Sunday, October 9, 2011

A ramble about studying

When I was feeling super-stressed out about my health and obsessing over what terrible things might be wrong with me, my doctor made me go and speak to a psychologist a few times (we get sessions free through work), which turned out to be quite useful. I don't have anything other than First World Problems, but you know how sometimes you're banging on to someone and even as you hear yourself speak you realise what the solution is? That's what I tend to do when talking to someone like that.

Anyway, one of the things the psych suggested I do was look into study - I can't remember how we got on to that. I'm a pretty smart person, but I'm not highly educated. I've attempted university a couple of times and quit each time. The main reason I've never gone back and tried again is because I don't really have any ambition. There's no career path I want to follow that I need a particular qualification for, so I have no incentive to study other than the desire to learn something. Therefore, I have no interest in completing a degree - I just like studying bits and pieces here and there. I like learning for its own sake, not to get somewhere in life.

I looked into some short courses at the WEA, and then at some TAFE stuff, and there was nothing that grabbed me. So I decided to have a look at Open University, where I can just pick up and study whatever units interest me, and not have to work towards anything. When it comes to edjumacation, I have three main areas of interest:

1. Sociology
2. Literature
3. Ethics/Morality

Literature is out - Open Uni has nothing in their literature units that grabs me, and I'm never reading bloody Wuthering Heights again as long as I live.

Ethics is broad - I could study something in the Philosophy area, I suppose, and I would probably enjoy that, but I'm more interested in ethics around food and its production and manufacture, both on a local and global scale. I can't really find anything that quite fits into that, so maybe I just need to keep reading books and watching docos on that particular subject - it seeems too specific for a tertiary unit.

Sociology is my main interest and always has been, but I'm put off by the fact that it seems to be that subject that is studied by everyone whose parents made them go to college/university even though they weren't that smart, or they were smart and really wanted to do Forensic Psychology but didn't realise it was so competitive because everyone else and their dog watches CSI and reads Kay Scarpetta novels as well. It's kind of a junk subject, you know? On the other hand, do I care if it's a junk subject if I just want to study something I enjoy?

I haven't studied in many, many years and though my job involves writing, it's a very different kind of writing to what I'd have to do in a university atmosphere, so I want to take on one unit first and get myself into it slowly. I have about half a dozen I'm considering - the problem is just to decide which one.

Or, you know, I could just buy a crossword puzzle book.


  1. I love your drive to study! I love the way you write and I can see how much you love it. What do you think about a writing course? Creative writing maybe? You could even write a novel :) Good luck with whatever you choose :)

  2. If it's something that you want to do then do it!
    I'm almost finished with my Arts/Commerce degree (only one more year to go!) and I've ended up doing a sociology minor and done some really interesting subjects of the sociology of the media and migration etc. I have loved pretty much all of my arts units, my major is politics and hated pretty much all of my commerce ones haha.
    If you want to learn just 'for fun' then try a few units and see what interests you :)

  3. I did my BA in Sociology and in India, it is just the opposite where everyone studies medicine/engineering and even if they want to study any social sciences, their families usually refuse! I just want to tell you that it is a great subject :) I had fun just studying it because it made me look at the most everyday things in a new way.

  4. I completely understand where you're at, I've given study a thought over the last couple of years but I too have no real ambition hehe, I just want to study something interesting a few random subjects here and there you know. I sucked at uni because I couldn't make myself do crap I hated lol that's why I sucked at school too, mind you stuff I enjoyed I did well in, even got myself a few HDs here and there. Blah blah anyway, I'm thinking you would be brilliant at philosophy/politics/ethics/sociology, perhaps I should consider these myself hehe thanks Dee! ;D

  5. I'm doing it without any real thought of ambition, either. Dee, you're right - that's the key right there: it's the ambition that gives students drive, and university/college cannot be done without discipline no matter how smart one is. So it's taking me forever because I lack discipline. But I chose literature because I love it and wanted to finish what I started. This year confirmed that I don't love anything specific enough to pursue grad school. And I know I don't need a degree to write... but it may open up doors that would otherwise be closed to me when I'm job searching once more. I say start with a course and see what appeals to you or doesn't. Look at the subject itself and don't think of why others take it or what preconceived notions surround it. Do it for your own enjoyment.