Sunday, October 02, 2005

on blogging and boring essays

As the GRE approaches, I will periodically post my embarrassing attempts at timed essays. While I really want you to read my blog --

this is an odd desire that i don't quite understand. in fact, i'm a bit surprised that i even wound up with a blog. unlike some bloggers, i don't particularly like recounting the adventures (ie minutia) of my week. nor is my life so topsy-truvy that i crave a daily flurry of keystrokes to keep me sane (ie i'm not a cathartiholic). and i certainly have no pet issues on which to collect links, provide counsel, or solicit opinions (though i appear to like talking about aesthetics and grammar). in fact, the lack of a passionate message has been the bane of my writing career (ie lack thereof). for example, when queried, 'why don't you consider becoming a writer,' i could respond 'and who would pay me to write? would you pay me to write? no. so how would i survive?' but being the consumate nice guy, i generally choose something a little less vindictive (and more true) like: 'because i don't have anything to say. i (am beginning to) understand the mechanics of writing, but i have no particular passion. i could write a short story, but there'd be no 'deep' underlieing point.' soooo. i tend to lack the imaginative capacity for the subtle nuances that make literature meaningful. dar. and that, strange as it may seem, is perhaps why blogging appeals to me. i can say a bunch of little things with no expectation of a higher purpose.

-- i don't recommend reading these unless you are very, very, very bored and need a pick-me-up to feel better about your own writing. to underscore the fact that i don't recommend reading these essays, they shall be in the tiniest of print.

so why post them at all? i don't know. i think because today i thought it would be quicker to post someting that i'd already written than waste study time blogging (i was wrong). and perhaps someone will read an essay and think 'wow, that gre topic is intriguing. i should take the gre!' or better yet 'how interesting, i should share my opinion on this topic...'



The perceived chasm between intellectuals and the real, more practical world of everyday life has been the subject of controversy for generations. Naysayers of collegiate education have frequently scoffed at academicians in their ivory towers, insisting that the literati should gain experience in the public workplace before instructing students. However, while this reasoning may seem attractive, it possesses a number of serious flaws.

Perhaps the most prohibitive factor for this philosophy is its impracticality. If universities were to adopt this philosophy, faculty would have to settle a number of challenging questions about how much 'real world' experience would be necessary -- a week, a month, a year, etc, etc. Once this subjective issue was decided, collegiate educators would then need liasons to help arrange temporary positions in the outside community. In addition to being a potentially frustrating experience for the professors, this process would also be a decidedly inconvenient proposition for the businesses.

Another crucial difficutly in assigning professors to 'real world' positions is the problem of determining what occupations might be most relevant. For many humanities subjects there is no direct correlation between subject matter and 'real worldl' positions. For example, literature and philosophy professors tend to teach valuable material that discusses the human condition but provides no concrete link to real world positions. These professors might be at loss for finding 'real world' training that matches their teaching interests.

Another important reason for dismissing this theory is that it suggests a false premise: that 'real world' experience will make better teachers. On the contrary, most professors learn the 'nuts and bolts' to their trade in academic settings. While in University, they are taught both material and the best methods of relaying that material. Hands-on, classroom experience then serves to augment these skills. Forced work in the 'real world' could dull these skills and lessen professors' effectiveness. Moreover, if a professor's passion is for teaching, it seems unwise to force them to work in other settings. This could persuade potential professors from pursuing their teaching dream.

Ultimately, professors belong in the classroom. Manditory 'real world' experience for college faculties would be impractical. In fact, many programs lack a real world corrolary for their professors. Therefore, the best use of their time and talents is teaching students, not learning life lessons in the 'real world.'


anonydude said...

I would say that this essay is the quintessential work of an under-loved SOUL. It moved me...

andrew said...

errrrr...which essay? the little tiny essay or the personal 'essay'?