Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Case of Academically Induced Schizophrenia

Part I

So a week ago on a Monday morning I woke up to my alarm after about 8.5 hours of sleep. Should be more than enough. I got out of bed, put on my running clothes, and then promptly crawled back into bed. I woke up again nearly two hours later. Then I looked at the clock and realized that I had exactly one hour and fifteen minutes before I was supposed to be teaching a class at Westminster College. I knew I wouldn't be able to fit my entire morning routine into that amount of time. So I went for an hour run, made my lunch, and made it to class. Great morning. You see, one of the benefits of winter running is that you just don't sweat much. It's probably the first time I've taught all semester without wet hair. Sometimes skipping a shower is like a little secret that you carry around with yourself and laugh at all day long. Except that now I've told everyone.

Part II

As I was sitting in class today listening to the economics professor talk I realized a nasty trick of academia. Allow me to demonstrate:
When I say "literature" what comes to mind? Shakespeare and Dickens? Even Tolkien and Harry Potter? That is not what professors mean. "Literature" refers to that massive body of knowledge/research about a given subject (such as whether or not race and crime are related). The trick is that academic "literature" is not interesting at all. It is a series of articles and books filled with numbers, statistical analysis, and citations of the previous "literature". I have a big exam in March to test my comprehensive knowledge of this so-called literature regarding population and health. But for some reason when I look at the 21 page reading list I can't seem to find Homer or Dante anywhere!

3 comments:

evieperkins said...

Did you spell schizophrenia from memory? You're amazing.

Rachel Eddington said...

Of course not, but with Google I can do so much more!

Jeni said...

I too am all too aware of "the literature" also :). Of course, it is an occasional thing for me- I'm sure you spend a lot more time with it. It's funny you point out the double meaning though- I never thought of it!