Saturday, March 10, 2012

That time.

Today in my teenage angst, it's that time. Every time I start a story with ''one time", my friend Janelle follows it up with "at band camp." Now I've never seen that movie, and she herself saw it for the first time this year at a New Year's eve celebration. She said she could've done without. That is not the point. The point is that it's 'that time' of the semester.

There are rarely points, as a student, when I question why I'm doing this. But as I come to the end of my time as a distance student, I question why I chose to do it this way.

The earliest philosophers noted the strength of community in learning. One of the greatest things we can take away from the philosophies of Descartes and Dostoevsky is that it shouldn't be done in solitude. We were not created to learn alone. We were not created to be presented with material, learn it, think about it, recall it for proof of learning and then apply it, by the power of our own devices. This is not to say we can't; it is to say we shouldn't. I really admire those who do whole degrees by distance, and there are many. But I can't help but wonder how much they might've benefited from being surrounded by fellow learners.

When I was a student in St. John's I took Introduction to Microeconomics as an elective. I'm certain I'm the only one in history to take that class as an elective. I really loved it and it was really hard. I really loved it because it provided me with an economic context that I never could've garnered if not for the class. It was really hard because it's math oriented and all the testing is multiple choice. I worked hard and had a good mark going into the final. But that was a bomb for a couple of reasons and I ended up just along the average. Beyond all of that, it was there that I met Barbie. We met because she couldn't stop coughing one day and I don't have an qualms about germs so I gave her some of my water. From that class on, we sat together. I got to know a little about her and survived that class in part because of her. We didn't hang out aside from class or even study together for our exams. But she was there. We were there together, learning, suffering and sacrificing. She, in order to get into the business program and me, because I'm stupid.

This is the point of learning together. There's no point in learning if you're not spreading that knowledge somewhere. Sometimes there's not context to spread that learning, such as the significance of Gatsby's illusory relationship with Daisy in comparison to his legitimate friendship with Nick; and that's okay. Most times though, there's plenty of opportunity to spread and share the wealth of knowledge. Marjorie Reeves said that education is sacrifice. What better way to sacrifice, than together?

Also, a note on the picture. I feel like I know that guy. Like actually. But he goes to the University of Miami (thank you google) so I doubt it.

No comments: