There are some things you learn from school, some from life, and some by practice. One of the things I have learned from going through my education is: there are things in this world more important than grades. Things like emotional well-being, and balance between coursework and life. (Is it better to enjoy the limited time you have left with your family, or is it better to do homework on a topic you now know you are not prepared to get into?) Maybe I’m just aging out of the college demographic? In any case…even my artistic pursuits feel more important than this (and I have a tendency to denigrate my own tendency towards art and design…not to my benefit).
“This,” being a course that I tried in order to be introduced to basic knowledge about computers, which instead turned out to be a survey course over the whole of Computer Science, geared towards prospective Computer Science majors. At least, that’s the course my Professor intended to teach. I doubt anyone else in the class had that knowledge prior to the start of this session.
One thing I did get out of this, that I didn’t plan to? I now know not to go into Computer Science. I had an inkling that it would be all about logic and math, and at this point — well, my, “inkling,” was well-founded, I’ve discovered. I had been insisting that there was an underlying current of math and logic to the function of computers, and was constantly naysayed by the people I was talking to. “You don’t need math,” they said.
So I’m looking at going into one or more fields which intensively use computers, but seriously…there’s a difference between using a computer and building one, and I have no interest in the latter. This, in turn, affects my motivation in this class. The best thing I can do right now is consider this class a time-delimited game and just try to…slash my way through it. It’s what I do when I face a serious challenge that I don’t want to engage. But even doing well at serious challenges I don’t want to engage: that doesn’t mean that I’ll want to engage with them at all again at any time or anywhere else in my life.
Yeah, it’s good to know that a 64-bit OS is massively more powerful than a 32-bit OS. But…how often am I going to use that information? When I buy a computer? It’s good to know, but did I need to take this class to know that?
This is similar to my dilemma with Customer Service. I can gain skills that apply to it. That doesn’t mean I’ll ever want to work Customer Service, or that I’ll ever be well-placed in a job in which the primary task is Customer Service. It’s good to know that, because then I will know where my priorities lie. What is not good is to try to force myself to like Customer Service, because I have to; because I have no better options.
I do know people who want to get out of the jobs they’re in; who feel they have no skills other than what they do now, and feel trapped as a consequence. I also know people who don’t care about their jobs and are just there to collect a steady paycheck…who in turn may be trapped by a lack of education, as versus overeducation on one specific thing they’ve found they don’t want to do. (But hey, at least they’ve found what they love.)
I don’t want to be stuck in a field I dislike just because I know the intricacies of it; the alternative, however…
What is the alternative? (How do you know if you like or dislike a job before you’ve tried it?)
My natural inclinations lie among Writing, Art, and Design, though that also gets complicated where it runs into interacting with other people who want me to make things I’m not inclined to make. It also gets complicated when I’m looking at…how to survive in a capitalist society, let’s say. The current economic system which I (and everyone else I know) live under, complicates things (and yes, I do think we are purposely kept ignorant of alternate economic models in school, though I think the reasoning for that lies at the confluence of money, power, and politics).
You may be able to see why I opted for Librarianship, here; but the reality of working as a Civil Servant and the dream of, “helping my community,” are two very different things. Bureaucracy is not free of the influences of money, power, and politics, even when — or perhaps, especially when — an institution is publicly funded.
So yes, I do need to find a way to survive by doing what I love. And maybe…I’ll have to work piecework wages for a part of it. Maybe I’ll have to go into business to do it, even though it pains me to charge what I need to charge, to survive: having this insight into capitalism from behind the scenes. Knowing that this country incentivizes greed the way it does; and only getting a hint now of how much money it takes to maintain the quality of life I’ve gotten used to with Boomer parents. Being an artist is a lot of work; maybe I should say that I have an inkling that it is constant work; but it is, at least, an income stream. And if that constant work is work I want to be doing, maybe that makes it better.
So this is what I’m learning from school. I know my Professor doesn’t want to teach to a test, but in this State, these kids have grown up learning to pass tests — not learning to function in the real world as independent, decision-making adults. Right now I’m making the decision to write about how I’m feeling, as versus putting my nose to the grindstone over something that I’ve already decided isn’t that important.
Of course, I’m taking the class Pass/No Pass, and I already have completed the majority of my education, having a Graduate degree…in something I’m having to repurpose (unless I want to relocate to do this job which is only the closest thing to tolerable, out of my education). I should likely do some more reading, and/or networking…about the soft skills I gained in the degree program which I can bend to a career besides entrepreneurship.
And then there’s my Undergrad degree, yeah? Creative Writing. I have been writing over most of my adult life. Not necessarily Fiction, as was my focus, but. The biggest barrier I have to professionally Writing, is not reading as much as I should. That is a low barrier, but I also know…I’m a couple of decades behind my contemporaries. Also: when I write, there are some things that come out of me that may be best left unexpressed. Or, alternately, perhaps it would do the world (though possibly not me) some good if I did express them…