Well, I feel dumb.
But that’s probably what it’s like to be an adult learner, right? Constantly being challenged on the way you have learned to think!
A little backstory: I’ve decided to go back to school. I have a few college courses under my belt, but for the last 4-5 years, I’ve been working and more recently, binge-watching reality TV. With good reason! Well, I can’t exactly justify the TV thing, but I worked out of high school because, ta-da! I wanted to be married, and also, I wanted my husband to get the education he really deserved. Now, I get to stay home with my baby, which is wonderful, but I feel like I should do maybe a little more work with my brains.
So back to why I feel dumb. For lack of ability to actually GO to a college (there are lots of reasons for this), I realized that I probably need to brush up in some way in something. Enter: MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses. Turns out, there are tons of absolutely free college courses out there. You don’t get a degree or credits for completing them, but if you’re interest is just in learning, you can pretty much learn anything. Here is a site that links to a lot of MOOCs.
Anyway, I joined a course called “Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World.” It’s a literature class, and it has challenged me! The professor is, shall we say, verbose, and incredibly detailed. The first assignment was to read a number of fairytales by the Grimm Brothers, after which the participating students would write an essay meant to enrich the reading experience of the other students. Also included are videos and trivia made by the professor, and discussion forums. My, my! Some of the hidden meanings and symbolism in the stories were far beyond my reach!
So we’ve now just finished our second essay on Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Kid stuff, right? Oh no. I was almost proud of my thesis. I felt I had a solid argument, good examples, etc. I turned it in, thinking I’d probably manage a satisfactory grade. And then I saw some videos. Looked at the discussion forum. And, finally, a kick to the gut (or let’s say knock to the head, since there’s a baby in my belly), the trivia.
Oi! Turns out, the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland and the Red Queen in Looking Glass land are not the same character. It didn’t change my theory, but I did refer to them as the same character in one of my examples. So much for slow, attentive reading. And I blame Disney! The latest movie (with Johnny Depp) used the imagery of hearts and the frequent calls of “Off with his head!” for the Red Queen’s character, which is so very false! Sure, both of them are rude and nonsensical enough to be the same character, but, apparently, they are quite separate. And, I hate to say it, I did notice a difference, but I was so convinced that I knew something about Alice in Wonderland before reading it! Alas, I did not.
I am so disappointed in myself. But, I suppose that’s the life of an adult learner. We want to learn more but do not realize that we might have to abandon what we’ve already learned. That’s quite a simple thing for children to do, but not so with adults.
In any case, I do feel I’ve learned a great deal already, and I hope to continue to be surprised by what I notice and learn. I’ll probably be more of a fighter this time around, but I’ll be better for it, I’m sure.
Also, I am working on getting enrolled in actual school, though it will have to be online. I am not leaving my baby for a classroom! But it would be nice to actually be a student and get credits and have a degree by the end of it. Wish me luck and send me prayers, because real school costs real money!
Until next time!