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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Forgotten Truths About Being A Student

When I started taking classes last semester, I had an idealized notion of the sort of student I would be.  I was imagining taking pages of meticulous, well-organized notes and consistently studying a little bit every day so that there would be no studying time crunches before exams. Post-work exhaustion would never defeat me, and when I needed to study or do homework, I would never be distracted by the desire to go out somewhere or fashion the shiny objects in my midst into jewelry.

Let's just say that while my classes are going well, there has been a gap between my idealized notions and reality.  This gap wasn't as apparent in the fall because I was taking only one class then.  But the difference between taking one class and two classes has reminded me of a couple truths about being a student that I had long forgotten:

When taking multiple classes, one class will be known as The Class That Is Usually Ignored.  There can be a variety of reasons for this one.  If you're working on your bachelors degree, The Class That Is Usually Ignored is often a non-major class that you've been compelled to take to fulfill some sort of general education requirements.  Or you may have one class that's taught by your favorite professor (The Class That Gets All Your Energy), and all the others become The Classes That Are Usually Ignored.  In my case this semester, there is one class in which I have just enough background to get by pretty well.  I do my assignments for that class and study for tests.  But I don't spend a lot of time outside of class reviewing my notes or quizzing myself on the material.  I feel bad about this on a certain level because I find the subject matter interesting.  But my other class, in which I have very little background, is a massive time and energy sink.  An interesting and useful time and energy sink, perhaps, but one that forces an extreme imbalance of efforts.

Finishing something difficult for a class can be amazingly liberating.  You probably don't have to take more than one class at a time to experience this one.  But the class I took last semester wasn't overly challenging for me; my biggest challenge was getting used to the idea of taking classes again.  Anyway, I recently took my midterm in The Class That Gets All My Energy, and was surprised by how free I felt after it was over.  Imagine, I could read a book of my choosing during my commute instead of reading notes and working my way through a stack of flash cards!

For a long time, I thought I was done with my formal education, so it is interesting to go through some of this again.  The good thing is that with a BA and MA (and a good number of years) under my belt, I find these experiences more entertaining this time around.

1 comment:

  1. Good reflections. I well remember the liberated feeling I had walking across campus after finishing final exams.