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October 6, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

And suddenly it’s October and all my visions of a highly educational early fall complete with well-planned reflective, thoughtful, interludes amongst periods of high intensity learning have pretty much fallen by the wayside. I’d love to say I’ve been so deeply entrenched in learning communities that I just haven’t wanted to pull myself away long enough to do the more solitary work of reflection and writing. Or, that I was asked to present my own research in to online graphic design learning to a rapt audience thus have been spending all my spare words speech writing like a boss. In truth, I’ve been occupied with far lesser academic endeavors. Like being a hair model. And traveling out to Colorado. And joining a new face to face community of graphic designers who feed part of me I didn’t even realize had been creatively starving these past years. Oh and cooking….lots and lots of cooking.

My 803 class has turned into a giant hairball of dead links, a non-communicative prof, and assignments that can be generously described as “ambiguous.” Though the cohort has stepped up to fill in the gaps as best we can and the total lack of fear in being wrong (since there’s not even an expectation for what might be “right” or who really cares if I find it) is allowing me to be push boundaries like never before, right now it’s just an all around let down. I feel myself entering the dangerous apathetic waters of really not caring and being ready to coast out the remaining weeks until December. I know in my head it’s my responsibility as the learner to take control and build my connections and engage regardless of the course kerfuffle or the flaky prof but in my head it still kind of feels better to don a victim hat and wash my hands of it all.

So, given the current sad state of 803 affairs, one would logically think that I’d burrow even deeper into #ccourses since it’s communal and learning and 24/7 and all the good stuff 803 isn’t, right?

Yeah, not so much. I am still very into #ccourses but I think I’ve moved from active to lurker status. Which makes me feel subtle shame because I didn’t want that to happen and yet it somehow has. And because I’ve not been active I don’t feel like I can contribute stuff or write stuff which means I’m not active which means….[insert viscous cycle here] It’s a bit like because 803 has been such a wash, all of my academic zeal has been turned into apathy.

I will say though that all this meaning to be an academic over-achiever and in reality hitting my limits way lower than I thought I would has given me insight into the students in my own program who come out very energetic for the first weeks of the term, then begin to fade a little, then flicker, then disappear completely. While wearing my administrator hat I kind of curse them for their lackluster ways and their noncommittal performance. I blame them for not engaging and for being a negative number on my already precarious completion rates. Legit I think they are responsible in some key ways, just as I am responsible for my own bad attitude bleeding from one course to the next. But, perhaps what they need is not endless emails reminding them how far behind they are or how long it’s been since they attended class. Perhaps instead they need what I’m about to explore myself namely the “how to get yourself re-started because the apathy thing isn’t working and there’s only so many excuses you can use before you just have to get back to work.” Perhaps my learning can be theirs too.

So….back in the saddle I go. With writing and learning and engaging with content like I actually mean it because deep deep deep down…..I still do.

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