Posts Tagged 'Learning'

How The Long Way Around Has Made Me Happy

After a personal philosophy crisis that I timed perfectly with the end of last semester I decided that during the spring semester I would only take four classes. If I valued my sanity and wanted to get my head back into school I knew I could not take the average load of five classes (especially since the classes I signed up for were not going to be easy).

The four classes I signed up for: Code, Culture, and the Postmodern; Women and Modernism (aka Gynomod or The Womb); Aesthetics in Philosophy; U.S. History since 1945. You might not be able to tell from this list of classes but, I am actually a History major. After last semesters stumbling I decided to hell with what I “should” be taking and signed up for classes that sounded interesting and I knew would challenge me. I took a deep breath and plunged into unfamiliar territory.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by shauser

The first few weeks were thrilling and I found myself in that sweet spot of uncomfortable but, not paralyzed (how I love this phrase). I often left classes with what I can only describe as feelings of floating. My brain would be racing, making connections, flying through a myriad of thoughts. This was the most stimulating semester I had ever encountered; this is the learning I had been seeking. Not that everything is perfect, it never is, but I have finally reached a point in my education where I understand deeply that I don’t have to be perfect. Perhaps my acceptance of not being perfect came about because I was taking classes where I knew I would not be perfect, I would not be the most trained or knowledgeable in the classes. This semester has put to test my ability to think, analyze and synthesize because I cannot hide behind what I know or my training as a historian.

Currently we are at the half way point of the semester and I am surprised and delighted to find that the feelings of floating and flying persist. I am beginning to formulate my own theory of aesthetics, wrap my head around modern female writers, and flesh out research for the code and postmodern class. Even at the midway point of the semester I already know it is the forming of my own understanding and framework around these subjects that will be the most rewarding outcome of the semester, not the grade. The funny thing is I don’t really need these classes to graduate in fact I should be doing something about history GPA but, I don’t think I would trade in this semester for being on track. My priorities aren’t perfect but, when the joy of learning sings its siren song how can anyone resist it? I know I can’t. In the long run I know what I actually learned, not how long it took me to reach some arbitrary finish line, will be of real value and I believe I will be a better person because of it.


The Week Long Experiments

I have this strange idea in my head and I’m throwing it out there to hear what you guys think and too see if you have any ideas.

Ever since I watched the movie Hard Promises (a bad 90s romance film) I identified with the male lead, Joey, who can’t deal with doing just one thing and his wander lust takes him to jobs all over the country. I knew that was how I felt about doing jobs. I’ve always been interested in learning a mile wide and an inch deep; I always wanted to move on to the next adventure.

In order to quench my insatiable urge to learn about a wide variety of things. I am instituting for myself the week long experiments experiment. I will spend a week learning about something and learning about it through what ever methods necessary. For example what is it like to be a vegetarian? I would probably spend the week as a vegetarian and researching the history of vegetarianism and asking all sorts of other question too. Naturally I would blog during the week about my experiment. There are a myriad of possibilities here and  I want you to help me think of more ideas. Hopefully once this project gets off the ground you could also help me form my research into each subject. I would also encourage anyone who would want to participate to try it out too, the more the merrier right?

So as of right now I have a few ideas for week long experiments, but I’d love to hear from you. So leave a comment (or multiple comments!) this experiment depends on help from you guys. If everything works out I would start this project during the summer when I have a little more free time to experiment.

Here are some ideas are I have so far: Learning about photography, Buddhism, week as a mute (crazy I know), practice parkour. Again anything and everything that you think would be worth investigating or maybe something that is just wacky and would make for an interesting week.

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