Monday, 13 October 2008

Playing the Game

Today I had my first meeting with my disability aid counsellor (I'm not sure if that is his official title, but we will stick with this for the moment). No need to worry, I am not mentally challenged or missing a limb, I am just dyslexic.
We were discussing an aspect of education I particularly despise... apart from spelling, which is essay writing.

I was explaining the fact that, in general, when I get essays back I seem to receive the same comments which go along the lines of;

"Really good points Jazza but this isn't how an essay is meant to be written."

I struggle to grasp the 'correct' language needed to write an academic essay, I will write an essay in a very similar style to how I write this blog. It is chatty, informal. The points are there, it has structure and a valid drive, I am just not restricting myself to the formula that will create 100 identical essays on the Spanish Civil War (for example).
But apparently in the academic world they don't want essays with a chatty style. What can I do? I write it how I would speak it, that is how my brain works.

I told my counsellor (his name is Andrew) how I thought this was unfair, ridiculous and that I couldn't understand how I am going to grow as an 'academic' (I can't even type that with a straight face) if I am going to be shackled to being the exact same as everyone else for foreseeable future of this degree.

He then told me this:

"You've got to play their game. After you graduate you can do what the hell you want. But for the mean time, just play the game."
This has not sat well with me.
I am very much my father's son when it comes to authority in that unless it makes sense I cannot simply sit there and pretend everything is peachy. When I was in the navy it was different, there are rules and a status quo in that kind of environment to stop people getting hurt and so that decisions get made (I am not saying they are always the correct decision but that is another story).
I cannot stand, however, that I am going to have to conform to a ridiculous guideline that does nothing but restrict me in the work I produce for the next 3 years. These are MY points that I am trying to put across and argue. Surely MY style is the best way to accomplish this, not a technique that every sodding person has to live by.
But, that said, what the hell CAN I do?
I need this degree...
Do I need this degree?


Bite Me: A Twilight Podcast said...

you do need this degree because unfortunatley a degree is the only thing that will give you a job (unless you're artistically or athletically talented?)

the essays won't go away so i think you'll have to establish your knowledge and creativity in a way professors find acceptable. but seriously, it's not like the "real world" requires strictly formatted essays, especially in your field of study. it's not fair but i don't think the system will change anytime soon.


Shanan said...

Actually, if I may offer a counter-perspective on your point (I've just had thoughts along these lines in the past few days).

While they may be your points you're putting across, I think it can be said that through the very act of putting points across you are trying to persuade them. If that is the case, the potentially the best way to persuade them is to follow their guidelines, speaking in language they understand and in their framework. Just some thoughts :)

Helena said...

Oh, I couldn't agree more. Good points should equal, well, good points.
There are countless things I'd like to change about the education system if I had the power.

And "you do need this degree because unfortunately a degree is the only thing that will give you a job (unless you're artistically or athletically talented?)" oh no. This I pray is so wrong.

Mannyerism said...

I hear you.

I've found that the purpose of writing an essay, in higher forums of schooling is to show how much bull you know about the subject in question. I really mean and believe that.

When I have to do essays, I just bull my way through it. It really is playing their game.

I'm an art student and while I'm in my art classes, I have to follow the silly rules they want me to. I have years of experience but because I'm in school, I have to play their game.

You should get your degree because you'll be able to touch more potential lives that are going to need you in the future. Even if its one person that you affect with your life because of the hard work you put into playing the uni game, it'll be worth it because that person you touch will never forget you and will apply the lesson that they learnt from you.

I was trying to be helpful. Doubt I came off as such but keep at it. It's hard to write essays when you have a voice that's different than those 1,000's that follow the same old format. Be you and do your best.

Love your videos and keep at it!


Anonymous said...

hmm this is a very interesting topic. Actually I had a lesson regarding the differences between the holistic and the articulated systems today, and we studied the fact that, before, language used to be taught as if it were a holistic system and sentences were given codes and there was a "porper way of speaking", but of course ideas changed and now the speakers creativity is encouraged, with it's odd exceptions of course and I am thrilled to find such a living example of those.
By the way, your teachers are very oldfashined.
*I translated some stuff literally because I wasn't sure of the English terminology.

Whiteandfluffy said...

HI Jazza Whiteandfluffy hear

I too am Dyslexic and I found Essay writing soo soo stresful and was glad to get them over with.

Lectur peeps should realise that are brains work in a diferent way to none Dyslexic peoples.

Zoe said...

Wow, I feel you there. I too am dyslexic and struggle with this! People need to realize that it not that we do not want to conform to a set style (although I dont), but that it is 3o times harder for us to funnel our minds into a style that dosnt fit with the way we think. I think its time to start pushing the barrier.

Bite Me: A Twilight Podcast said...

excuse me if i offended anybody with my statement, i was only referring to jazza's situation. i see now how what i said could be misunderstood in a bad way. sorry again.

what i was trying to say was that in our society, there are a lot less career oppurtunity than the people who look for employment. sure i work at as a cashier now but its not going to stay my career forver. if i want a to secure a career is whatever field i'm in, then i'll be competing with many others who all have the same degree i do. so a degree is most deffinitley necessary if you want to secure a job as a teacher.