Saturday, March 14, 2015

You Can't Go Home Again, But...

You can go back to college.

My first graduate class was a 6-week, like-drinking-from-a-fire-hose general exercise physiology class last summer.  Because that material forms the basis for every single discussion that comes after, I felt the need to be exposed to it again (and again and again...since that's how you learn something to a professional level).  My then-advisor was teaching the full-semester version in the fall so I sat in on the class.  I attended, took notes to ensure my attention, and then left the classroom and didn't worry about it until the next class meeting.  Because I was never lost or behind and I am very pro-learning, of course I enjoyed the experience.

I enjoyed it so much that I decided to do it again.  But in a completely different subject.  That has nothing to do with either of my Masters degrees.  And thus began what I am calling my "enrichment class curriculum".  Or "bilking Indiana University out of $4k per semester."

This semester I am sitting in on M212, which translates to second-semester single variable calculus, because calculus is easily my favorite academic subject.  ("Hi, have we met? My name is Kelzie and I'm an unapologetic nerd.")  I took this class for academic credit my senior year of high school and then moved onto multi-variable calculus etc etc in college.

This class is like conducting an academic archeological dig in my mind.   Some topics the professor introduces and I'm like "uh, yeah, I never learned that" while other topics look familiar and come back as soon as the surrounding rock is scratched away, but the weirdest part is when I just see a problem laid out in front of me, knowing exactly how and what to do, despite not having done it for 15+ years.  It must be what it's like to crack open a boulder and find a fully intact skeleton right along the fault line. The skills are just...there.  The other skills will only eventually reveal a complete skeleton after being (re)excavated grain of sand by grain of sand with a paintbrush.

I'm already drawing up a plan of study for my "enrichment" degree.  Choosing potential classes is a delicate balance of large class sizes so I can easily hide in the back - many topically
fascinating courses are too small in which to hide - and knowing something about the topic, but not too much - so that I won't get behind when I don't do the homework, but won't get bored either.  Sadly, as much as an intro philosophy course interests me, I don't have time to do hours of reading just can I fully understand lectures in a class that I'm not officially taking.  There are limits to my nerdiness - even if I am only finding them now.

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