can be process when it comes to first-year writing students in higher education.

The term that was used throughout the article, “bringing the funk”, is something that should be used more in the classroom. My junior year of undergraduate school, Professor Hone told the class, “If school isn’t fun, then what is the point?”. The reason why I relate what my professor said to this article is because he understood that education goes beyond simply having something to write about, handing it in, and then receiving a grade back. More importantly, it is about what did you learn and take away by completing the assignment. However, I do understand that not everyone is like that.

Bastian also talked about how certain students were not comfortable with the atypical way of doing the assignment that was given to them. It all comes down to preference. “Other students found the freedom to move away from academic convention allowed them to express hidden talents…not all students, however, expressed comfort with the freedom granted by this assignment but, instead, found comfort in safety” (Bastian, pg 21). There were some students who preferred typical and some who wanted to the assignment in an atypical way. The point is to try something new and different. Connecting thoughts and emotions and bringing it into the classroom, I believe will truly make a difference.

When it comes to the teachers, I think they should have an open mind when it comes to changing methods of education in the classroom. “As such, writing teachers should be prepared for and not be discouraged or disappointed by the range of effective responses students may have as they move from what they perceive as familiar into unfamiliar genres (Bastian, pg 27). There needs to be room for not only students but teachers as well to be uncomfortable with changing their methods in order to make progress.

 

 

 

 
Bastian, Heather. “Capturing Individual Uptake: Toward a Disruptive Research Methodology.” Composition Forum, vol. 31, Spring 2015, composition forum.com/issue/31/individual-uptake.php.

If H. naledi buried their dead, would this constitute social symbolic behavior? Why or why not?

Yes, this would constitute social symbolic behavior. Several guesses: 

  1. Death was viewed as a certain kind of reborn. Buried dead could make their way to the underworld. 
  2. Maybe the buried dead was enemies of another group of Homo naledi. They were thrown into the cave so that their ghosts will be trapped in that cave and would never return for revenge. 
  3. Maybe the Homo naledi was afraid of the revival of the dead so they buried them to avoid terror. 

Gaming the System

*Much less fun than it sounds~

Painting the Town Red

This week, we talked about redlining–basically denying services either directly or indirectly to residents in certain areas of a city or town based upon the ethnic makeup of the residents. More specifically, we talked about the idea of digital redlining and how online algorithms can play a part in the contemporary implementation of redlining practices.

In order to learn more about digital redlining and how it works, we watched a fascinating talk led by Chris Gilliard:

Aside from this talk, Chris also contributed to this article about how digital redlining operates at the university level. Essentially, the appropriate use policies (AUPs) can become knowledge-blocks for many students at community institutions. Being that community colleges are typically populated by working-class individuals, many of whom come from a more ethnically diverse background, this problem becomes one of digital redlining.

Because online spaces are where an increasing number of people primarily get their information from, restrictions such as these become not just issues of inequality and accessibility but of ethics as well. If the flow of information is restricted, then people simply cannot make informed decisions about things that can greatly affect the quality of their lives. More, by restricting access of certain knowledge, power is given to those who are not restricted. A game in which certain players are given all the knowledge and all the power while others are left totally unawares is not much of a game. At least, it’s not a very fun game, to say the least.

What I find particularly awful about the whole issue is that those who are being most affected by digital redlining are the ones who would have no idea, who are not informed and have no means of becoming informed. That is the game. This is especially sickening considering how often technology and the Internet are lauded as being “great equalizers”. The truth that so few have access those is that both could not be any farther from. You might even consider digital redlining the 2.0 version of the original–now new and improved.

Painting Newark, NJ Red

In order to learn just how close to home the issue of redlining is, this week in class we investigated possible instances of it occurring in nearby Newark, NJ. The activity asked us first to review this map charting inequality in the city and then to choose from a variety of other services to see if the locations of those services were possibly affected by the inequality of wealth revealed in the initial map.

I chose to see if there was any correlation between the historical redlining of Newark and the location of license plate reader (LPR) cameras. This is what I found:

https://h5p.org/h5p/embed/215322

In researching whether or not a kind of redlining is still present in Essex County, specifically in Newark, NJ, I noticed a possible correlation between LPR camera locations and the location of Newark’s poorer areas.

According to the LPR map, there is a cluster of LPR cameras located in the center of Newark, sandwiched between 2 areas (Third Ward and the Ironbound) identified by the inequality tracking map as “hazardous” zones. Now, this cluster could be related to the close proximity of Newark Penn Station–a major travel hub–but upon inspection of other large, travel hubs in the area, like the nearby Paterson rail station, that doesn’t seem to be the case. At least, there’s only 1 LPR location remotely near the Paterson rail station compared to the 5 LPR locations within a few blocks of each other near Newark Penn Station.

