Monday, December 18, 2006

Apathy... Boardline Antipathy

I apologize for not being as consistent as I would have liked in "keepin' the train a-rollin'". I had no intentions of delaying the posts. Understand it was not for lack of material. I could have told you about a number of things I have experienced recently, such as dancing with 50 women, revisiting my childhood, new experiences with the "curb-stomp", or seeing a woman die/almost die in front of me (jury's still out on that one). But I will cover none of that today. Perhaps I will touch on them at a later time.

But this post is dedicated to my fairly unique finals week. We had our last days of classes last week; we had our first days of finals last week. See, I go to a school intent on being free from the typical. It is much like one of those neo-punks. You know the ones. They dress the part but you know don't live the lifestyle because they're from rural Iowa. I believe the catchy middle school title for them was "posers". Yes, my school is a poser. They thought it would be a gas to not have the whole of finals week during the same week as every single other school in the country. No no, we had three days of classes last week, a study day (I don't know how you relate "great idea" sarcastically in prose, but if I did, this is where I'd put it), and our first finals day last Friday. Following the ensuing weekend, we now have the balance of the finals week.

I think this denotes a lack of consideration on the topic. Professors around these parts tend to set due dates on major projects for the week before finals (I believe some schools have what is called a "dead week"). Ok, I'm tired of spelling this out... its not the greatest of ideas to have the week with major papers due and the week with final tests scheduled be the same week. Many I have spoken with have truly unfortunate circumstances revolving around difficulties with this. Worth a try; not worth repeating.

Now this is where I come in...

I am sure you are all aware of the contrived contition known as senioritis. I do not have this. I will not blame who I am on some third party. Nor am I simply lazy. I have been lazy in the past. I am familiar with laziness. In fact, I own a shirt that claims that I am among a group who have made laziness an art form.

No, what I am is truly apathetic. My condition is not one of a lack of motivation but lack of concern. I still have gotten my homework done. I have actually made some up. My deadlines are made. But my mind is in a place right now that does not give any credence to the grading process. I do not take my exams for a grade; I take them only because they fill up my day.

I have yet to study for a finals exam. And if I can give a hint to the future, its not looking like this pattern will be changing anytime soon. For those of you BTS inclined, this has gone so far as to precipitate me not preparing for a Dr. Long test. Most everyone reading this will not understand the implications, but just know that the ones that do get it are either mouth-open agast or doing that nervous laughing thing when they are just glad that its not them.

Nope. I have returned to high school as far as academic exercise preparation is concerned. I made a game out of my high school classes. I am doing the same out of my college classes. And honestly, I don't think it'll have to much of a negative impact on my GPA. I may have actually raised my grade by not studying.

I care about the material and the actual retention of it. I do. I enjoy the learning of it all. But something set me on my current path. I just remember one girl, in particular, asking a number of times this semester if "blah blah" was going to be on the test. I was a bit set back by the question. Seems to me that if she was at all interested in the subject, she would want to learn it regardless. Yet her question was motivated by the underlying expectation of a good grade above all else. I made the (perhaps unfair) conclusion that she really didn't want to learn the "stuff" of her major. Maybe acceptable for a business major, but when you are a Christian in a Bible-oriented major, I got beef.

So, as I tend to do, I go to the other side. I decided to gleam from the semester all that I wanted to learn in my classes with wanton disregard for my grades. I will learn what I will and whatever I retain will be what will be the determining factor on my final tests. Strangely liberating.

I just remember something a professor said once, and now I'm paraphrasing: "Education is the one thing in which we want the least for our money." For shame.

Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars,

Song of the Week: "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays", NSync (deal with it)


mjbombadil said...

Weak sauce bro...this is way too highbrow and simplistic...the girl you are referring to is a product of her culture drivien by success...not knowledge or understanding. If you don't think grades are important...if toolish professors claim that grades shouldn't matter, THEN DON'T GIVE GRADES. Look at the price tag for an education...getting hosed that bad, you should at least be able to come out of it with good grades. Don't dog someone for being a victim of what has been set out before us as the point of education...Grades. Maybe schools should set things up so that understanding is the pursuit, not grades. is no different that "christian" pursuits...people not labels determine the nature of professions.

Diggs said...

I disagree. Grades are a rudimentary device for determining proficiency. In an ideal world they would be unnecessary, but I shutter at the thought of what my collegues would actually learn if they were not a part of the equation. And I don't think that just shelling out the money should lead to a degree. Social dissonance, anyone? The problem is that standards have been lowered to the point that A's are expected and not exceptional. Had our standards for ourselves been higher, perhaps our friend (who plays the part of one who wishes to learn) would not have to search for the lowest possible level to acheive the "A". I agree, the focus placed upon the grades is a detriment to the system, but I think the problem is not in the grades but in the attitude towards education in general.

Mid Range King said...

Diggs, finals week is like ditching a disc into a tree at Kaposia. It happens, and it so happens that I have been picked to be the reciprieant of 3 finals today. That is Tuesday. I have been awake since yesterday. No sleep. I wish my day wasn't going to suck. I'm getting thrown into the Gulag and forced to spew out loads of knowledge claiming the legitmacy of the Khrushchev era while trying to figure out if the current state that Russia is in will last. If that is not enough then I have to paint a quite large picture of 4 periods in Minnesota history that show how it has changed over the last 150 years. In seven paragraphs. Then to cap it off I am going to be raped by the Economics Queen tonight at 6:15. Pray for bandages. Find sometime after that to pack, clean the trash heep I call an apartment, and then study for my last final for Wednesday morning at 8:15am. Apathy, my aviar. psh...

Bryan said...

Doug, I know exactly what you are referring to. I spent the final 3 years of my college experience under the same type of influence. Keep in mind that I finished college in 3.5 years. This means I tried for approx. 1 semester. Don't be afraid of grades. Then again, I'm not exactly in the middle of a stellar career right now. Perhaps you shouldn't listen to me...