Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by pygmalion, Dec 21, 2010.
Yes it would, and I would appreciate it.
OT: thank you for getting this saying right.
It's great that you had a professor tell you that. This is something I was blissfully unaware of until I was doing my dissertation research. And, unfortunately, only a good teacher is aware that's what they are trying to do.
I was fortunate to have some really kick-[butt] professors. Even the ones who weren't the best teachers (mostly due to language barriers, admittedly), where very good. T'was an entirely different set of challenges.
OTOH, DH had a rather different experience (not having to due with teacher excellence). As a music/piano performance major, the education he got was directly applicable to what he was being trained to do. Theory, form & analysis, history, and of course the actual lessons/performance classes...if the intention is to continue with music as a profession, those are both "learning to think as" classes as well as directly applicable skill.
Then again, as he puts it, "he was a music major in college so, naturally, he is now in sales!" Maybe not so directly applicable there...
Ok, then here is my experience so far:
While growing up, I was told that getting an education was the way to open doors (or create opportunities). The more I studied, the more doors would be opened and I would be free to find a job that I love, at a salary that would make me happy and with the free time to enjoy my hobbies. That has proven to be true in my case and I can rest assured that if things were ever to go sour, I would find another job easily.
In my experience, employers like two things on a resume: degrees and relevant real life experience. If you have both, you’re the ideal candidate (provided you don’t mess up the interview). If you only have one, you might be ok if you’re good during the interview. If you have neither, you’d better have amazing connections or luck because otherwise it’s going to be a major pain, no matter how smart you are. I know of a few people in my building who reached their position through a lucky break, but that is the exception, not the rule (and they had to work extremely hard to prove their worth once they gained their position).
As for school itself, here is the part that gets interesting. I learned a lot of stuff; chemistry, physics, electronics, materials, advanced mathematics, databases, etc. How much of that stuff am I using today? If I’m generous, maybe 20%. In terms of mathematics, I rarely do anything more complex than additions, subtractions, multiplications and divisions. I do very complex things in very specific fields, but I don’t use most of what I learned.
Upon reading this, a first reflex might be “this was a waste”, but here is the valuable skill that I acquired through those years: I learned to learn.
At work, I have to use creative problem solving on every project that I am assigned to. In every case, it means understanding the client’s reality, figuring out what I can change to improve the situation and accept the realities that I cannot change. I am also, on a regular basis, forced to learn new computer languages, standards or how to use a new library. Learning to learn also helped me in other instances, such as dancing (where it probably saved me hundreds of dollars on private lessons).
That and real life seemed like a breeze compared to university afterwards
That has been my experience so far. I’ll only add that everything worth getting takes effort. I hope some of this stuff can help!
Thanks for sharing your story, Dots.
This morning, when I was driving DS to school, I made an appointment to have a sit down talk with him later today. I'll share with him some of the things you said, especially about learning to learn. I appreciate it so much.
I was in a music magnet school in HS and had quite a few friends who went on to pursue music in college. A handful, out of the hundred-plus of us, made careers in music. Just a handful. Some were no surprise. L, the ugly girl, with the incredible voice, is a studio musician. M tours with a band that is a household name. M and G both teach music. And so does another guy whose name I forgot. SC was the big surprise. He was a scrub who didn't even start playing string bass until the middle of ninth grade (something to do with not making it in football; I never got the details.) He's also on tour with a big name band.
But MOST of us ended up "in sales," despite years of music theory, performance classes, camps and intensives, etc.
Eh. Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. *sigh*
But (as you know), in the process of that intensive music training, you all learned to work hard and effectively on your own (all those hours of practice), how to work together on a mutual project that is more than the sum of its parts (music ensembles), how to learn abstract stuff (theory) and apply it to real-world stuff (performance), etc., etc. Continuing the theme of learning to learn and learning to think, and that being so much more important than subject-specific facts.
Last time I checked, at least 90% of PhDs in physics were in another field within 10 years of completing their degree. Probably even more now. What you learn, however, is a way of approaching things.
Would I do it again, if I knew then what I know now. No way? I would have done the equivalent of Computer Science (that department was still fairly rare in those days), or I would have gone off studying weird, esoteric languages. But do I regret it? No, I can't say that I do.
I have a BS in field of study X, with minors in field of study Y and field of study Z. I also have a MS in field of study X. Do I use any of it at work? The BS and MS got me in the door, and the aptitude for field of study Y helps at work with analysis. With the rest, going to college honed the ability to learn how to learn.
Oh. I thought the goal was to learn lots of random facts you could share with strangers on the internet. Just kidding!
And that goes back to the conversation we had here (I think it was here) quite sometime ago about the purpose of an education. Unless it's a vocational education (and often even then) it's not about the facts you learn, but about the thought processes and problem-solving strategies you learn. I would suggest that it's also about learning to use your resources, what one of my fave professors used to call "Use what God gave ya."
I had a conversation with DS about your advice re: his internship and about the need to be right. He heard me. Whether his decisions will be any different, I don't know. I do know that he heard me. He was very encouraged that somebody "as smart as [his] Dad" agrees with him about standardized tests (I restrained myself from saying, "What am I, chopped liver?" lol) He also agreed that, at this point, his best bet is to get his nose to the grindstone and get the job done.
ETA: He also understood your point about being unable to control who gets an internship that he declines to pursue. Again. No idea if that observation will sway him in his decision, but we'll see.
Thanks for everything.
DS and I talked about your observations, as well. He's having some trouble wrapping his mind around the concept of learning to learn, but we're working on it. Thanks.
If DS has ever had the opportunity to tutor peers or lower-grade students, he would very likely observe differences in learning and it might enlighten him as to how some people really don't know how to learn. I remember back in high school when I first got involved in tutoring that it was the first time I had to think about learning from another person's perspective and not just my own.
Glad if my words could be of help to him.
I had the benefit of having two younger brothers, one of whom has ADHD, and who I tutored on math, in particular. Too bad his math teacher couldn't accomodate different learning styles.
And I look at my teenager, who has the uncanny ability to forget nearly everything she learned as soon as the test is done. I still remember crap I learned for a test in the eighth grade.
question where was the pencil invented?
LMMAOO i crack myself up
especially when i have a headcold and am strung out on pseudafed!!!
Let me guess. You were the fourth grade class clown.
no im the studious type
but i did fight my third grade buddy over a cute brunette...
Yes. That is one of the great frustrations of working with a child who is both mentally gifted and who has ADHD. You run into a lot of educators who can't work with the child's learning differences. And then, of course, there are the ones who, like DS's first grade teacher, will spout ignorant things like, "I don't think ADHD really exists. I think it's a discipline issue." Oy. This was a woman with thirty primary schoolers at her mercy.
And then there was the *not* helpful third grade teacher who assigned DS a two-week-long project to be completed in class. He couldn't focus or stay on task, so she sent it home with him for him to complete (IOW pretty much start from scratch) on the night before it was due. Yay. Punish the parents for having an ADHD child!
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