back to school

First, a little Billy Madison for your viewing pleasure:*

Today I start an online class, just something I’m taking for shits n’ grins; another way to shell out my somewhat-hard-earned monies. The goal is to finish with some sort of tangible result; as amorphous as that sounds, it will probably prove to be a challenge.

Let’s rewind a bit.

Picture it: Somewhere between 2000 and 2004, somewhere in the Midwestern United States. A college gal enrolls in a psychology course to fulfill a requirement of her major. She’s done decently well in her previous major courses, but this particular class is different: it is taught entirely online.

College Gal is excited. She can do the readings, take the quizzes, listen to the lectures and view the PowerPoint presentations at her leisure (pronounced so that it rhymes with “measure”). It requires no face-to-face interaction with the professor, but if she gets stuck, a weekly meeting will take place so that she can ask questions and engage in discussion with her classmates.

Sounds perfect, eh? College Gal sure thought so.

But then a funny thing happened. College Gal’s brain shifted into some sort of alternate universe where Time and Place had absolutely No Meaning. Despite diligently consulting her schedule, she never ever showed up to the discussion section on the right day, or at the right time, or – hell – even at the right place. I am completely and totally not kidding here. I – er, I mean, she – could NOT, for the life of her, remember any of these details. Oh, and also: the time, place, and day of the section never changed during the course of the semester. Never. Not once.

And because the course material was posted all-at-once, to be studied and learned at one’s own pace, there existed little motivation for College Gal to keep up with the readings, lectures, and quizzes. Nay, there existed far more interesting things on which College Gal could direct her attention (like, par example, viewing every movie on the AFI’s Top 100 Films of All Time list).**

So come end-of-April, College Gal realizes oh fuck I have a lot of work to do and ends up taking all of the quizzes in one evening, time-stamps be damned. And by “one evening,”  I mean “it took her all fucking night to go through the materials and take the tests.”

This was quite a pain in the ass, and College Gal vowed never to a) take an online course again or b) if she absolutely had to, never let herself get that behind again. But College Gal makes a lot of blanket statements, and College Gal rarely follows through with them.

So more online courses came. More last-minute all-nighters ensued. Passing grades were attained, sometimes barely. After graduation, College Gal swore off the world of Online Learning entirely. And she lived happily ever after. The End. Haha, not!

Sooooooooo…here’s the thing: in order to build up the body of work to which I’d eventually like to lay claim, I need to, you know, do it. Online classes seemed to be the answer, except something in my brain would not allow me to remember to actually log in and do the work. The class came…and went. In February, I think, but it might have been March. Either way, I lasted about three weeks before becoming hopelessly distracted by… who the hell knows?

So when I say that I’d like to actually finish this one and have something to show for it, I’m being completely honest with myself. Perhaps I can find inspiration in Mr. Madison’s quest to finish school and earn his degree. Or maybe I’ll just end up watching the movie instead.

*Yup, nothing classier than FILMING YOUR TV AND POSTING THE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE, but it’s all I could find.

**This actually happened. Well, we started to, anyway. But that’s another story for another entry.

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