100 to 0 in the blink of an eye

I don’t know why this keeps happening. I am in the midst of the same moral dilemma. I realized that I’ve spent so much of the last several years eliminating the need for competition and finding ways to be inclusive and accepting. As much as I like to think of myself as an innately compassionate person, elevated by empathy, when it comes to academic type stuff I can’t seem to shake my distaste for mediocrity.

The problem is, I don’t actually feel this way except when I’m the heat of it. This is why I hate group projects and why I adore writing essays. I prefer settings in which I am a facilitator, not a contributor because (remember this is my outlet for all the vain things going on in my head) I am so far ahead of the curve. It’s a curse and a blessing.

I can’t tell if this is because my standards are just so high or if everyone else’s are so low. This discrepancy drives me insane. In that class I was looking for forward to, the one that was supposed to stimulate and challenge me, I could quite literally not stop talking. I had to physically sit on my hands to keep myself from contributing to the discussion. I would like to clarify, this is because the answers were literally in the text. If you did your reading, and attempted to comprehend the material (through deep processing methods) there is NO CHANCE you’d miss it!!! He was asking questions that in my honest opinion, were very straight-forward —again— BECAUSE THEY WERE TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM THE TEXT. There was no interpretation beyond googling definitions and a basic understanding of US history. I am not a history buff by any means, but I’ve taken the class and I learned the material and I can give you a overview (without specific dates or names) of conceptually, what occurred.

I mean this is basic stuff! 1900 – today. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just ranting because I need to get this off my chest. But I also need to figure out a way to reconcile my competitive nature. I am experiencing cognitive dissonance. I believe two directly conflicting things to be each in turn, true. I believe it is morally right for me to allow others to talk and to listen instead, to allow others to come to realizations on their own time. I believe in inclusivity and compassion. AND YET. I also believe in excellence. I believe that hard work and dedication should be rewarded. I believe that if I am the best, I should not be embarrassed for being the best and that it is my job to establish my grasp of the material to the professor and to speak up if I know the answer to something.

It’s going to be a long semester.

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The concept of time as I understand it

I just got off the phone with my mom and she said two things that when held together, represent how I feel about time.

It’s her 50th birthday today. She just told me that she has officially outlived both of her parents.

I will be 25 in about a month. That means she has been in prison for more than half my life.

When I think about time in a conceptual format, wrestling with these two things befuddles me. If time is a string, it begins to become more elastic, depending on my perspective. To me, it does not seem that much time has elapsed but really, it has. More than half my life has been spent with her behind bars.

The sum of her life, eclipses the lives of both her parents.

Time is weird.

Let go my ego

I read this article recently that really stuck with me over the course of the last few days. It said something along the lines of “I really thought we’d had a connection because we talked everyday but then I began to realize that we didn’t because we never got into the deeper subjects that mattered”. I’ve looked at a lot of my relationships lately with that thought in mind lately.

I just got off the phone with my mom and I’ve gotta say, we don’t have that problem. I sometimes feel like I talk too much about my own stuff and because she’s my mom, she’s always willing to listen. I think I will constantly be reminding myself to listen more, talk less. But at the same time, we talk about everything. From trivial to tumultuous, we go there. I appreciate that about our friendship now.

I don’t know what it is about my college but for some reason, I’ve noticed more and more lately that a lot of people don’t engage in anything. Like the taste of blase is so tempting, they’re unwilling to try something new. My mom just said “I never noticed until I got here, how many people in life really just like to skate by, waiting for other people to do their work for them”. She went on to say that in her groups where this is happening, she finds out the real life lesson is usually something entirely unrelated to the group material. Once, it was about a bully in the room and learning how to (metaphorically) disarm her. I find that to be the case for myself more often than not.

I’m taking an art education class this semester and the first two weeks for me were SO frustrating. I feel like I’m sitting in a room of kindergarteners. I mean, I have had years of study in art (before this college, it was at my community college). In total, I’ve studied art — and I mean really studied art — for almost 6 years. I found out during a small group exercise last week that one of the girls in my group had only taken one other art class before and that the words coming out of my mouth sounded like an entirely different language. The thing is, I needed to hear that. I think my lesson this semester is in temperance and humility. Fine, I’ll take it. I have already decided I will make office hours with my teacher to explain to her why I’ll be a lot quieter in the weeks ahead. I hope she’ll agree with me when I level with her. I don’t want to intimidate or come across as a know it all. But I can see it in her eyes when she looks pointedly at me, she’s desperate for engagement and she doesn’t care 9 times out of 10 when I’m monopolizing the discussion. 

My problem is that I fear I will never be challenged intellectually at my current school. I’ve been here a year and so far, I’ve had two classes that I found remotely interesting. It’s really unfortunate and it is pretty soul crushing for something who finds knowledge to be akin to a fountain of ecstasy. When I was at community college, my brain was constantly exploding with new concepts and essays and wow, I never realized I was so spoiled. I fear I will never feel that way again for as long as I’m here.

My vent is this: HOW DID YOU GET SO FAR IN LIFE WITHOUT A BASIC KNOWLEDGE OF ECONOMICS, POLITICS, CULTURE, ETC?! Were we not required to take the same general education classes?! HOW have you NOT absorbed ANYTHING!? I just don’t understand how it’s even possible. My mind does not compute. No wonder facebook has destroyed our minds. These “peers” of mine just regurgitate and all I want to do is fall asleep listening to it. WAKE UP PEOPLE USE YOUR DAMN BRAIN.

Complacency and apathy are my biggest enemies. Ironically, when I use the word enemy, I don’t even feel angry about it. I almost wanted to say “disinterests” or “turn offs”, like my mind couldn’t even muster up the right emotions to feel.

I just don’t understand it and in many ways, I wish I knew how to blend in more. Flowers for Algernon sits heavily in my heart. I wish I understood how to conform and stop caring like everybody else. Is it so wrong to want to actually learn something? I understand that I will forever be looking at my classes from the lens of theoretical “life lessons” to take home at the end of the semester but really… I just want to learn something academic for a change. I want to be challenged. I wish I’d gone to a different school. I want something better.