I started a graduate program right out of undergrad. There are a ton of reasons I didn’t fall through with that program. Mostly I was just burned out of someone telling me to read, and I wanted to see the world more, and I wanted to study another language at an Asian university. No regrets.
What is interesting, however, is how my perspective of education has changed the last few years.
It’s also highly entertaining to hear my friends say (repeating what I had told them just a couple of years ago), “what the crap? I thought you were boycotting evil universities forever” when I tell them I’m in a Canadian university. Some seem to try to talk me out of staying here, but that’s not happening unless God wants to turn me into an eagle. Then – and only then – might I reconsider.
See in part due to my homeschooling, and in other part just do to my personality that studies things deep like madness, I found the approach to studying in higher education almost offensive. Oddly, as it turns out, no one actually expects you to read it all.
This is especially true the higher the student studies. In the beginning undergrad courses, the amount of reading is shorter, so it’s easy to read everything. Though then again, it’s also easy to B.S. your way through if you’re a good test taker like me. (Not bragging there. It’s a useless skill outside school.)
But then higher academia hits.
Now my teachers assign me a book or two to read a day. I’m not exaggerating. Then I also have to keep up with journal articles, etc. It’s pretty intense.
Every professor has told me, “now don’t read every word.”
Every freakin’ professor.
“Spend 50% of your time on the preface, conclusion and writing out the main ideas. Then read the rest of the book,” they all say. Yup, in grad school I get to read the conclusion before the middle. Yipee!
Four years ago this would have made me so mad. In fact, I remember having a conversation like this a few years ago with an undergrad professor about almost this exact thing.
I used to blame the school bell for this even though we didn’t have a bell in the university and even though I’ve yet in my life to actually hear a school bell ring (yea, I was a homeschool kid. No bells). You know, students get all comfy in the seat, finally all interested in Shakespeare (or not), and the durn bell rings.
I hated it, I mean. Once my Greek class got invaded with students seeking shelter in our basement class from a tornado. I told the students, “be quiet, we are translating Aristotle now. This is serious business.” Yea, I was one of those.
So I hated the fact that schools are all over the map. I guess I still do sometimes.
But now, I so get it, speaking of higher education.
In order to learn a ton, and get in as many big ideas as we can possible get, in order to connect ideas from multiple disciples together, well, then, we can’t get boggled down on details.
Details are fine. But details make a lot more sense AFTER YOUR HEAD IS FULL OF KNOWLEDGE.
And that, right there, is why I’m not an unschooler even if I’m an unschooler at heart. Kid’s, adults, whoever, should not just study their interests. They need to broaden their horizons, and they might get taken by surprise. (Not sayin’ all unschoolers only study their favorite subjects, by the way. Only speaking of the version I knew as a homeschooler.)
My favorite class this semester is in a class technically not in my speciality. I was pleasantly caught off guard. Now I’m reading the crap off my eyeballs.
The point is the way I studied as a homeschool student is all kind of funny. I skipped everything I hated, and over analyzed everything I enjoyed. Over analyzed to insanity. Now I’m learning a new kind of learning. It’s uncomfortable, but I’m starting to see the ups.
I’m also agreeing that real life isn’t academia and that academia “ain’t” everything, but when when you’re in Rome, you gotta do as the Romans do, and some time the Roman way is fun…for a season.