07 October, 2011

higher education

The sole objective of higher education is to make you feel stupid: completely, unforgivably, atrociously stupid. 

They aren't trying to teach all the things you don't know they just want to let you know that there are millions of things you don't know and that you never will. Do you understand the historical significance of the evolution of Prussia into a fiscal-military state? You don't? Well, you probably won't ever. But we will test you on it. You'll enter the test with shaking hands, stomach turning because you have literally made yourself sick trying to memorize factsdatespeoplewars, and then you'll stare blankly at the question wasting the first five minutes of your 65 minute time slot attempting to make an opening argument that didn't come straight from the mouth of a 10-year old. You'll leave feeling like someone kicked you in the head and then you'll return to the classroom the next day and say, "Please, I want some more." 

It's a vicious circle and you never come out feeling ahead. 

But it seems like you are the only one who feels this lost. Everyone else sits quietly in class, nodding their heads in agreement with whatever insane historical fact the professor just quipped as if they say, "Oh yes, we already knew that. Tell us something we don't know." And you, furiously scribbling notes, imbibing every single detail, cataloguing it, hoping it will latch on to some part of your brain, hopefully the part that recalls television quotes so effortlessly. But it won't, and you know it, because the history of the Holy Roman Empire isn't funny. At least not in the ha-ha sort of way and who memorizes non-funny quotes? No one. Certainly not you. 

And then, just when you think you are catching what the professor is throwing out some cavalier student in the back throws out some pseudo-intellectual question and you wonder, is that a smart question or an idiotic one? Am I missing something? Is he really smart and I'm just not on his level? 
Crap, the professor moved on. 

You read and reread the assigned material because you didn't understand the German historian the first or second time through and realize that just because it was translated into English does not mean that it is in a language that you understand. 
It is never enough. You will never know it all and yet that seems to be what they want from you. 

You leave dejected, feeling like a failure but you keep coming back. You might be a masochist.
Or maybe that's just me. 


  1. Hang in there. Sometimes when you sit back and think about it, it all makes sense. Sometimes the test is just whether you can keep going. Keep going! We are praying for you! Love you blog!

  2. Thanks Bev! It is such a great thing to know that people are praying for us and care. It is so appreciated :)