Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Overheard at College

One of my professors is Greek. I don't mean in a fraternity or anything like that--he's actually Greek. So he frequently jokes, saying "Is it clear? Or am I speaking Greek?"

He said something today though, that kinda struck me, and made me think (yet again) that college is really dumb. He said, "This won't be on the exam, I just wanted to give you a hard time today." We were talking about using a Taylor Series error correction in computer communication. To be honest, I wasn't really paying attention... kind of wishing I had paid more attention to Taylor Series in the first place in my freshman calculus class, because every time it seems to come up I get sort of clueless. The problem is that it was the last thign we studied in that class, and by then I had realized that calculus was not all that tough, and everything we were learning in this class I had already studied in high school. I placed out of 1st semester but had to take 2nd semester because AP Calc didn't cover Taylor Series. That means... I had to waste a whole semester to learn Taylor Series, and I didn't even learn it! Haha.

One class I took as a freshman was early American literature. I took it because other classes were full and I needed a lit class. I hated American lit in high school, but to be fair I did gain an appreciation when I studied it again in college. There are two things about that class that stick out in my mind. The professor told us we weren't mature enough to read Moby Dick, and we had to promise to read it when we turned 30. And he also told us not to take the advice of anyone over 30.

Why? Because as people age they become more cynical and are likely to caution you against doing what you ardently desire to do. It's obvious really, among younger crowds, anything is possible. You can do anything you set your mind to. But our elders tend to urge caution over passion. I'm not so obnoxious I think as to not take such advice, but I do resent it. From some of my friends, from some of my parents, the ones who expect me to follow the road that has been paved for me. Divergence earns disdain.

I don't think knowledge can be quantified, or that success fits in a mold.

About taking advice, that professor said that people who were unable to live their dreams seldom advise others to follow theirs. They have resigned themselves to passivity and thus encourage like behavior from the youth. I'm not quite ready to do that.

By the way, I don't mean to offend anyone or make blanket statements about anyone in particular (including people over 30.) I just thought I'd share some musings, so please accept my apologies if I seemed rude.


Zainab said...

As salamu alaikum

interesting...i dont necessarily agree with your professor,but his observation seems to hold true,now that i think about it

Maya said...

I'm 22 and nearly bitter as they come!

I've lived experiences that most 60 year olds haven't, so that possibly may have something to do with it :)

I only caution people against stupid decisions, and I try to remain positive on their behalf. I tend to fluctuate between extreme cynicism and slight optimism.

I still believe that oneday, I'll become a big Bollywood actress, become a tv journalist for Al Jazeera, become a religious studies professor and archaeologist, be elected as the leader of Pakistan or India, dabble in parapsychology, and never age :D

Ah, pipe dreams.