Psycho-Babble Writing Thread 893271

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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...


Re: what happened?

Posted by alexandra_k on April 28, 2009, at 11:30:51

In reply to what happened?, posted by alexandra_k on April 28, 2009, at 11:20:55

and i guess there is at least two different ways things might have gone
i could have had more support of the form of
'screw what we take to be age appropriate here are some harder exercises'
and that might have encouraged my interest in other things
or i could have had more support of the form of
'here are reasons to focus your efforts on biology and math'

i guess they supported me by seeing that i was reasonable at english and that i loved it
and them allowing me to simply focus my efforts on that
that is a kind of support i guess

i don't know what i'm saying

i don't regret the way things turned out
i don't regret philosophy at all

i guess... i've just realized that medicine has always had appeal to me
but that was never considered an option
(my mother fostered english in girls because my sister became a secretary
administrative assistant to a business exec and that was considered 'success')
my brother was an accountant she taught him how to do math
i never really saw this... but thats where things were at...


Re: what happened?

Posted by alexandra_k on April 28, 2009, at 11:57:48

In reply to what happened?, posted by alexandra_k on April 28, 2009, at 11:20:55

it is interesting to think about what it is to have an education
lets face it the difference in the educational systems (Australasia vs US) is significantly a function of
the mighty dollar

(though the influence of britain confounds me and i don't know what to say about that)

though i appreciate the freedom that comes from being encouraged to focus on your interests
the freedom that comes from being allowed to (the absence of requirements and hoops)

i also appreciate the support that (may) come from appreciating the value of breadth
maybe i would have had support here to appreciate breadth
or maybe i would have slipped through the cracks
not graduated college because the breadth requirement is higher
not be given the opportunity to do philosophy at all

four year (generalist) degree vs three year (specialist) degree
early specialization is required where people don't have the luxury
of being financially supported by their parents for longer
21 is an adult in the US, 18 is an adult in Australasia
parents are NOT expected to put their children through university
'adults' make the decision to go (a financial investment of the form of student loans)
traded off against their future careers
i'm not expected to motivate my students in australasia
if they aren't motivated they should rethink their decision to attend
i'm expected to motivate my students in the US
that is what their parents are paying for

first year university here is more like last year high school
the quality of the work is incommensurable...
the number of other classes the students are required to do
the extra-curricular activities that are strongly encouraged
incommensurable systems

i came partly because i thought there was something lost in a 3 year PhD compared to a 5 year
seems obvious to me that 2 more years can't hurt can't do anything but help
but i'm not sure that is the case...
2 more years of hoops.
it isn't the case that you take the classes that interest you
it is the case that you take classes that fulfill the requirements

i find myself losing my passion and interest for philosophy here
i find myself being confronted with parts of philosophy
that i simply don't give a sh*t about
i find myself not able to take the classes that interest me
because of this and that requirement
this and that timetable clash
and i have more freedom than the students here
i only have the timetable to deal with

we have three years...
but in those three years...
what we get in those three years...
is so much more than the students get here when they are writing their dissertation
is the more we get equivalent to the two years coursework?
incommensurable systems

i'm appreciative that i got to come here and broaden my experience
to come to appreciate and respect difference a bit more

(has challenged some of my stereotypes and assumptions
spending more time with my father i came to see just how many he has
and how while i disagree with many of his
in many respects i am / was just as opinionated
that that is where i got some of that from
that there are things about him that i don't want to be like
i don't want to die of lung cancer
i don't want to be racist (i've always drawn the line on that)
i don't want to be nationalist)

my therapist is a better role model for me...

i'm appreciative that i get to go back and have 11 months of writing up in that kind of environment.

i'm appreciative that i have the opportunity to go back (as a mature student)
that they won't hold my lack of science background against me

i'm appreciative i got to take cognitive neuroscience coursework here
what (for some) was a hoop
was something that i was given the opportunity to discover a passion for

what is philosophy?
what is neuroscience?

what is it that i'm passionate about?

(i want freedom in philosophy and hoops for science)

what is best for me...


tall poppy syndrome

Posted by alexandra_k on April 28, 2009, at 12:36:37

In reply to what happened?, posted by alexandra_k on April 28, 2009, at 11:20:55

I never heard of this before but someone here mentioned it.

One perspective (the most prevalent in the literature) is that people who excel are cut down. That there is some kind of resentment when people succeed. The thought is that Australasian society has 'tall poppy syndrome'.

Another perspective (that I really haven't seen much of in the literature) is that people who think their success is due to intrinsic features of them that makes them better than or worth more than others are cut down.

E.g., Edmond Hillary is celebrated as a NZ icon of accomplishment in part precisely because of his attitude towards his success.

I guess there are two takes on the redistribution of wealth, too (the notion that there should be limits on the wealth that people are allowed to accumulate in order to compensate for the lack of wealth that others are allowed to endure).

If one thinks that people all basically have the same intrinsic freedom to accumulate wealth or fail to accumulate it as they see fit then I guess it makes sense to say 'to each their own'. If one thinks that people all basically have the same intrinsic worth and value as people then I guess it makes sense to place limits on the wealth that some are able to accumulate in order to improve others quality of life. A little of both goes on in both systems (sure we want to reward people who sacrifice more than others e.g., people who work much longer working days and give up leisure to help others but then sure we want to help those who aren't able to get their basic needs met).


Re: what happened?

Posted by alexandra_k on April 28, 2009, at 13:03:06

In reply to Re: what happened?, posted by alexandra_k on April 28, 2009, at 11:57:48

I wouldn't get in to med school here (standardized tests)
But I wonder if actually... Studying for the STEP exam (not a requirement for me) might be FUN :-0
Who the hell knows...


Re: what happened? alexandra_k

Posted by Phillipa on May 8, 2009, at 23:59:26

In reply to Re: what happened?, posted by alexandra_k on April 28, 2009, at 13:03:06

Alex thanks you've seriously educated me taught me the differences in countries. Now take that drive to the Mountains, and to the Lake. I think you would enjoy this. Love Phillipa

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