Call it torture, call it university.
No, arts and crafts is all I need --
I'll take calligraphy and then I'll make a fake degree.
College Kids; Relient K
Bizarro thought of the day: I'm almost at the end of my second year of uni. Four more weeks and then Summer holidays. How did that even happen?
On the one hand, it feels like I only started last week (seriously, where did two years go?). But on the other hand -- the hand that apparently realises I no longer hover over the college style guide triple-checking the formatting of every essay, and which also notices I've stopped being a square and handing in those essays a week early -- it definitely feels like two years. Over halfway!
My uni experience has been kind of different to most peoples' since: a) I'm about twelve years older than your average first year student; and b) my college is in South Australia and I am (mostly) in Queensland. The distance thing has provided its own set of challenges and blessings. There are times when I've wished I could simply ask my lecturer a quick clarifying question rather than having to launch a series of emails which may or may not be answered in time, depending on how techno-savvy the teacher is. I also think it would be both cool and helpful to be able to engage in class discussions and learn from the other students.
However, having done homeschooling for highschool and worked a bit of freelance (both of which taught me that I can quite happily work on my own), it's been ideal for me to be studying distance. It fits well with my learning style, and motivation hasn't been a problem. I definitely do not miss having to do aural presentations (public speaking, even of such a minor kind, is a shadowy lurking terror for me), and I love that I can pause and rewind lectures infinitely, instead of having to rely entirely on hastily-scrawled notes taken in class. Plus, while I'm on the same timeframe as 'regular' uni students (something people don't always get), there is a sense of freedom in not having to rock up to class at a specific time each day. And it's a lot of fun taking a bunch of books and a blanket outside to sit and study under the sun.
I don't like that studying tends to make me measure out my days in terms of semesters and holidays and due dates (I would much rather measure out my life in coffee spoons; thank you, T. S. Eliot) and boy it feels antisocial and self-centred to lock myself away and study when my family is around. But the excellent things abound. I love that, while I'm majoring in creative writing, the fact that I'm studying at a Christian college means there are compulsory theology units, and I basically get to study a whole world of things I would never have picked out for myself. Who knew that philosophy would be so appealing? I love that it's a non-denominational school, and the lecturers range from a wealth of church backgrounds including Baptist, Pentecostal, Salvation Army, Catholic, and Reformed traditions. I love that one cannot be a pampered, temperamental little wordsmith while studying, but that -- no arguments -- one has to write to deadlines and to guidelines. I have to write stuff I might not want to write, and to do it creatively. There is no time to stroke the muse. One simply has to make the words come out. It's excellent preparation for the writer's life or a freelance career.
I love, too, that being forced to study something (it sounds harsh when it's put like that but I really mean it in quite another way) gives me the opportunity to learn to like something I'd never otherwise care about. My new awareness is that I can love just about anything if I'm made to study it (Mum, remember setting me that term of insects in year 7 or 8? I groaned, but then I became a fanatic. Yes, I'm a nerd). Immersion seems to work that way for me. Someone once told me that the best way to learn to hate literature is to study it at university. So far I'm finding that the opposite is true, and that makes me happy. Oh, and there's so much reading. Yeah.
Okay, I was going to talk about subjects now and subjects future (picking subjects each semester definitely remains my favourite thing) but that'll have to wait because this post got epically long. You can blame it on Annie Laurie. She asked about school.
* * * * *
Katie -- and the Spring days keep getting better and better! Mm, I'm loving this weather.
Samantha -- :D to all of your comments.
Caitlin -- YES! I need to head south to catch up with my family and all the friends in that area -- including you!
Asea -- Paper nerds UNITE!
Staish -- Filing nerds UNITE!
Mothercare -- I love you, too :)
Rebecca Simon -- Hugs right back at you! And yes, I totally recommend Josh Harris' book.
Simplythis -- Ooh, I wish I were more geeky and could help you with this dilemma but I'm normally all like yay Firefox you rule the worrrrrld but... if it eats pictures, I'm not so sure.
Mitanika -- I want to know so much more about this possible going-back-to-school!