I love discovering a new idea or a fresh way of looking at an old idea. If scientists were to scan my brain while I am exploring a subject about which I am passionate, they would observe synapses lit up like a Christmas tree.

Mastering a skill is thrilling. Anyone who has learned to tie his shoes knows this is true. We are at our natural best when we accomplish a goal which initially seemed impossible. Humans, every single one of us, when we have risen to a challenge and stand victorious at the finish line, we experience exhilaration that makes us want to shout out YEAH, BABY!

Teach a man to fish, and all that jazz. There is something to the whole self-reliance thing, and what better place to grab hold of knowledge that helps us to reach that all-important independent state of being than school, right? WRONG!

Conformity, mediocrity, and soul-sucking monotony are the hallmarks of the scholastic experience beyond kindergarten. This is especially disappointing at the college level. The process of signing up for the classes you need, on the day you need, at the time you need, with a professor who isn’t a complete horse’s ass, or worse, biding time until retirement or death, takes the joy right out of learning before you ever step foot in a college classroom.


In case you are wondering, I’ve been up since 2A.M. The insomnia has officially set in and my brain is working overtime for no reason at all. In this moment, I am listening to rain pouring onto the already saturated ground in my garden. My new discoveries at the Texas Native Plant Society’s plant sale last weekend are getting a good soaking. Springtime rains are much appreciated here in North Texas. So, I am not complaining about the rain. It’s just that I planted drought tolerant plants. I hope they don’t drown before the scorching heat of summer gets a chance to beat the life out of them.

Which brings me back to my momentary disdain for academia. It seems the learning process is designed to beat the life out of us. The theory of natural selection makes much more sense to me now that it ever did. Survival of the fittest wins out in a world where those who can, do and those who can’t, invent ways to beat the life out of those who dare to think they can. (Not talking about dedicated educators here.) Please don’t get all butt hurt because your mother is a hard-working, underpaid school teacher.

Of course, this feeling is magnified by my being on the verge of spontaneous combustion at any moment. I know that in a few weeks, the pressure will subside and all will be right with the world. That is, until the summer session begins.

I love being a student. I hate the college experience.

I love being a woman. I hate menopause.


25 thoughts on “My New Love/Hate Relationships

  1. My two oldest kids did fine in academics: one liked it, the other knew how to master it. My youngest, however, has been so beaten down by the system, over the years, that it’s a wonder he’s interested in college at all. Thankfully, he has found college much better than high school (which shredded his self-confidence and beat him daily), but it’s still sad to me, to see how many young minds are sucked of enthusiasm and passion.

    YOU can do this, and hopefully, you will find your passion again. Hang in there, Honie! xox

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      You know, on the flip side of the student’s dilemma, friends of mine who are teachers have told me they experience the same thing. The joy and enthusiasm they had when they first began teaching is completely beaten out of them by the system. It’s sad, really, that we could fix many of the issues that plague public education by addressing what it is that ruins it for teachers and students alike.
      XOX, Dawn. Thank you for the encouraging words.

      1. Yes! My teacher friends say the same thing… teaching to the test, state standard, etc takes all the joy and passion out of teaching. Sad all around!

  2. I remember those days, truly I think you wrote my thoughts from a few years back. My last degree was 10 years ago. I have been considering returning, again but my last experience prevents a return. Good reminder, I love learning hated the ‘soul sucking’ of the current system.

    You will survive this and I suspect find ways to make it work for you! Have faith.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Oh faith, “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” You are correct, Val. I will find ways to make it work. I must.

  3. acflory says:

    Ah – commiserations on both fronts , Honie. I love teaching people, I hate teaching in school. As you say, the two seem to be mutually incompatible. Good luck with those plants. 🙂

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Rain again today. I hear thunder as I key this reply. The garden is going to be a riot of color any day now. Good thing too, I will need a place to soak up some good energy to carry me through to graduation.

  4. At least you’re on the downhill side of the semester. Good luck!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Yes, and three more to go. I am ready to shout out YEAH, BABY! Of course, that is looked down upon in certain circles.

  5. Lyle Krahn says:

    Survival of the fittest? I’m betting on the one with a little attitude!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Absolutely, Lyle. Attitude makes my world go round.

  6. Hang in there. You’ll get through this…good rant, and so very true, unfortunately

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Hanging would be much easier if I had a tail like a lemur. Thanks for the encouragement, lady. I know you’ve been there, done that.

  7. I understand your rant–there is nothing better than a good teacher or prof–nothing worse than bad ones–I have had both–and the bad ones should find themeselves something else to do than ruin the educational experience

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Agreed, LouAnn. School should be challenging. It should push us beyond our own imaginary boundaries. I should set us on fire and make us more brilliant than the sun.

  8. I guess I’d liken your dilemma to my feelings on writing. Writing is fun and I love it when I can write what I want, do it on my time, and not have anyone watching over my shoulder telling me what to do, when to do it, or what deadline is approaching. Education is the same, we all love learning and thrive when we can dive head first into something, but maybe not so much when someone else is driving the process.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      That is exactly why I chose the degree plan that I did. I was attracted to the lure of deciding for myself which concentrations appealed to me most. Maybe I should have taken a remedial “coloring in the lines” class first. HA! It is funny, I’ve learned more from screwing up than anything else. This time is no different…and it too, shall pass. Thanks so much for commenting.

  9. Amy Reese says:

    I hear you. My poor son hates school and is so young. I didn’t feel that way until middle school and there were very few classes I could sink my teeth into and feel passionate about. That’s what’s missing from education. Passion!

    I agree with Carrie. For being up all night, this is a highly eloquent post. 🙂 I’m feeling the hot flashes now. Don’t like.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      I’m sorry to hear your son hates school. I believe when a child loses interest in learning, it is a sad day for all of us.
      I’m with you, hot flashes suck. 🙂

  10. Carrie Rubin says:

    For being up until 2 am, you still managed to write a great blog post! But I have to admit, my college experiences have been different. Like you, I loved being a student, but I also liked the experience, including my most recent when I went back for my MPH degree. Learning makes me feel alive, and I had great instructors who gave us great resources so we could be active learners. That being said, I’m not sure I want to do it again…

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Your experience sounds much the same as many of my friends’. I think that is why I decided to go back to school in the first place. It seemed like a great idea, and I still believe it is. The challenges have pushed me to work harder. I love a good challenge. There may be a prof out there yet who will stoke the fire. Otherwise, I’m just blowing smoke…and that’s no good for anyone.

  11. Unfortunately, education is still in the throes of evolution – one that is speeding up with the help of technology. I love learning, too, but I’m a godawful student. Organizational education just can’t cater to the many ways in which people learn, from grade school to college.
    I love the idea of autodidacticism and consider myself an autodidact, but the world still measures you in degrees and job titles. Hang in there and happy spring!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Institutionalized anything is suspect in my book. The measure of a person’s intellect can hardly be dependent solely upon whether or not they have letters after their name. I mean, from what I have picked up these past few months from other students, C’s and D’s get degrees. Happy spring to you too, Michelle.

  12. Call it a hunch, but I think you were just a wee bit testy when writing this. What with the “soul-sucking” diatribe and all. Not that I’m complaining. Turns out you’re entertaining when you rant. Have at it! And best of luck to your sun-loving plants!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      You have keen instincts, Mr. Petruska. I try not to wake up in rant mode, but sometimes it’s what’s called for.

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