By: Ola Sleem
I’ve never written a blog or a long post, or even a status on Facebook for that matter, so I thought I’d do the best thing I can do which is to rant/vent/complain. So, I just finished my first year at university (let’s just exclude its name for now so there’s no “oh I know what she’s going to talk about”) and if you asked me right now, right this second, “what have you learned this year?”, my mind will not only draw at a blank, it literally will not comprehend the question. You may think I’m overreacting, which, for those who know me, is something I usually do, however for the sake of this article these words are neither exaggerated nor minimized.
I was in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program (no gloating, just explaining), when I was in school, and again, for those who were “fortunate” enough to be in the program may understand where I’m coming from. The IB program, okay you can look it up, let’s just say its tiring as hell. Procrastination, my favorite course of action, was not an option, you had to be working at all times and all hours, specifically working your mind. I still procrastinated, but that’s not the topic of discussion here. Scientists say crossword puzzles are a way of keeping your mind working, enhancing your intellect, and decreasing the chances of getting Alzheimer’s (the latter is most probably pseudoscience but I don’t want to get off at that tangent either) So, let’s just call IB a two-year long crossword puzzle.
Personally, (just in case you didn’t notice that this article was already personal), I value intellect more than most characteristics. Not most actually, but all. And by all I literally mean I’d rather be Sherlock Holmes than Superman (but let’s be real here, Superman sucks).
Anyway, with that said, instead of getting into depth of what courses I take and why I take them, I thought I’d go with the most interesting situation I had while I was taking English, Advanced Writing, if you may, (again not gloating, just trying to prove a point here) which is the highest level of “English education” there is at the he who shall not be named university. We had to write a cause and effect essay, so I chose to write about ‘technological abuse: the effects of cyberbullying’, sounds boring, right? Not only was it boring, but the scientific information behind the causes and effects were very minimal so I did what any self-respecting IB graduate would do. Nay (I’ve always wanted to say that), I did what any self-respecting student would do. That was to bullsh*t my way out of it. I was already bsing the rest of the essay, but there are levels of bs. This was so extreme, and I was so bored, I wrote a random name within the in-text citation to prove my point. By random I mean:
Who is this ‘Granger’ you may ask. If the words “It’s Levi-Osa, not Leviosaah” popped in your mind, then you are absolutely correct.
Yes, in my, before final English essay ever, I bullshitted to the extent that I used a fictional character, not even (Watson, 2004), nope. Hermione Granger.
I questioned that step for about two seconds before uploading it to Turnitin.com, where I proceeded to get a 0% (now I’m gloating), but there’s no surprise there, right? I turned it in and a week or two later the grades were out. I walk up, honestly expecting a C, which I’d be grateful for at that point, to receive the essay, and to my utmost disbelief, I get a B+, one point away from an A. The professor hands it to me and says, “this is a very good essay, but I expected better”.
Just expected better? Very good essay? I wrote “Granger, H (2004)” in my final references…
Now most of you reading this will ask “why is this b* complaining about not doing anything but still getting As and Bs? Some people bust their “behinds” and still get sh** grades”
My response to the former is: This example was just the tip of the iceberg. Because I value intellect so much, I genuinely feel like my brain cells are rotting away. Even though maybe just maybe I would have used those brain cells if I had put more effort. But frankly, I don’t respect the work enough nor do I see the purpose of putting more effort when I’m going to end up with a good grade anyway (so egotistical).
My response to the latter is: I’d rather bust my “behind” and get sh** grades and actually learn something new, than get excellent grades, not learn anything, and live in denial that I’m absolutely brilliant.
Which brings me back to IB: I learned so much, and really did work hard (sometimes), that compared to that I feel like it’s been a cake walk.
And on that bombshell (whatup Top Gear reference) a final note is that, I did learn one thing, which is to make the most of it (my free time) and I have been learning new subjects online (such a dork, I know) just to get my mind running again.
Bit of advice for those who might be feeling the same way 1- learn a new skill, be it an instrument, a language, or a subject. 2- get a job 3- try online courses (of your major or something you’re just interested in). And if you value intellect as much as I do, don’t take this lightly.
If all else fails, burn it and walk away.
(Image: Sherlock, Season 4.)