1.12.2009

Evolution of Higher Education


Don't ask why I'm going, again, back to freakin' community college. Okay, ask. Maybe I can figure out an answer on the fly.

I enrolled before I got copies of all my transcripts. I enjoy economics and I can't get a job. I took graduate coursework in Geography and writing so I figured I should minimize regret and get that Master's degree. My life would be just peachy if I did what I should have done long ago, right? That's one of my many excuses. I have extras if you need any.

So I get my transcripts and there are so many more classes than I ever remember taking. They're all upper division and all A's. I don't remember taking half these classes. I have to look up the courses to remember the most vague idea of what I might have learned. Did I really take a whole year of volleyball? Children's literature? Film editing?

I had way more credits than I needed to graduate when I got my B.A. but most of them were in the same subjects. They didn't count toward my major and they didn't count as electives since I took ten social science electives and only needed two, for example. There's a history here.

Now I have a zillion writing class credits, all upper division, and lots of film class credits that I hope I had a fun time doing the homework in because they count for crap. Why didn't I take more of something useful? No wonder I have no skills.

I do have knowledge of all the subject matter for my four one-hundred level economics and geography classes, except that knowledge is from a decade ago. Last time I was in geography, the population growth rate in Kenya was approaching 4%. Now it's at about 2.7%. They've moved on so much their in another section of the demographic transition model. Just like that!

At least I'm not trying to impress teachers with which I'm not really impressed. I don't have to talk in class to show I know things. It's so much easier to enjoy learning fun things without dealing with the self-imposed stress of trying to exceed my own expectations of myself.

Sitting around kids younger than my own kids is so much fun. They still live with their parents. They have to talk about their big adventures, as if they are adventures at all. They are so worried and stressed out and afraid. They rush out of class, worried about the next class. They're afraid if they don't get a good grade on this test their life will be destroyed. They want the teachers to like them.

I like it so far because I'm out of the house rather than being unemployed for the hundredth time. When you stay home all day, googling jobs in Hawaii and linking in to people you used to work with but never really liked, you feel sort of gray and fuzzy by about 2 or 3 pm. You don't take a shower and you don't have an excuse to get a cup of coffee unless one of your ex colleagues calls you up.

I'm out, dressed and smelling human, by 8:30 every day. Just like work. I'm listening to people talk, just like I'm in meetings all day. I'm talking about ideas, I'm listening to things I've never heard, and best of all, I can get coffee anytime I want.

Can I get a degree in that?