Sunday, September 19, 2010

interruptions :: MAT or PhD?

Hello, loves.  Here's a new category for you, which I shall simply call interruptions.  They won't be about crafts, projects, art, or those other visual lovelies that I can't resist.  They'll be about the other side of me, the nerdy academic who actually likes school (or at least college), and my responses to articles, findings, and happenings in the world of academia.

so here you go

interruption #1: MAT or PhD, an article found through

I know what I would like to do in the future--or at least I have a shape of an idea.  Yet sometimes the news from real life is a little bit depressing, like this article.  It's got me thinking about the parts of college that frustrated me to no end, particularly during my freshman year.

In short, I was lucky.  I am lucky.  My mom taught me to read when I was barely four and my parents were both closely invested, financially and personally, in my education.  They sent me to good schools and are paying for my continuing education.  So I know how to compose a sentence, paragraph, thesis, essay, and I can spell pretty well.  I mean, a few years ago (so weird to type that sentence!) my friends at the 'bury did manage to trip me up with the word "obfuscate," but as you can see here, I got over that quickly.  I guess I lived in a little bit of an adept composition bubble, thinking to my bookish self that everyone should be able to spell and write because hey, that's what school is for, isn't it?

Oh, how wrong I was!  I remember that my civil rights movement professor remarked that he was quite pleased with the readability of my papers.  I was complimented, no doubt, but he also remarked that it's rare to come across a well-composed paper.

I am lucky, then.  I had people in my life who were concerned with my future and with my education.

So when I come across an article like this, I feel quite a bit sad.  I love my literature courses--or maybe I should say loved, now that I've finished the undergraduate levels--and I actually found those "irrelevant courses" in Women's/Gender Studies and race studies to be quite interesting and relevant to understanding literature in today's world.  But unlike the future PhD students the author discusses, I don't dream of sitting in that old ivory tower discussing literature all the time.  I dream of sitting down and grading those depressing papers, making comments, talking to those students and helping them see that yes, being able to write is beneficial to your future, regardless of what you want to do with your life.

So, really, Mr. Professor, I get what you're saying, but I'm not going to slip into your pessimism.  I'm determined to be optimistic.  I'm also determined to do something about the problem you lament, because I'm fresh from college, getting started in the field you've been in for a long time, and maybe my generation of your students can start to change things and get them back on track.


The Ever Present Oma said...

Optimism, otherwise called HOPE is beautiful and to be cherished. It will be an eternal source of JOY. The EVER PRESENT OMA

Katharina said...

Teachers make a difference, at any level of education.