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what happened?

Posted by alexandra_k on April 28, 2009, at 11:20:55

the schooling system here is different
the notion of 'what it means to get an education'
this and that and the other is compulsory
there is no room for interest and excellence in just one thing
not with all the hoops you have to jump to to get the privilege of focusing on just one thing.
not many options at high school.
everyone must do... everyone must do...
not many options at college.
everyone must meet this that and the other requirement
everyone must score well on this that and the other standardized test
not many options in grad school
everyone must meet this that and the other requirement
your dissertation is your own
relatively speaking
but thats all.

i would have never succeeded in a system such as that.
would never have finished high school.

admittedly i wasn't very good at fulfilling even the minimal requirements we had
my love at high school was english literature
didn't give a sh*t about much else
didn't go to other classes
was too busy meeting up with my mates
smoking drugs
raiding parents liquor cabnets.
till i needed my 3 c's to gain entry into university

third year at high school must do english (by law)
everything else is optional (math strongly encouraged)
careers counselors to ensure you do what is required for what you want to do in life
(one third of the university comprised of 'mature age students' who have changed their minds)
college is basically a two major degree
first year you take three pairs of subjects (strongly encouraged to do four)
second year you declare a major and support our a double major
and off you go on your way
not many options within your major to be sure
but 'directed study'
the way to learn about whatever it is you want to learn
masters degree is dissertation
the way to learn about whatever it is you want to learn
PhD degree is dissertation
the way to learn about whatever it is you want to learn

what happened?

my mother put a lot of time into teaching me how to read.
i'm talking a LOT of time here
i was reading fluently at the age of 4 (reading age of 16 on standardized tests - thats as high as the reading age went on standardized tests)
i really really really really really wanted to go to school (to get the hell away from her)
so we engaged in this exercise of going to various schools and trying to persuade the headmaster to let me in
didn't work so well
crappy reasons
'you will miss your mummy' - no i bloody well won't!
'you aren't toilet trained' - oh yes i am
'you won't socially fit in' - give me a fr*gg*ng chance
the only place that would accept me was a tiny little school
8 kids initially
we learned at our own pace and helped each other out

then the move to public schooling
i was slotted into an 'age appropriate' class
i repeated two years of work
i learned to be lazy
the most boring aspect was math
'i've finished can i have some more please'
i'd get more of the same damn exercises
no harder or anything
what was the point?
i'd mess around then do them in the last 5 minutes rather than working dilligently
i'd save up the exercises for the week and do them on friday
i'd save up the exercises for... well... ultimately...
the point where i was totally lost and couldn't do them anymore
didn't need to learn my times tables
could just compute the answer
nobody told me that the computations would get harder
in the sense that i needed parts to be automatic
or i'd have too many steps to my computation
and more sources of error
long division screwed me over
long division has a lot to answer for
i gave up on math.
but i was good at english. and somehow i basically persuaded them to let me quit math
(traded them for higher level economics and accounting then traded them for english once they forgot what the trade was about)
slipped between the cracks.

remember doing biology
couldn't do chemistry or physics till the following year
never said this to anyone (to give them the opportunity to counter)
but thought biology was 'baby science' and all would be predictable / explainable / understandable from the perspective of physics at the end of the day
so thought i'd save up my efforts for physics the following year
then encountered the 'physics is math really' perspective
'well thats that then i'm screwed'
bye bye science
lets at least try and become interested in history or social studies or classics...
just need 3 C's on anything at all to get entry to do english at university
options options fill my options with english
just one other thing required...
philosophy sounds cool...
thought it would be camus and sartre and descartes
didn't know what i was getting myself into
how wonderful how amazing
they appreciate how i deconstruct and analyze a poem!
not so for english literature...
but i did really very well... for the first time ever in my life.

thank god for philosophy

now i have a little more faith in my abilities
philosophy of mind got me trying psychology
did just as well at physiological psychology at i did at philosophy
the biochemistry of neurones makes perfect sense
tried as i did i never was particularly good at english
(though i worked hard)
philosophy has been good for me
good at something
confidence to try different things
gonna learn science now
gonna do some math
learning about the periodic table of elements
and how things fit together forming bonds
how... beautiful
baby science to be sure
logic... helps with appreciation for math

people tell me i'm doing things backwards
should have done the science first
so i had content to philosophize about
i agree

but the medical intake guy (who visits all the schools)
laughed at me
my doc in nz
disapproved of that thought

well screw them
screw the lady (the specialist)
who told me not to apply to the US because
'you will not receive the help you need'
screw them

all i ever wanted (needed) was for someone to have a little faith in me
i was neglected
thats my problem
thats what is wrong with me
and there is nothing wrong insofar as i foster relationships
where people care
thats all i ever wanted
thats all i ever need
sorry your standardized tests and your empirically verified treatments
can't show you that
though perhaps (to a point) its a resource limitation thing
doesn't matter
over now
like a bad dream...




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