Friday, May 18, 2012

How to fall through the cracks....

     All through April I contemplated the so-called platitude haste makes waste with serious thought and with the classes I've been attending- perfect attendance, I would add- in mind. If I were to rephrase this too often quoted fragmented sentence it would be something like this:
     "There is nothing quite so vulgar as those who execute everything in a rushed or hurried manner. Manners require patience and time sufficient to make yourself understood or do anything well. The vulgarity of haste is a special rudeness which leaves no room for reciprocation- affirmative or rebuttal- to the executor of such handling. Therefore, if the recipient is left with no recourse than to see the backside of their slapdash non-companion whisking themselves away they are free to take the trashed material directly to the trash can from whence it came. It is now where it belongs."
     When examined in this way, it appears to be a harsh way of life. More recently I've come to realize that I don't want haste to be a part of my way of life. It's not a worthy life for me considering my dedication to excellence and making my output to be one of true quality. Attempt to put this idea across to the average cashier in a check-out section of a store these days and you'll get a blank stare, a bag shoved in your face and your change spilled on the floor. Does anybody like that ? How about people who are in such a hurry to get somewhere in their car that they ignore traffic signs, lights and pedestrians to the point of danger?
     If I refuse to work or do anything in a slapdash manner then it only makes perfect sense that I could not and would not learn anything that way nor would I choose to do so. Even if I learned quickly I would pace myself according to my known abilities. If I compare my most recent educational experience to my first career choice education at Emily Griffith Opportunity School I would have every reason to expect that I could learn the material offered in the amount of time prorated for a Graphic Arts degree in two years. It certainly looked feasible to me when I signed on for the program.
     My second thoughts at this juncture, considering the outcome of this past module are in agreement on one sole premise. Despite my great potential, earnest work and perfect attendance, this last month has been an abysmal failure. One, because there was much to learn (for several reasons I will discuss further) and two, there just wasn't sufficient time in my estimation.
     In the Monday and Wednesday classes I was fully engaged with all the coursework- in class, online and homework- and most of the paperwork is in my possession and voluminous. However, a misunderstanding on two key projects has apparently derailed the entire effort, according to Mr. Harris, and a recent horrific event in my neighborhood made it impossible for me to rectify these at the end. I don't understand why my final mark rested on one or two projects when I had done so well through most of the class sessions. I know I did well on the Final Exam. The premise made no sense to me at all. 
     Tuesdays and Thursdays in my Design 103 class were stunted by the absence of the right computer for my first class which was rectified by the second class but immediately set me behind. I struggled all the way through the course because I was trying to familiarize myself with a MAC PRO laptop computer and learning brand new software along with classroom instruction which often took on the form of intervention rather than hands-on for the student (myself) and strictly verbal instruction from the professor when I needed more one-on-one. I'm not criticizing the instructor, merely mentioning that it didn't work in my case. I'm a tactile learner and worker so this shouldn't have been difficult and I did learn a lot of new material and methods in that class- it just wasn't quick enough- my fault, I suppose- or a sufficient amount of material to pass. I should have received and been familiarized well with the MAC itself prior to this class. It wouldn't have been such a struggle otherwise. I believe the instructor was well aware of this even though he may not acknowledge that fact. He assumes everyone can keep pace with him but that would be impossible since he is prodigious in his craft and skill. That is admirable but not exactly conducive to learning in my case. I learn more through observation and tactile use in most cases but this instructor should be nicknamed Roadrunner.
     In both classes I witnessed more than two people receive perfect attendance awards who I knew to have missed at least four classes, consecutively and non-consecutively. I know this because my attendance was 100% from the very first days of the module. Incidentally, I have not received a single such award, in these modules or the first, which was Psych 101 in which I received a 95% and had perfect attendance. I did not know they gave out such awards but they are obviously some kind of a joke.
     During my second module I woke up with a head cold on the second day of my Computer Fundamentals class and I was out for three consecutive classes for that course and English 101. I was told to drop English 101 and found out later that the instructor failed me in the course when she should have just sent in an incomplete. I attended the first class only. I switched over to night classes after that but for some unknown reason my name has not shown up on any roll roster from the time of the change and I had to be written in instead. Perhaps that created some confusion for the schedule coordinator but it's inexcusable, nonetheless.
     I started to think back to my initial appointment to meet with a CollegeAmerica rep and financial advisor. I was informed then that these were fast-track online courses and it's true that I agreed that it was possible for me but I have found circumstances, of any kind, make keeping up impossible. I have made those circumstances clear but I still don't know if anyone concerned really understands what happened. Who would've known I'd get sick and miss classes? I certainly didn't because I almost never get sick.
     At the end of this last module I felt very discouraged when I was shown my percentage in Design 103 and with good reason since it is certainly the most important reason why I have been attending classes in Graphic Arts. The GE courses were way beneath my abilities. Actual college English courses would've been infinitely more interesting and engaging for me than Psychology of Motivation and Interpersonal Communication. Not a bit of it was anything I didn't already know from being strong in the workforce from 1977 up to the present and my independent studies I have kept engaged in all my life. I'm basically a closet nerd. I have been a licensed professional manicurist/nail tech all that time and a store-front salon owner to boot for seven years within that time period. I attended college through the 80s in music performance specializing in flute and became a published poet in 1988 and a published in print author in 2006 with my historical book Robinson and Crawford County. Numerous articles of mine have been published on the internet by various web site owners besides writing and building my own web site on the topic of European castles. I have traveled extensively abroad and speak several languages fluently. I consider myself to be a linguist as I can recognize most languages on sight. Learning is not a difficulty for me at all.
     However, I do believe that the college I have been attending isn't right for me at this stage of my life even though I consider myself to be a super-learner. I feel it isn't a good fit because I am just that and it's highly misunderstood to say it nicely. I have a tendency to finish reading textbooks in a single session because I am compelled to do so and much repeated the material become stale quickly for me, particularly if it is poorly written. I rephrase much of it for myself and go deeper into further research. I believe I do this because I don't feel I really know material until it's as familiar and under my feet as an old song. I have more confidence in myself when I do this and have perfected it in more recent years.
     My methodology is now rooted in the independent research I've been doing for six years so I cannot see myself working (or learning) in any other manner. Going through material just to put a permanent label on something is too foreign for me and strips away the pride I have in the work I do. Graphic Arts and art in general is second nature to me and I've been out there for a long time at various mediums in my arts and crafts. I'm more familiar with studying intensely which requires time to be done right and well. Learning this way is intrinsic to my very being. I wish all other students well and hope this does not discourage anyone. I just happen to be different and I won't give up until I find the right fit for my mode of learning to acquire the knowledge I need.      
Evelyn Wallace

The Castle Lady


dellgirl said...

Wow, what a mess (sorry to put it like that)! I'm so sorry to hear all the things that went wrong and caused such anguish. Seems that a lot of these problems could have been minimized with a bit more attentiveness and care from admin.

Glad though that you're definite about how you learn and plan to search to find exactly what you need/want.

Good luck, I'm sure you'll do just what you've set out to do.

Anonymous said...

Yep. I'm very determined about getting the education I need. This is one of those cases where I've been away from specific learning institutions long enough that their methodologies are a bit confusing and I don't feel that adapting to that is what I want to do. I may have to get some insider counseling to find the right fit. It's always great to hear from you Leona. Hope you had a great weekend ! I'll keep you posted !

dellgirl said...

It's me, back again...just checking in to say hi and to see how you're doing. Thanks for stopping by my 'seldom-ly updated' page and for taking time to comment. It's always good to hear from you.

I hope you have a terrific weekend.