So, perhaps the cluster of LPR locations in Newark relates more to the “hazardous” designation of the overall area? What do you think?

My Make

Personally, I was quite surprised to notice a possible correlation even though I, myself, having grown up nearby, know there areas of Newark I want to avoid, especially at certain times. Driving into Newark this weekend, actually, for a concert, I found myself thinking more deeply about the issue of potholes on 21–the main drag through the city. 21 stretches across Essex county and into Bergen county–where I now reside. There is a clear distinction between the amount of potholes encountered, though, between the two counties. More specifically, between the city limits of Newark and the surrounding areas. Seems potholes on 21 are more worth filling outside of the city >.>

Returning to Sound

In contrast to the rather depressing topic of redlining and its digital counterpart, this week also had us finishing up our work on interacting with empathy games. (I think an empathy game about digital redlining could be pretty good, yeah?)

Anyway, this other activity had us recording questions about empathy games designed by students in Prof. Maha Bali’s class in Cairo, Egypt. Prof. Bali’s students would then record and upload their responses to the shared padlet. Once all the audio components were available, we had to download them and use them to create a new, cohesive whole–an “interview” of sorts in Audacity.

Now, I don’t really like working with audio myself but I think my project turned out pretty well. There are some rough patches in it and, of course, there’s how awful I think I sound recorded but, other than those *minor* issues, I am pleasantly surprised with how my interview turned out. But, don’t take my word for it.

Have a listen yourself:

Mainly, I think my intonation is off in some places and conflicts with prior recordings which makes it obvious that this was not recorded all at once. Also, for some reason, I think I sound more condescending in places where I didn’t intend to and I don’t know why???? Audio is weird.

But, again, what do you think?

I was going for this being like a podcast of sorts–hence the jazzy intro and outro~ Does that vibe come through or nah? What’s your impression of this work?

Jazzy Intro & Outro

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Links

Daily Digital Alchemies

~Till next time~

The Dialogic Function of Composition Pedagogy: Negotiating between Critical Theory and Public Values by Rebecca Moore Howard

This article was a more complicated reading for me personally compared to the previous articles we have read in class. The article discusses the problems of teaching and learning composition pedagogy and how literature is broken down for students to understand. “The arguments of literature scholars can also be traced in the college catalogs that list advanced offerings in literature but only required normative courses in composition. Composition, so goes this reasoning is different from literature and should be measured by its own standards” (Howard, 51). What I believe Howard is trying to argue here is that the topics of composition and literature have both similarities and differences that could be used when teaching. The problem is having the students fully comprehend it.

Howard continues on to say, “In this essay, however, I am urging that composition pedagogy be measured by its own standards-which, I am proposing, include a dialogic function” (pg 52). This essay does explain Howard’s proposal in introducing this a new way of understanding composition. However, throughout the article I found myself to be lost in translation. There were many times while reading this essay I could grasp the point she was trying to make; which made it more difficult to understand the overall point she was trying to make in this essay. One example of this would be when she gave the example of W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk and how that relates to the differences in composition pedagogy and literature.

“I find myself taking an argumentative tack paralleling that of W.E.B. DuBois in The Souls of Black Folk:

Nineteenth-century African Americans suffered from a racial “double consciousness” in which they could fully appraise themselves neither by their own standards nor by those of white people” (pg 52). She mentions that the relationship between the two is not because of identity but rather in the subject of English itself. “Composition studies labors in a state of intellectual double consciousness, trying to demonstrate its value by asserting its identity with literary studies” (Howard, 52). This was a problem for me when trying to finish the rest of the essay because I was trying to understand if she was relating DuBois’s literature to having its own standard like composition and literature studies should; Or was she making the point that African Americans’ struggles of dealing with “double consciousness” relates to simply a subject of composition pedagogy.

Another issue that I had while reading this essay was how it related to research itself. A lot of the wording and material that was brought in this essay could have been said in a simpler way and I believe could have been constructed better. There was one idea that was brought to my attention that I thought was enlightening. The term “patchwriting” is something I have never heard before. “Patchwriting, according to composition theory and critical theory, is at the very least a necessary stage in learning new ideas. By many accounts, it is how all of us write all of the time” (Howard, 58). A term such as “patchwriting” is something that was new and I could take away from this essay and apply it to my own studies. Overall, the argument she was trying to make was good with some flaws. Unfortunately, for a growing student myself, it was just something I could not grasp fully.