Wednesday, September 20, 2017

back in the saddle again

So here's the thing about going back to school when you really haven't been in the classroom for the past...oh, let's say 16 years. (I am lopping off the last two years of med school in this calculation, since that was really more clinical than didactic, and really more indentured servitude than clinical.)

First of all, I can't remember the last time I've had to sit still for as long as I was in class over the course of the last weekend. And I'm old! Sitting still should be my default state at this point, and as I get older I expect I'll get increasingly horizontal until finally, I'm dead. (Meanwhile, also because old: reminiscing/bitching about how the good old days were better than this all bullshit.)

Second: I am trapped in amber. School is different now. I see it with my kids (Cal in particular has a particularly robust online curriculum in middle school, and he'll usually get all his homework assignments to complete and hand in online, or complete group projects via Google Hangout and the like), but I am a traditionalist. I don't like to consume didactic material on a screen. I need to read on paper. I need to write notes with a pen. I like touching things. Consuming information of a certain sort on line is like trying to eat after contracting cholera--it all just goes right through me. I don't know if it's simply a matter of preference or motor processing or what, but after a few half-hearted attempts at reading online, I just had to print out all my course materials from online and keep it in a binder, which I had to do at home because Columbia refused to do it for us, citing a grand school philosophy of environmental awareness and conservation. (My take? Fuck you, trees. Get in my printer.)

Third: There are a lot of words I haven't had to apply to myself personally in a while, and it feels weird to say them. I have "homework" to do. I have "problem sets." There are "papers" to write and "finals" to take. I have to locate and use a "pencil."

So in sum, this is all very different and disorienting and it's a lot of work.

I kind of love it.

Carry on.

P.S. Oh yes, many of you have told me that my page has been loading slowly and crashing with some frequency. So first, disclaimer: I don't actually know how computers work anymore, so this might be a bit of a process to fix. But second, I tried to streamline a few things on the sidebar that I think were causing problems (I suspect the Tumblr code widget was going Skynet), so if this has helped, or if it's all still exactly the same degree of shittiness, let me know, and for what it's worth I will tinker some more.


  1. this post did not crash! it's better!

  2. What are you studying?

  3. Yes, loading normally and not crashing! You fixed it!

  4. I still buy medical reference books. I print out journal articles so I can highlight -> active reading requires me to use more than my eyes.

  5. Anonymous3:00 AM

    It's not crashing! You have worked magic and fixed it :-)

    Well done on re-entering university life. It must be really interesting to learn about the history of healthcare provision and medicaid - I do hope some of that might filter through to the blog.
    I can imagine scutmonkey's guide to medicaid would be an impressive comic book...

    I also can't study at home, and need to have things in the physical form in order to study. You are not alone in that.
    I suppose the plus side is you get an excuse to re-engage the love of stationary...

  6. IT didn't crash! I am a traditionalist in many ways too. I will do research online, but print out cases and articles so that I can physically highlight and takes notes in the margins. I still handwrite out notes if I'm going to a lecture or a continuing Legal Ed class. My children use Powerschool and that's always fun to navigate. HA! I can't wait until they do higher level math.

  7. I also can't read online. As a scientist, most of the papers to read for work is readily available online...but like you, it sort of goes through one ear and out the other. So I have to print off articles and then hopefully read them, though often I forget they are in my bag and then remember a while later I brought home reading to do.

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  10. I still buy medical reference books. I print out journal articles so I can highlight -> active reading requires me to use more than my eyes.
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