Wednesday, November 30, 2011

i'm coming clean

there are something like two weeks left of my master's degree. when did that happen? and i'm still waiting to hear back from the phd program. with uncertainty about my future once again hanging in the air, i think it's time for me to confess something. it's something that's been weighing on my mind for years now, a facade i've been keeping alive just because it was so convenient. but now, i think it's time that you all knew the truth. ready? here goes.

i am not a good student.

shocking, right? i mean, after being in school for a good eighty three percent of my life, i lave learned to be good at school. really good when the mood suits me. but i have in no way learned how to be a good student. you know the type? that studies and shows up to class and gets the grades and participates and learns stuff. i think that's where my biggest problem lies. i don't learn anything. i can ace a test with my eyes closed, but i will have no idea what you tested me on three point seven seconds later. i just figured out at a young age what teachers are likely to test me on, i keep it in my mind for the test, and then it's gone with the wind.

people just assume when they see me that i'm a good student because i have all the symptoms: i'm quiet, i like to read, i am usually writing in a notebook in class (they assume i'm taking notes), and i know a lot of the right answers. i'm here to finally correct this misconception.

you see, i am no better than a bad student who cheats. i have gotten through my education on smoke and mirrors, and now that it is almost done, maybe forever, i think that it is important for you to know this. i know nothing. and that will most likely come back to bite me now.

so when i fall flat on my face in the real world, and people whisper shocked comments behind their hands that they had such high hopes for me because i was such a good student, you can all go correct them. let them know that i have never once been a good student. tell them to drop their expectations to the level they would have for the burn out who sat in the back of the class sleeping and repeated fourth grade seven times. i'm kinda like him.

*Coming Clean - Hilary Duff (is it weird that this song has been randomly stuck in my head for the past day or so? it is, isn't it?)


  1. anonymous hippopotamusDecember 1, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    I dont think there is such a thing as a good student. I mean the ones who study and stuff only do that because if they didn't they'd fail and they need to put all that effort. I also don't think anyone really learns anything from school. We take away things that interested us and then when thrown into the working world we are forced to learn new skills in order to apply them. But school..I think school is just a way to keep younger people occupied for 16 years or so, so they can stay out of the grown up people's way. lool thats my two cents.

  2. I'm an awful student... I do nothing all the time - but I put that down to the fact that when we are actually being taught something I either already know it or pick it up so fast that I am bored after 10 minutes >.> Had that problem all the way through school and having it now at uni

  3. anonymous hippopotamus: i'm breaking your comment into two parts. first, thoughts on being a good student. student is always listed as an occupation, so i'm going to think of it as a job. and in a job, doing it well means doing what you're supposed to be doing. as a student, what you're supposed to be doing is studying and whatnot. so if you do that, you are automatically a good student, regardless of what you do or do not learn. you may be right about school, though. and that no one really learns much after the basic reading and writing is picked up.

    Hannah: i have that problem, too. and i could never understand how people could not know stuff that we had already taken three hundred times before. hmm... maybe that means that i did learn something.

  4. That third paragraph, man. Or is it the fourth? I don't, but yeah. Spot on.

  5. the good student symptoms? it's seriously like how a cough or headache can mean a gazillion different diseases. people need to stop assuming we have good studentitis just because we share a few symptoms.

  6. People assume I'm a good student, because, and only because, I read in class. And sometimes I write, and they hink I'm writing notes. I don't think I mind good studentitis though. It's good hallway cred.

  7. oh no i loved it during school. good studentitis allowed me to go through tenth grade with only doing my english homework twice and never losing any points because "i was a good student, and she knew i never forgot my homework." she let it slide a lot. it helped me so much during school, but i feel like now that school is over, everyone has unrealistic expectations of what i'm going to be because of it.

  8. Ha. I can relate to this a lot. I learned in college that to survive as an English major you have to know how to do two things: spout bulls**t in class, and then transfer that same bull into ten page papers.

    I asked one of my professors what I could do to better my writing style once, and she said, "The only thing that will help your writing is living. Your 'style' will come from life experience. You're not going to learn that in a classroom." (I'm paraphrasing, of course.) There's very little room for anything "authentic" in a classroom, because all teachers want to hear is repeated facts and methods... There's hardly any real learning going on.

    I guess where I'm going with this in general IS smoke and mirrors. The stuff you learn is kind of pertinent to a future job, but the things that really matter about that job will be learned once you're actually doing it. (So for me, the things that will really matter about my writing will be learned through life experience.)

    The day I told my favorite professor I was dropping out, I expected to get a lecture about how I was throwing my future away, but she (as well as some other professors) just smiled and said she hoped to see me again sometime. There was no doubt, or judgement or disappointment. Just, "Oh, you'll be fine. You can always come back for this later if you want." I like to think she was thinking, "There's some life experience!"

    I think the only person who had unrealistic expectations, in my case, was me. And the expectations had to do with what I was going to get out of a fancy degree.

    Also, if you can smoke and mirrors your way though school, you can probably do it in the real world too...just saying, you're not going to fall flat on your face. Put those skills to work to get a foot in the door, and then really work to be good at whatever you want to do once you're inside. ;)

    Gah. I don't even know if any of that made sense.

  9. i'm starting to think that i'm the one with the lofty expectations, too. i dunno, i just always thought that i should feel like i learned something, and i never did. maybe because of the way everything just builds off everything else it all seems old and learned to me? but seeing how a lot of other people feel the same way, maybe i can just smoke and mirror my way through everything.

    and it all made perfect sense.