Saturday, February 6, 2010
Class in a museum..sounds good to me!
"To understand history we must first understand how things are in reality; we must investigate on our own. That is why you left your family, friends and everything familiar." Stavros Oikonomidis (my history professor)
I must admit that I wasn't the biggest fan of school, the institutionalized structure of school made me despise many aspects of it. I am a free minded person, I need adventure and freedom to learn. To learn outside of the classroom..... well I strive. To have the ability to freely immerse my self into creating my own education is as precious as the strength I garner from my family, friends and teachers I have had through out my life. I must admit that the past year and a half has been a tough journey trying to find and embrace my identity, I so desperately needed to get away. College is when you find yourself and figure out the ropes in life, so studying abroad was always a must for me. For the majority of my life I felt constricted and closeted (in more ways than one.) By slowly coming out and discovering who I am or who I can be, I have felt a great weight lifted from my shoulders, being here for only two weeks I can feel this wave of change and opportunity I have never felt in my life.
Class is the polar opposite of school in the states, classes are interactive and stimulating. Rrarely is class ever held in doors, we are constantly on site, exploring and doing hands on activities. Fridays is devoted to field trips out of the city where our teachers take us on day trips, we listen to lectures while sitting in the middle or ruins, in a cave or in a coffee shop. The professors believe that you simply cannot learn from a text book, instead we hold shards of jars or listen to stories about mythology. I have never bounded to class salivating for the information our professors feed us. For the first time we are given creative control of our education. We are expected to get out and explore, to learn on our own. In class we are expected to take photos as well as keep a blog, take notes, draw pictures and keep ticket stubs, napkins and anything else that could help us embrace what we are learning. My note books are not filled with irrelevant doodles on the margins, but instead I have pages of stories, notes and drawings expressing what I have learned. Our classes are small about 10 people each, and I am finally surrounded by 50 history and classics majors who all inspire to go into similar fields as me. I finally have history nerds I can bond with and have heated debate on which episode of Histories Mysteries is the best. We have discussions on what artifact we would steal from a particular museum and all agree that museums are our drug of choice, because when we are surrounded by artifacts we all get an enormous high.
This may be a surprise for my stats professor dad, for the first time in my life I am interested in math and science, and how history is a huge part of other disciplines. We are encourage to question everything, which is something I embrace. I am the first person to tell you I am the most stubborn and honest person you will ever meet. I love to question pretty much everything. I also fully embrace my way of looking at things from sexuality to politics, here I am able to use my views and look at history the way I see it. I am not told what to think, I believe that the majority of schools are institutionalized, and embrace the social norms. Society teaches us to categorize everything and society teaches us how to look at something. I am fortunate that my parents endowed the support to look at things my own way and encouraged me to try everything and make mistakes. My parents love and support me no matter what and encourage my education, every aspect of life is a learning experience, even when I over-draw my checking account.... for like the tenth time, or crash the car while rocking out to cities 97. My parents never got really mad, but instead gave the "learning though experience lecture"....and yes, I am glad they did.
So here, everyday is a learning experience and I dont need a classroom or text books. I have made a few mistakes since I have been here....I might have walked into a brothel with my roommate thinking it was a gym and filled out an job application (yah its a long story) or ended up in the red light district when trying to navigate the subway system, but beilive it or not they are experiences I really would not give up.
Until my next installment, Peace