On going back to school
I don’t have as much time as I’d like to write today, so rather than delve for topics I might feel like writing today, I think it’s best to go with what’s currently on my mind: school.
I have spent the vast majority of my life in school. In many ways, it’s a lot more familiar to me than working a full time job. I have, in 32 years, spent only 9 not in school. For three of those years, I was a toddler, for one working and taking a break between finishing my undergraduate degree and starting my Masters, and I have been working in my chosen field, or trying to, for the past five years.
It is really not so much like riding a bike.
I recently decided to start taking a few courses that are part of a certificate program in Information and Records Management. I’m not sure I’ll ever finish the certificate program (I have 5 years to complete it), but since I’m not currently working, and doubly since I’ve been having so much trouble finding work, I thought it might be a good idea to start furthering my education. Information Management is really just a different aspect of what I’ve already been trained to do as an Archivist, and the field is currently growing in certain parts of Canada in a way that the archival field is not.
I’m not sure if I’m out of practice, but school is a lot more difficult than I remember. I suppose it could be that the course I’m taking is in a vastly different format than what I’m used to. I majored in History as an undergraduate, and my Masters degree is in Archival Studies. These two disciplines don’t generally involve a lot of lecture note memorization or multiple choice tests, I have, of course, written exams in these disciplines before, but they were primarily essay-based and mostly focused upon ensuring that you had a good understanding of general concepts rather than making sure you’d memorized a textbook word-for-word. Especially later on in my post-secondary educational adventures, my assignments were mostly comprised of lengthy presentations and essays with requirements for substantial bibliographies. Lots of reading and formulating arguments, but not a lot of memorization.
My current course is a huge change of format and pace. I was expecting things to be somewhat different. The program is with a polytechnic in a different province, so it is distance education and definitely focused upon the practical over the theoretical. The self-tests so far have mostly required me to memorize the lecture notes pretty well word-for-word, which makes me wonder why I’m even bothering to read the other articles and presentations. And the assignments are pretty tedious busy-work that involve a lot of needless repetition.
i’m learning a lot from the course so far, and it’s been an excellent review of the basic introductory concepts I learned during my Masters, and I think it’s worth doing in the long run, particularly if it makes me more marketable, but it’s starting to make me wonder how I juggled two part time jobs, some kind of social life, relationships, family, school, and more for all those years. Sometimes I can be a bit hard on various iterations of my past self and curse that girl a bit for making this mistake or that bad choice, but really, this experience now has taught me that I really didn’t do such a bad job, given everything I had to juggle.