It's always kind of interesting to me, as assignment deadlines approach, how often I'm asked for help. It's not the asking that interests me, but the questions. If, for example, it was a question about the implications of one of the theories brought up in a recent lecture or reading, and how that might relate to an almost finished essay? Not only will I give you what help I can, I will probably thank you and talk to you far longer than you would have liked. This is because the overwhelming majority of the questions I fence are not questions of this nature. Instead they are to do with elementary things, things that transcend a mere lack of understanding and sit squarely in the realm of ignorance.
Now, allow me to be abundantly clear here, I am in no way a perfect student. I usually have a number of side projects on the go, be it my radio show, this mental blogging comp, a girlfriend, and a social life. All these things must share a finite amount of brain power and it's a zero sum equation, if I put more effort into one thing, other things must loose out. And studies don't always come first.
However. When I'm at uni, it's on. On like Donkey Kong. I am interested in picking up as much as I can. Addmittedly I'm doing a very practically based degree [Bachelor of Mass Comm] so learning tips and tricks about the industry will serve me much better than say... someone in neuroscience. Even when I was doing a science degree though, I was surrounded by people who weren't into it.
Wait, that's not fair, I was one of those people. I was slack, I passed notes in the back of lecture theatres, I had horrid grades, and was infinitely more interested in my girlfriend of the time. The crucial difference between me then and the contemporary analogues I see around me, is that I dropped out. I realised that continuing a degree I wasn't interested in, and wasn't trying for, was purely absurd.
Now, armed with this knowledge I consider perhaps that the people I see around me now, the ones who seems lost and disinterested, might merely be like I was. This seems unlikely though, I'm in second year, doing a few third year units. I'd always been led to believe that, like myself previously, people would naturally drift away from that which they did not put effort into. I'm not handing judgement here, I don't condemn the people for being slack, I just don't understand.
I feel like shaking them, fight club fantasy style, and yelling "Don't you want to be great, aim to be the best, to take joy from the thing that you do, and try and push that thing further than it has before?!" I know this reeks of idealism, rich fetid waves of pungent naivety. The paradigm goes; the realities of life in the big bad world will over power this [clearly immature] desire to do something you're passionate about.
I would encourage everyone to challenge this. I'm not talking about breaking down cultural walls, dropping tools and seizing the means of production, or any other revolutionary tosh. All I mean is don't be ok with just getting by. Don't study something because you like the idea of it, because some source of authority said you should, because your friends study it, or indeed for any reason other than it fascinates you. Nothing facinates you that you've found? Don't go to uni. Find something, anything, that you love, and chase it.
There is a misguided conception that holding a mediocre degree will get you somewhere in the world. The sad reality is that we don't need more professionals in our society. When we leave uni we enter a competition based market in all but a few select professions. How well do you think you will fare when you're up against someone who is passionate about what they do. They will get the corner office, or industry specific analogue, and you my friend, will be in a very drab cubicle.