As much as I enjoyed most of it, I honestly don’t miss college. That is, I don’t ever wish I could go back and do it again. The good times, the mistakes I made, none of it. But there are certainly times when i miss being a student. I like learning new things, I like being able to discuss them with other people, and I actually really like being graded- at least in terms of receiving feedback from others and getting an idea about how I am doing at something and whether or not I’ve improved.
As unhelpful as I’ve found most advice teachers have given me about creative writing, i don’t think I have ever worked as hard or as often at it as when i was in a creative writing class. The same goes for acting, music, or any language I’ve taken. I try to brush up on things from time to time, and I try to practice, but like probably a lot of people I just can’t get myself to do it when I don’t feel like anyone is actually watching. Fear of looking stupid is a huge motivator for me, I guess.
So how do you motivate yourself when the only person who knows you look stupid is you? Well, I’ve tried taking classes online. For awhile i was doing some fairly structured ones through the library at home. I actually really liked them, but when the homework got to be more time consuming than just a few sentences and pages of reading,I stopped doing them. I haven’t checked, but I’m sure I failed due to simple inactivity. Which is ridiculous, even if the classes were free.
I also tried taking a class on reddit. It was a singing class, taught by someone with a performance degree and teaching experience. Also free, obviously, but it sounded like such a great opportunity for feedback that I had to sign up. Of course, reddit university has even less oversight than universal class, the site I had used before. I found myself working more hours than usual the first couple weeks, missed a few deadlines…and I haven’t checked the website for the class since. Once again, no one knew about my failure but me…not until now, anyway.
I thought I had made a big step this fall when I signed up for Hebrew class. I have wanted to learnth e language for awhile,and my roommate wanted to as well. It also was at a real place, with a real teacher. It cost actual money. We got a textbook. Sure, it’s cpntinuing education, but the class is at a college.
Unfortunately it was still only once a week. The seven days from one Thursday nightto another offered a hundred excuses for why I didn’t have time to finish my homework. And worst of all, nobody ever actually checked it. I’m not saying I didn’t learn anything at all that first class. I mean, i got the aleph bet down. A few vocabulary words. I started to think I could get this.
But then I started the second set of classes. This set has a new teacher, a different method. She is so knowledgeable, so outgoing. But so hard to follow. For the last two months, I’ve found the homework harder and harder to sit down and do, and the vocab and grammar from each week harder and harder to recall when class time comes. Not only that, but a missed class last term and one this term means our 6 week course has dragged out to over two months. Which of course leads to the last straw- today I went to our make up class only to learn that it was rescheduled to next week, when my roommate won’t even be in town, and neither of us were contacted. Not only that, but I specifically requested tonight off to make sure I didn’t have to work during class hours. Next week I am scheduled to close.
So now as I begin 2014 in earnest, the dust (or, well, snow) settling over the first of the year and the general holiday season, I’m hoping that I can still learn new things and be an intelligent person. I’m hoping that I can really set learning and study goals and then rise to meet them. And that I will be able to find good teachers and fellow students to help motivate me along the way, because otherwise I’m never going to do my homework.