Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Back to School

Last Thursday was my first day back in school.  I was super excited and nervous at the same time because I didn't know what to expect.

My experience with post graduate education is an arduous and trying journey.  I went to law school part time for four years, working eight hours during the day and then driving an hour to Baltimore for school until well after 9pm and then drove another hour back home.  I took multiple classes, usually at least three or four in one semester.  And if anyone knows anything about the Socratic method, you have to stay on top of your reading or face the embarrassment of being called on and not knowing anything.  And trust me, that is a terrible feeling.

The thing is, law school was ran by and filled by people who are very much like me: type A, organized, extroverts who are highly competitive.  I expected to know how my grades would be calculated, what assignments or cases were to be done by what date, and that, generally, there would be no surprises.  But, that was law school.

Getting a masters is apparently very different.  Getting a masters in a creative field is even more different.

My professor handed out a syllabus and promptly said that it was a basic idea...that it was probably going to change.  Huh?  I searched the document for how my grade would be calculated and only saw what grades were possible.  Wha...?  Apparently our assignments consist of writing reports on what we think about something we have read and not based on research or some other factual information.  Hmm...

I sat there wondering if my brain was going to explode.  I am not used to loosy goosy learning.  At least, not anymore.  Its been a little while since undergrad.  I was an English major, so I guess I should know a little about how creative people learn and what it means to teach the craft of writing.  But...the uncertainty is a bit scary.

But, then my professor said something that totally made me chill out.  He said that his goal is to teach us how to read like writers...to take out the methods in our brain that lead to studying text in the same way an English student would (in the same way a law student would)...because at the end of this, we will be writing what it is those people study.

 So, I relaxed.  We shall see how long I can go with the flow.

But for right now...