Sunday, September 16, 2012

academics, in theory...

Bless me blog, for I haven’t sinned. It's been many weeks since my last confession. 

It occurred to me this week that there are nuns out there living more exciting lives than me at the moment. Possibly even bottles of bleach.  That’s what studying will do to you.

I’ve been reluctant to tell anyone that I’ve started studying. There are reasons for keeping this studying business a secret. Only the inner-most members of my posse are privy to this and only because I had to fess up as to why I could no longer be found at coffee bars and, well, bars in general.

The first reason for il segreto is that I’m petrified of failing (note to self: stop using Italian terms to sugar things up). I know, right - it’s hardly a novel fear. I figure that if I don’t tell anyone I’m studying, then if I fail I can just pretend that the whole thing never happened. I have a feeling that’s the reason why some people elope.

On the other hand, if I do tell everyone I’m studying and then fail, I’ll actually have to announce that I’ve failed (as if the empty whiskey bottles out back won’t be enough of a clue). This ‘failure-anxiety’ is only made worse when people say things like this to me:

‘Oh, you’re gonna cream it’, or ‘mature students find studying such a breeze’.

Somehow I’ve given off the impression that I’m the type of person who can ‘cream’ exams. I have no idea how I have accomplished this considering I have never ‘creamed’ anything in my life.

Studying is funny. Academia is funny.  The academics talk funny and they want you to study funny stuff. Like Eduardo Kac for instance.  He’s an artist who collaborated with scientists to create a rabbit that has been infused with the lumo stuff that comes in jellyfish. He said it was to make ‘us’ (‘us’ what? Peasants? Non-scientiest types? Philistines of art?) aware of the responsibility that comes along with cocking around with genetically modified things. I just think he wanted a lumo bunny. Who doesn’t?

Studying is wordy in my very worst wordy kind of way. It’s verbose and uses all manner of highfalutin language. Thank fark I’m not studying law. Law-talk is the uber-ness of word wanking. All this word wanking  goes against the natural order of language, which, I’m pretty sure, was invented to make communication easier. Ehem. I’ll say that again. To make communication easier. And oh the irony, the course I’m doing is in Communication Science (screams with laughter).

In ‘real life’, if you want to hold someone’s attention, you’d better communicate quickly and succinctly and you’d better be pretty bloody engaging.  Not so with studying. It would seem that you don’t have to be engaging at all.

Academics have complicated ways of explaining uncomplicated things and use things like theories, perspectives, approaches and models to explain things that are sometimes just common sense.  Even worse, they slow down your common sense so much that you become confused by your own common sense. Bastards. I liken it to when someone asks you to slow down a dance move and then you no longer know how to do it  and it no longer looks like a dance move anymore.

Also, in the land of academia you’re not allowed to use slang or colloquialisms. This is a tragedy. I think it is enough of a tragedy that we’re not able to use hand movements to explain something.  (The exception to this, of course, is using the “inverted comma” hand movement, which should be globally forbidden.)

Still, word-waking aside, possibly the worst thing is that they insist on something called “source referencing”.  Apparently, it’s not good enough to say ‘oh, I heard it somewhere’. Or, you know, I just know it because I know it. Pa-farking-nickerty I tell you.  I suck at referencing and it is annoying and boring and then boring some more.

Seth Rogan tweeted last week that “People buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, to impress people they don’t like”.  I hope that isn’t what’s happening here with my studying thingy. Bummer, man.*

*Bummer: See how fun it is to write bummer and what it pity it is that you’re not allowed to use it in papers and stuff [insert that type of Italian hand movement where you scratch under your chin].

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