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My edumacation…

May 20, 2009

I stumbled across a blog a week or so ago written by someone I know through someone else IN REAL LIFE, or “IRL” as the internet kids like to say. This post will, as of this moment, become two sections. In case you hadn’t noticed, I don’t plan my posts. I have a vague idea of what I want to say, but I ramble. Ideas change, I get lost on tangents and sometimes never find my way back to my original written path. In many ways I write my blog posts like I’ve always written academic essays – I just spew words and hope that the majority of them hit their target. But that will be discussed later (hey, maybe there is a sense of a plan).

So, firstly, the IRL issue.

There’s a weird relationship between people you know on the Internet and people you know in real life, and those that merge together.

The Internet is fantastic for temporary anonymity (though, as we all know that anonymity can be fleeting) and/or for saying things that you would never EVER say in person. Those can range anywhere from horrendously bigoted and hateful comments on other people’s blogs or confessions about who/what you did last night, what your religious or political views are, and other not-fit-for-the-dinner-table topics of conversation.

These confessions, even if done under your own name, are relatively easy when you think that nobody you know IRL knows what you’re up to online. I.e., posting a tweet on Twitter about how much you enjoy twittering/blogging/wasting time at work seems fine and dandy when your colleagues don’t know your twitter account, but sooner or later that’s going to bite you in the ass. I’m still waiting for my shit to hit the fan, but I’m sure it’s inevitable.

Because the truth is, someone that you personally know is always watching/reading/listening, whether you realize or not. All it takes is, say, a Twitter search of my name to find me. Which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

But then you, occasionally, become true friends, IRL, with someone you began knowing online. And they like you, often, because of your online persona that sometimes is your real persona that you hide from many people or it may be a different persona, and then you run into problems.

But anyway, onto the original theme of this post, the person who writes semi-anonymously but who I know through someone IRL…

In one of her most recent posts she wrote about graduating university in the upcoming days. She speaks of feeling like she’s a fraud, as she breezed through high school and university, choosing her major because she could easily satisfy the degree requirements, “the key word being ‘easily’”. She speaks of skipping classes, and not completely immersing herself in university and its lifestyle, both social and academic, like everybody else.

And, you know what? I agree. Because in many ways I feel the same.

I’ve always been very intelligent. I know that sounds obnoxiously conceited, but I can’t help it. I’m not a dumb man, not in the slightest, and I know it. But I’ve always been exceedingly lazy. I’ve always put the very minimum amount of effort into my life, all aspects of it.

I breezed through high school with nary a care.

I, more or less, breezed through university too. It was much harder than I expected, and I had to study harder than I had ever studied in my life, but I didn’t throw myself into my studies as some did. I’d skip classes, drink the night before an exam, pretend to study; even pull all-nighters to bang out 6,000 word essays that I had put off until the last possible moment, stagger into class to hand them in before going home immediately to sleep and skip the rest of the day. 

I always did relatively well, but what always kills me is that I could have done better. I could have graduated with honors. I could have gone to grad school. Hell, at the very minimum I could have done well enough to get a scholarship to help my poor parents out with my university fees.

But I didn’t.

I did the bare minimum and breezed through.

So, while I don’t feel like a complete fraud, I don’t feel like a complete success, either.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 20, 2009 8:29 pm

    Hey, glad to hear I’m not the only one. Actually, I’m beginning to think there is a helluva lot of us out there feeling the same. It’s not obnoxious to admit you know you are intelligent, it’s terrible, however, for both of us to admit that we wasted the opportunities we have been given in this life. Especially, when there are other people out there dying for a chance to give it their all. Hm.

    I’m curious, I know you are blogging anonymously, but I would be interested to know how you found me. Through who, I mean. Not that it particularly matters. I blog semi-anonymously only in the sense that I haven’t made my blog completely publicly known but I don’t write anything that I would want hidden.

    I’m building up courage slowly. Bringing in friends here and there. Telling my parents.

    • sleepwalkingwriter permalink*
      May 21, 2009 10:43 am

      I’ll email you regarding how I found you.

      I’m going to speak in very broad generalizations here, but I think university graduates fall into three categories.

      You have the less intelligent (in an academic sense) students who are extremely hard working, who busted their ass to get into university (any university) and struggle so hard to further their education and ultimate careers. These are the ones who are satisfied with merely passing each assignment, test and class, and as long as they receive their degree (whether it be a certification, an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, etc.) are happy because they know they put their all into it.

      Then you have the super intelligent and super motivated students. These are the ‘keeners’ in high school who would cry if they received less than an A, but who never lost their devotion (as many of us seemed to). These are the superhuman students, who are able to effectively mix the social aspects of higher education with the rigid academic requirements, who finish with 4.0 GPA’s, who finish as Rhodes Scholars and who go on to grad school or to high-flying careers. These students are very happy with their degree, both because it’s the highest possible grade of degree they could have received at that point and they know how hard they worked for it.

      Then there are people like us, something of an amalgamation of the two.

      We’re as intelligent as the ‘super students’, but often receive the grades of the hard working, but less proficient student. And we’re the only ones who are unhappy with ourselves, our degrees, and the path that we have chosen. We’re intelligent and self-aware enough to blame nobody but ourselves, and are struck with such regret because we know we could have done better.

      Our “if only’s” aren’t “if only I was able to afford university” or “if only I had more supportive parents”. Ours are “if only I had cared enough” and “if only I had put even the slightest effort into my education”.

      We have nobody to blame but ourselves, and that’s the saddest thing of all.

  2. May 20, 2009 11:27 pm

    I agree, I breezed through highschool with a little too much ease. While some kids I know studied 4 hours for a quiz, I’d review thirty minutes before and then ace it. Even though I am still doing well, I am kicking myself for not trying harder

    • sleepwalkingwriter permalink*
      May 21, 2009 10:43 am

      The thing that consoled me about my behaviour, and this is horrible, was that I took satisfaction in doing better than a lot of the kids who poured their hearts and souls into their studies. They would sweat blood for, say, a B, and I’d merely show up and receive one anyway.

      I did well enough, but I agree, like you I’m kicking myself. I could have an M.A. if I wasn’t so lazy, and could be on my way to getting a Ph.D. I don’t even know whether I would have done that if I had received better grades, but at least the option would have been there. Now, if I want to go to grad school I’ll have to use work experience which, to be honest, takes far too much work!

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