Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nerd Alert, Part CXXVI

So I'm finished with school.  Degree completed.  Life as a student over.  I mean, seriously.  I'm graduating from something like the 23rd grade.  I should be totally over it.

Except...  I love being a student.  I love sitting in class having done the necessary reading but NOT having done all the hard work of preparing to lead discussion about it.  I like clean notebooks waiting to be filled with color-coded notes.  I like discovering the perfect pen at the campus bookstore and buying a semester's worth of them. 

And I shouldn't say I like just being a student.  I like being a good student.  Book learnin' comes easy to me, so I haven't had to struggle with all of the things that make traditional learning methods so difficult and foreign to some people.  School reinforces what I am already good at.  Absorbing and regurgitating information in written and verbal communication.  Also, thinking about logic problems and analyzing things.  Also, sitting on my ass and drinking hot beverages (I know, I know, not too hot).

I've gotten good at this because I've had more than twenty years of practice.  But it occurs to me that there is still much I know nothing about.  Sure, I know a shitload of shit about Victorian novels.  Things have become so familiar to me that I honestly forget what falls into the realm of "common knowledge" and what falls under "random shit only someone who has read a bunch of boring shit would know."  Did you know George Eliot was (1) a woman (2) living with a man she wasn't married to (3) who was still married to someone else and claiming the children that his first wife was having with another man?  Did you know that her husband-in-all-but-name was a scientist, philosopher, and literary critic named George Henry Lewes, and he published an article claiming that Dickens knew nothing about science and was feeding lies to the reading public when Dickens wrote about spontaneous combustion in Bleak House?  Did you know that Lewes (pronounced Lewis) and Dickens then had a public debate, publishing letters back and forth in a weekly periodical called the Leader?

It's all true.  Seriously.  I can tell you all about it. 

So maybe I've satisfied my desire to take classes on Dickens and Eliot.  I've pretty much been there and done that.  But lately, I keep thinking about things I don't know.  Not things I could figure out if I were really in a pinch, but things I would be completely befuddled even trying to begin.  I did some algebra worksheets at the learning center where I work and felt this oddly satisfying feeling of using a part of my brain that had been hibernating for a while.  It was amazing that I could remember not only how to do those problems, but that I was in Coach Blue's Algebra II class, sitting behind Sally Villafane, when I first learned how to do it. 

It's not like I have a grand plan to Master The Universe (although what a degree program that would be).  It's just that it took me a while to do that worksheet, I got a couple of answers wrong on the first try, and I realize that my knowledge is not very well-rounded.  I know more than anyone needs to know about a very specific, rather obscure, though totally fascinating subject.  I don't know much about anything else, really.

So now I want to learn something else.

And so it begins.  I sent an e-mail today to find out how I can audit a course in web design and html.  Because I don't know shit about that.  The extent of my computer programming skills began and ended with Logo Writer in grade school.  But I like figuring things out.  And I like being a student.  So here we go.  After this, maybe an introduction to Adobe Photoshop.  One degree down.  One bazillion classes left to audit...

I'm a total freak, I do realize.

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