Achilles and the Tortoise

Wow, I just finished a class title “Revolutions in Scientific Thought”. It was sold to students as a philosophical look at the history of scientific thought. As someone who loves history and science I assumed it would be a great way to end my first year as a graduate student. Oh, how wrong was I! It turned out to be a five-week crash course on scientific development; five weeks is to way too short to really absorb the developments of Aristotle to Einstein. Hell, five weeks is too short to absorb anything!

Trying to keep up and absorb 2000 years of scientific development in five weeks is one reason I haven’t been blogging as much as I promised myself I would. Another is that during this time, I have rarely had time to think of something to blog about and when I have, I didn’t like what I wrote. Sometimes I just don’t think what I have to say is fit to print.

I decided to spend some time reading various blog and magazine articles hoping to find a writing style that appeals to me. What keeps me interested, what keeps me reading? Finding a style that hooks me in will direct how I should write.

It turns out I enjoy articles that are comprised of small concise paragraphs, each a small article in itself, yet read together they tell a larger story.

I’d like to write so that my readers get something out of each paragraph. Of course I want my readers to continue reading the entire piece, but if each paragraph tells its own story the larger picture may not get lost in a sea of unnecessary words. No more “blah blah blah, get to the point! Each paragraph is the point. Does that make any sense?

The next time I have some witty or interesting to write about I will try this new “paragraph story” approach (I have not yet come with a good name for this style, I’m taking requests). For now I’m still trying to figure out the famous “Achilles and the tortoise”  paradox. Or at least try to figure out why this is considered a paradox; I am fairly confidant that given the opportunity, any one of us could over come a tortoise. If you have any thoughts about this conundrum I would love to hear it. I’d also like to hear about your approach to writing.

Talking me off the ceiling

So, I’ve had this goal (dream) of becoming a college instructor for 8 years now. I say instructor because at my age the thought of working on a PhD before I start to teach is unrealistic.  For those who do not know, I am what you would call a “late bloomer;” I went back and finished my bachelors in my mid-forties, now I want to finish my masters before I turn 50. Hey, better late than never right? Well……

College has been a life changing experience for me. Those of us who return to college in our later years have a lot to prove to ourselves, and I am no exception. I worked very hard, forgoing a social life, and at times putting my homework ahead of my mother and son. For this, I earned a top spot in my graduating class (I was in the 1% group) and was recognized by the Phi Beta Kappa society.  The two most important things I learned in college was that I LOVE learning and how to think critically. If I excelled in anything it was in the sharpening of my critical thinking skills. Ask anyone I know, they’ll tell you my BS radar is always out and ready to shoot down any and all ill-conceived arguments that come my way. Oh, yeah, my family just “thrilled” with the changes in my attitude. In short, I’m one of those “well educated academic snob“ you’ve always been warned about. But where has it gotten me, besides a seat at the edge of many family dinner tables.

I’m proud of what I have accomplished, and how far I’ve grown, but yet, I feel like something is amiss. Maybe it’s because I live in Carson City Nevada, a town and state that do not value higher education. And why should it, when the top jobs are in mining and casino tables? Perhaps by now I would be in nonprofit work or doing something meaningful with my bachelor degree. For now, I am still doing admin work full time and writing part-time.

I don’t know. Maybe I should changed schools. As much as I loved the University of North Carolina’s (go Spartans!) online bachelor’s program, I am not impressed with the MLS one. So far half of my professors are so out of touch that they fail to engage us or offer constructive feedback on our work.  Honestly, I could just as easily make up my own syllabus on any given subject. Last May I did just that with my blog series “A Course, A Course!” Making up my own syllabus and being accountable to my followers would save me a lot of money and headaches.  Of course this would also mean you would have to suffer through long essays on different topics, and no one wants that!

At this point, I am just about fed up with my experience, and self-doubt is starting to creep in. What if I’m not offered a teaching job, then what? In the end, will having masters really mean much, if I cannot use it? What does it mean to have a “masters” in the liberal arts anyway? What the hell am I mastering besides the art of writing essays? Ahhhh! I need your help; am I suffering from burnout? Should I reevaluate my goals, or should I just be talked down from the ceiling?